Uxbridge coach Kelly Rosborough asked her players to make a statement and share their thoughts before the start of the 2020 season.
Most of the messages had a common theme — gratitude.
“With everything going on and all the uncertainty in the world right now all of us were really confused on whether we would even have a season,” junior defender Grace Boisvert said. “The fact that we do get one definitely is amazing. I am extremely grateful.”
SWCL schools such as Uxbridge began their fall seasons a little later than other schools in the area. The Spartans began practice Oct. 4, and played their first game Tuesday.
Junior forward Chloe Kaeller scored two goals to help lift Uxbridge to a 4-3 win over Auburn.
“We’ve been really eager to play because we haven’t played a real game since last year,” said Kaeller, who, with 12 goals and an assist, ranked among the SWCL’s leading scorers in 2019. “We’re excited to put all the work we’ve done into the season.”
Uxbridge, which is in pod 3, is playing a 10-game schedule against Auburn, Oxford and Sutton.
“We only play three opponents, so that’s going to be something new,” junior goalie Lexi Wojciechowski said, “but I think it will also bring out the strategy of the game more, getting used to different teams’ playing style and figuring out their tendencies and how to play to that and against that.”
With five straight Central Mass. Division 2 Tournament appearances, the Spartans have had a good run under Rosborough, who is in her seventh season. Uxbridge advanced to the Central Mass. final in 2018 and fell to Oakmont Regional.
Last year, the Spartans went 11-5-4 (5-1-2), captured the SWCL B title and advanced to the Central Mass. Division 2 quarterfinals.
“The Uxbridge field hockey program has had such a strong impact on all of us,” junior midfielder Gracie Nummela, who also scored against Auburn, said. “We are very close, not just the varsity team but the JV team as well. On and off the field, we bond together so well it makes our playing better. Our program is such a strong program thanks to Kelly.”
Uxbridge’s juniors have taken on extra leadership duties this season. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the team is practicing in smaller groups. A senior and a junior lead each group through warmups. Colleen Prior, Ashley Dube, Sarah Johnson, who had a goal and two assists in the opener, and Mikenna Manz are Uxbridge’s seniors.
“Leadership is definitely a major part,” Wojciechowski said. “We’ve been put in that role of getting more leadership and more responsibility.”
The Spartans also have been got creative with their workouts. Last week, when practice was canceled due to the weather, JV coach Nicole Bernasconi led the team, remotely, in a yoga class.
“We do a lot of conditioning at practice regularly,” Boisvert said, “so she thought it would be nice to give us a yoga session.”
Uxbridge was obviously looking to build off the last few years’ success in 2020. Even though there will be no postseason tournaments, the Spartans still have their goals for the year.
“This season is going to be so difficult and so different,” Boisvert said, “and nothing we’ve ever experienced before. We hope this season brings us together as team and teaches us a lesson and forces us to become better players mentally because of everything that’s going on, and I really hope we can apply everything we learned from this year in years to come.”
—Contact Jennifer Toland at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JenTandG.
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