Wayne Valley Field Hockey’s Year of Growth

Wayne Valley Field Hockey had expected a rebuilding year. After losing seven powerhouse players to graduation, and coming off of a season heavily impacted by the pandemic (which limited the way we practiced in the off-season), our team knew that we’d have to work harder than ever before to remain a tough contender in 2021. 

With a current record of 8-7, as compared to the 15-5 and 9-1 records of 2019 and 2020 respectively (alongside a county title in 2019 and a league title in 2020), a rebuilding year is exactly what Wayne Valley Field Hockey seems to have experienced. But even in the face of our losses, my co-captains—Delaney Philp, Mady McDermott, Angelina Pietropaolo—and I emphasize the immense growth of our team.

“Despite the challenges this season has presented to [WVFH],” junior Pietropaolo reflects, “everyone has come to practice willing to work hard for each other and themselves every day.” Senior Philp adds, “The team has shown resilience by not letting a loss get us down and still playing hard in the final moments of games.” And it’s true: in the face of annual rivals like West Milford and Wayne Hills, WVFH played with grit down to the final buzzer, pulling ahead to clinch the win. 

This season, we may have been dealt a less-than-ideal deck of cards. But over the past two months, I’ve watched each one of my teammates grow into a tougher, more passionate player than they were the day before. I’ve watched us support each other in moments of disappointment just as we support each other in moments of pride. And I’ve watched us all form friendships that last long after the season ends.

“Field hockey isn’t just a sport—it’s a second home,” senior McDermott says. “I became so much more confident in myself while playing as goalie, and eventually, as a captain too. I’d like to think that I’m a better person because of this sport.”

As WVFH heads into the state sectional tournament, I contend that this season was not just a year of rebuilding, but a year of growth and of newfound strength; my co-captains and I could not be more proud of how far our team has come. And even as Philp, McDermott, and I prepare to say goodbye, in the words of McDermott, WVFH will always be our second home.