Oops, They Did it Again: Field hockey wins TOC championship

 For the 22nd straight season, the field hockey team has won the State Championship—and they topped it off by capturing their ninth Tournament of Champions title against Oak Knoll.

   Eastern takes much pride in the field hockey team, and supports the girls through everything. Staff, students, and the local community all rally around these girls, as they bring home title after title. 

   The girls love the energy, and it is reflected in their game. Player Natalia Ulbin said that the community’s pride in the sport is what made her want to join the team. 

   This season, Eastern dominated with a record of 24-2, coming on the heels of last year’s undefeated season, as well as the two-loss 2019 season. The team seemingly gets better and stronger each year, despite already being a top team in the nation. 

   Of course, the players aren’t the only contributors to the team’s dominance; the coaching is top-tier as well. This year, head coach Kerry Heck led the team in her first season as head coach.

   The girls admire and respect Coach Heck, using words such as, “amazing,” “willing,” and “hardworking.” 

   Freshman Maisy Mosier said, “I love our coaches. They have helped me make more improvements in one year than my entire career in field hockey. Specifically, Coach Heck really helped me advance in my skills and was willing to do anything and everything to help me.” 

   Coach Heck said, “It just comes naturally. I always try [to] keep it positive,” in reference to her positive attitude. She continued to explain how the team gets through tough times, saying that they just continue to work to become better in certain situations.

   The girls all have great personalities and skills, which is how they maintain the winning formula. 

   The team has been setting the standard for field hockey nationwide since the 90’s, and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon. 

   Senior captain Izzy Bianco said, “We ended on a great note at the end of the season this year: winning our 22nd straight state championship and bringing home a Tournament of Champions trophy.” Izzy was the team’s second highest scorer with a total of 74 points, following another senior captain Ryleigh Heck, who blew the roof off this season with 145 points.

   The best part of field hockey, according to player Talia Zuccarelli is “seeing the team bond and work together, to share and celebrate everyone’s achievements.”

   “Eastern field hockey showed me what it was like to be a team all together, how everyone is together and not for themselves, by celebrating everyone’s achievements even if it wasn’t yours,” Ulbin said. 

   Although Coach Heck is sad to say goodbye to the seniors, she looks forward to bringing up the underclassmen and holding on to the state and TOC titles. In the fall, many of the current seniors will be continuing to play at their new colleges; the senior girls send love and thanks to their teammates and coaches for helping to improve their skills and making a lasting impact on their lives. 

   Coach Heck would also like to give a shout out to the team. 

   “They used the lessons from the 3-0 loss earlier in the season to overcome their deficits in the last two games,” she said. “This propelled them to two exciting wins. Their composure on the field, determination and being relentless in their play gave them the TOC semi-final and TOC final wins of the season, making them #1 in the State.”

   The Eastern community sends congratulations to the girls, and wishes them good luck heading into next season. Will TOC title #10 be next?