The hearts of every Saint watching, and every Saint on the field, were racing. The Saints had never been this close to winning the New England title in field hockey. But when the final whistle blew, the Canterbury Saints had won the New England title with the nail-biting score of 1-0.
“I suppose the other teams wanted it,” said co-captain Sophie Menges. “But we wanted it more.”
The Saints went into the playoffs the underdog – all the teams they were playing were seated higher. In the semi-finals they had to get past Ethel Walker, which was seated number one. But Canterbury, seated number five, beat her with a score of 3-1. All three goals were scored by Sara Bouwman.
Bouwman, who won MVP for the season, is modest about her contributions to the wins, however, acknowledging that all the wins reflected a strong team effort.
“Throughout the entire season, the whole team worked well together,” she said. “It wasn’t important who scored the goal. What was important was the goal.”
Menges agreed, saying that what made this team a winning team was the heart behind each and every win.
“I think a big reason we were so successful this year is because we were an unselfish team,” she said. “We played the other team, not each other. No one was bossy on the field, no one looked to better her own record at the expense of a possible goal.”
Another big motivating factor was coach Mrs. Roffe. “We wanted to do it for her,” said Menges.
Each year the New England tournament is held for Class C teams – the small teams. Eight out of thirty teams compete for the New England title. This season, Canterbury’s season was 12-5, and was seated five out of thirty teams in the small school league. Not counting the five losses that were against schools in larger classes, Canterbury won every game it played against the schools within its own Class C.
The girls were led by coaches Mrs. Roffe and Ms. Getz, as well as captains, Sophie Menges and Chelsea Allain. Out of Mrs. Roffe’s fifteen years coaching field hockey for Canterbury, the girls have made it to the quarter finals eight times, but never managed to get into the semi-finals.
The girls played their final game Sunday, Nov, 20 in Deerfield, MA against New Hampton School from New Hampshire on a gray, frigid day. The game was what some would describe as a nail biter, as each team stubbornly defended against every goal. The game was zero to zero for the first half. Then, in the last fifteen minutes of the second half, senior Emily Martino “shot a rocket” from the top of the circle and scored a goal assisted by Sara Bouwman. When the final whistle blew, and team members realized they had just won the New England title, the girls all ran to the end of the field with cheers, smiles and hugs. It was a moment that defined what it meant to be a Saint.
“It was a combination of great teamwork, sportsmanship, camaraderie – all that stuff that you really want in a team – and it really did all work perfectly,” said Coach Roffe.
When asked what she was most proud of, Coach Roffe said, “The thing I am most proud of is in all three of those [playoff] games, every single player was playing her best game.”
The very fact that the team was seated fifth out of the eight places in the tournament meant that winning the New England title seemed like an unlikely outcome.
“We looked for the best in each other,” said Bouwman. “And Sophie and Chelsea were great leaders, and that helped define the team.”
This year’s winning team included Captains Chelsea Allain and Sophie Menges, as well as sixth formers, Liza Berisford, Sara Bouwman, Sarah Buckingham, Julia DellaRusso, Erika Lowman, Emily Martino, MaryKate Martino, and Anna Orlando. Fifth formers included Victoria Body, Ellyn Fritz, Ariella Haas, Elizabeth Hawley and Gillian Scullery; Fourth formers, Erin Mushlit and goalie Jami Procanik; and Third formers Maeve O’Donnell, Emma Gambardella, and Kasey Sarmiento; and manager Jenna Trezza’18.
The MVP of the tournament was Sara Bouwman. Bouwman scored five goals and assisted in the last goal. The All Tournament picks included sophomore and goalie, Jami Procanik, junior at midfield, Ariella Haas, and two seniors who played forward, Emily Martino and Sara Bouwman.
The team worked together beautifully with heart and drive to earn this victory and remind us what it means to be a Saint.
Be sure to congratulate our New England Champion field hockey players when you see them!