Field hockey returns to Parkway Central after decades long absence

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Field hockey returns to Parkway Central after decades long absence

Brooke Kraizer, Staff Reporter

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This is the first year of field hockey at PCH, and with the team consisting of 31 girls, it seems to be a big hit. Though popular around the west county area, Central hasn’t had a team, or a coach, in a long time.

When math teacher Kurt Lehmann got the email announcing that there would be a field hockey team, he was interested in becoming the coach and started learning more about the sport. Although Lehmann coached soccer for 10 years he has never played or coached field hockey before. Over the summer he was in contact with Gateway field hockey club team coaches to learn more about the sport. Lehmann, and ESOL teacher Stacy Stibal, learned what drills are helpful for practices and how to teach the new team.

“I went to the Gateway camp along with the girls so we were all learning together. I also watched videos on YouTube to help me learn,” Lehmann said.

Like any other team, playing time is something every athlete aspires for, but Lehmann knows that with a big team it is sometimes hard to get a lot of time. The team is currently registered as JV, which is common considering it is new. Next year it will be split up into three different groups; one team is the “core” that consists of ten players plus the goalie and they play every game. Two other teams that consist of ten alternate between the games.

There are many girls that have never played the sport before, but are excited to learn and grow. Even though many have not played before, other sports like lacrosse, basketball and soccer require somewhat of the same field/ court awareness and other abilities, so it may come more natural to those players.

Captain and forward Katelyn Goplen, a sophomore, plays Gateway field hockey and is helping lead the team.

“Everyone is catching on and it hasn’t even been that long,” Goplen said.

When asked what is different about club and school field hockey, sophomore Nikki Reed, another captain and experienced club player said that, school rules are more strict because we have to wear eye guards and at the games they are pickier about fouls, whereas in school games they seem to call whatever they can.

While a new team has plenty to work on, Lehmann believes his team needs to focus on one thing in particular.

“For the newer players they need to work on evaluating the field and the spacing and movement/ positioning.” Drills he uses to practice those skills are offense vs. defense drills to see the field and possession drills.

One of the team’s first game was against Nerinx Hall on Sept. 6 and they lost with a score to 8-0. So far their record is 0-4, recently playing and losing to Ursuline Academy where they lost 3-1.

“Losses are to be expected when starting a new team,” Lehmann said. Learning a new sport can be challenging but with many more games still to come, the team will get better and better.

The team’s next game is at University City on Oct. 17.