The 2014 field hockey season is one veteran Londonderry High coach Laura Federico and her players will be able to remember fondly as one of the best campaigns in recent program history.
But once the local contingent’s 10-5-1 season came to a close with a loss to Keene in the Division I tournament quarterfinals last autumn, the Lady Lancers had to face the fact that nearly a dozen of their players would be graduating before the LHS varsity took to the field again this fall.
And now, on the cusp of the 2015 season, it’s a different Lady Lancer crew Federico will be putting out on the pitch.
“We are a young team. We lost 11 seniors, so it’s a rebuilding year,” said the coach. “I’m looking to see the team learning to work together and improving their skills.”
Returning starters from the fine 2014 contingent include seniors Hannah McGrath (a midfielder) and Hanna Cohen (a forward), and juniors Sophia Poulin (defender), Val Shay (defender), and Rachel Simkevich (goalie).
Other players who return to the varsity with upper-level experience include senior Hailey Gilbert (forward), juniors Olivia Polumbo (forward), Laura Batchelor (midfielder/defender), Alexa Mayo (middie), and Alli Whitehead (forward), and sophomore forwards Maeve McPhail, Vanessa Magoon, Caroline Russell, and Krista Fletcher.
And the crew of varsity newcomers includes juniors Gabby L’Heroux (middie) and versatile Kiera Wright (middie/defender), sophomores Chase Vanini (middie), Katie Meuse (forward), and Ellen Kester (defender), and freshmen Hunter Langley (defender) and Alivia Proulx (forward).
When asked to point out the teams she expects to be the toughest in Division I this fall, Federico cites the defending state champs from Winnacunnet of Hampton, Keene, Manchester Memorial, and Salem’s Lady Blue Devils.
Federico’s force will officially get the 2015 campaign rolling on Sept. 4 when it plays host to the Timberlane Lady Owls from Plaistow.