Thanks for the memories!
Seniors on Watertown High field hockey team leave after winning seventh straight state title, and pushing unbeaten streak to 160 games
December 20, 2015206 Views
The seniors on the Raiders field hockey team recently accomplished something that few high school athletes anywhere ever come close to achieving: finishing their high school careers undefeated.
It is rare — everywhere except Watertown.
Senior Ally McCall was part of the Watertown High field hockey team that beat Auburn, 6-0, on Nov. 21, 2015, for the school’s seventh consecutive state championship. The victory also extended the Raiders’ unbeaten streak to a record 160 games.
She started playing field hockey in third grade. Next fall, she will be playing field hockey at the University of Vermont. But on Nov. 23, two days after the title game, she talked about the season, the team, and her four undefeated years.
Q: Being a senior, how was this field hockey sea- son different from previous years?
A: This was first time being captain, so it was kind of a bigger role leading the team with Michaela [Antonellis]. Because it was our senior year, we had that much more of a drive. That’s not saying we didn’t have a drive these past four years, but senior year, you just want to get it done. I think that’s what really made this year special because it was the last time I’ll be able to do this.
Q: Did it strike you Saturday that this was your last game ever for Watertown?
A: There was a little bit of [crying]. Happy and sad tears. Bittersweet, definitely bittersweet. I just remember running to Michaela and hugging her and thinking this would be the last time I’d be on the field with her.
Q: What was the hardest part about this year?
A: We had a lot of unbelievable players last year who graduated, and I think people just had this idea that we weren’t going to be as good as them, so the hardest part was just showing people we’re just as good, that we can get it done. People not believing in us, I think.
Q: Was there one game that was the hardest? Maybe the tournament game against Manchester Essex and boy player?
A: He wasn’t really a factor. It’s a team. It’s not really one person. Everything was about this boy and I don’t think it was a factor in the game, it was just another game, another player, another athlete. I can’t remember one game where I was like, “Man this is really hard.” We work our hardest every game, so they are all tough because we are trying to play our hardest every game.
Q: With the unbeaten streak and the state title streak, there must have been a little pressure on you all to keep it going, right?
A: We don’t really view this as pressure. That’s just how our team goes. It’s not pressure. It’s not: “We’re playing to keep this streak alive.” We’re playing field hockey to play field hockey. If we lose a game, we lose a game. There’s no pressure.
Q: Is that coming from the players, or the coach, or both?
A: That’s definitely how Ms. [Eileen] Donahue thinks. It’s pretty much how our whole team thinks, because if you view it as pressure, you just freak out. … During preseason, we sat down and we talked as a team, obviously, and Ms. Donahue said, “You know there’s the [national] record,” and made us aware of it, but we didn’t go into practice thinking, “OK, we’ve got to work hard today so we can keep the streak alive.” We come to play, not to keep the streak alive.
Q: Was there one game in the last four years that sticks out?
A: I think my freshman year when we won the state championship. I played in the game, so it was kind of surreal. I cried after that game. I was, “I can’t believe we just did that.” It was such a close game and we won. It was crazy. And especially this year. The last time. I keep thinking about the last time, so the first and last.
Q: In the state title game, when you were up 4-0 at intermission, did you play differently in the second half? Can you just run around in that situation, knowing that you were probably going to win?
A: We had the lead and we pushed just to keep going. Really, you don’t have a lead, you don’t have the game until the whistle is blown and the game is over. That’s when it’s over. You don’t have a lead, even if it’s 6-0. You never know if they can come back. I think that’s how we were thinking. We didn’t want
to get overconfident, like, “Aw, we’re gonna win this.” We went out there [for the second half] and … we scored again [in the first few minutes] and that kept pushing us to keep working hard, not wanting them to get past the 50, not wanting them to get a corner.
Q: What are you going to miss most of all?
A: Just definitely the team. We spent every day together. Especially this year, we’re very close knit. We went to camp together, we went to one of our friends’ pools, and I think I’m going to miss them the most. All the underclassmen are just so close. That team feel- ing. And Ms. Donahue, I mean she’s the only coach I’ve ever had in high school. I play field hockey and lacrosse and she’s the coach for both. I think I’m go- ing to miss her as a coach, too. She’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.
–Dec. 17, 2015–