By John Anderson
Having a 23-1 season would normally be a cause for celebration for the Auburn High field hockey team, but the “1” was during Saturday’s state final when Watertown won 6-0. Watertown has amassed a growing national record with 159 unbeaten games. The Raiders have now won 7 consecutive State Division 2 titles, and they’ve earned an additional 9 titles since 1984.
The Rockets have made 4 appearances at the State Final, and all have been losses to Watertown, but it is pointless to get bogged down by Watertown. Someone will beat them someday, and then they will hopefully move to Division 1 where they are likely to dominate as well. It is only logical that they keep things going at D2 as long as it is in their favor and the stats pile up.
It is much more productive to focus on the solid field hockey program that has evolved at Auburn High School. Four State Finals in 6 years is nothing short of fantastic, and it all starts in grade 6 when middle schoolers can try out for the team. From that point forward, the Lady Rockets learn and perfect the Auburn system.
The field hockey players are disciplined, skilled, and tough but also polite and nice. (This is very much appreciated by the sports reporters on the sidelines.) The ladies keep the ball low and generally have a good passing game. They keep the opposing goalie challenged and are persistent in the circle whether on a corner or scoring drive.
It is the depth of the roster that makes Auburn different from many of their competitors. The typical starting lineup includes 7 seniors, 1 junior, 1 sophomore and 2 freshmen. In Saturday’s game, 7 underclassmen made significant contributions. 8 seniors played their last Auburn game last weekend, and, as Head Coach Bethann Cormier said after the game, “You can’t replace what you’ve lost.” But, you can develop the next class of players.
Auburn High School has a top-notch program, and it will continue. When asked about next year’s team, Coach Cormier replied, “The future’s always bright for Auburn High.” So true!