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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
No matter the sport, advancing multiple rounds in the playoffs and ending the season of your arch rivals is a successful one. In 2017, the Needham High School field hockey team did just that, as the Rockets went 14-4 and knocked out Wellesley, 1-0, in the Division I South playoffs.
Unfortunately, Needham was unable to achieve its ultimate goal of a state championship, falling to eventual Division I South champs King Phillip, 5-2, in the sectional quarterfinals. However, after having so much success in 2017 and several big names returning this fall, expectations for the Rockets are sky-high as they gear up to compete for the Division I state title.
Leading the charge for the Rockets this season will be four senior captains in midfielder Emily Shaughnessy, midfielder and Northwestern lacrosse commit Callie Hem, defender Chloe Newman, and forward Talia Barrett.
“We want to go further than we have before as a program in the playoffs,” said Hem of her team’s general goals for the season. “We need to work hard during practice so that it translates into our games.”
Newman agreed with her counterpart’s assessment of where she and her teammates want to be by the season’s end.
“We want to work hard as a team and make it farther in the playoffs than we have in the past,” said Newman. “We need to play as a team.”
As for the general vibe that the Rockets have amongst themselves heading into the season, Newman and Hem say that the entire group is excited to get the ball rolling and there is tremendous positivity being spread around. The duo of leaders also agree that the main way to find success this season will be to practice hard and execute.
“Our team is feeling good after preseason and everyone is excited to start the regular season and play our first game,” said Hem. “We need to play as a team and communicate well with each other in order to have a successful season. We have a tough schedule this year so we need to make sure we take every opponent seriously and go hard in practices leading up to games.”
“In order to have success this season, we will need to work hard every practice in order to prepare for the tough teams we will have to face,” said Newman. “In games, it is important that everybody does their job and executes. We also need to listen to our coaches, as well as adapting to changes and adapting to opponents.”
At the time of print, the Lady-Rockets will host rival Natick on September 5 for their season-opener before traveling to perennial power Walpole on September 7.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.