Tiny But Mighty: Field Hockey Team Anticipates Low Numbers for Next Season



Eight seniors will graduate from the Nonnewaug field hockey team, leaving a gap in the roster that the Chiefs will have to fill next fall.

Anna Crocker, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — With fall sports finished, many athletes at Nonnewaug look forward to next season. However, for the Chiefs field hockey team, next year’s season could be different.

This past season, the team struggled with numbers, with enough players to field a team but only a handful of substitutes. The team will graduate eight seniors this year, which puts the Chiefs with even lower numbers in the following seasons.

“Years ago, Nonnewaug had an average of 38 players on the team,” said coach Beth Tarby. “After COVID, our numbers went down and the program lost key starting players.”

At Woodbury Middle School, the team only has one eighth-grade player who plans to attend Nonnewaug. Field hockey players, however, fill the current seventh-grade class, which will benefit the Nonnewaug program in the long run.

“[The program] lost a year during COVID [and] the middle school did not have a team that year,” said Tarby. “That one year of middle school kids not playing field hockey had a huge effect on incoming freshmen.”

“Our numbers at this point are at a bit of a dip; I hope that the numbers start climbing back up,” said athletic director Declan Curtin. “I do know that the seventh-grade class is large in field hockey players, however, the eighth-grade class is lacking in the field hockey department.”

Both Curtin and Tarby are planning on keeping the team together and hopefully holding clinics for upcoming and current players.

“I would like to see if it’s allowed to do little clinics so any new players could see the sport before the school year starts during the offseason,” said Tarby. “This is going to have to start with the younger players and give them opportunities to get a stick in their hand and learn the game. Currently, in our league, there is nothing available for them. I feel that needs to change in order for all the schools in our league to survive and thrive for field hockey.”

Many current players also fear for next year’s season; low numbers mean a possibility there won’t be a team.

“I’m getting nervous with next season coming quickly. I’m going to be a senior next year and I personally hope that I can have one last season,” says junior Skylar Palmer. “I think we could put up posters or simply just spread the word. I think it could also make a big impact if the team asked Mr. Curtin to make announcements about us looking for players.”