Back-to-back state titles for Uxbridge field hockey
The Uxbridge field hockey team is looking to three-peat as state champs next year, after a remarkable 2022 season.
By CHRISTOPHER TREMBLAY, Staff Sports Writer
During the 2021 campaign the Uxbridge field hockey team posted a 15-0-2 regular season record, earning itself a three seed in the Division 4 State Tournament. The Spartans would rattle off five straight wins in the tournament, outscoring their opponents 26-0 to take home the Division 4 State Championship.
Uxbridge field hockey Coach Kelly Rosborough would graduate three seniors who were an integral part of that magical squad and knew that if she could fill those empty vacancies with talent then the Spartans could possibly do it again.
“I and (JV head coach and assistant varsity coach) Jody Blood preach to the team offense and defense; full systems that work together and if everyone does their jobs then we will be successful again,” Rosborough said. “We knew that we had the chance to once again be successful and make a run at the State Championship.”
While the Spartans were working hard and playing to their potential, no one could have ever imagined the team going 18-0 during the regular season and then winning all five games that they played in during the Division 4 State Championship Tournament to finish 23-0. The culmination was Uxbridge’s second straight State Field Hockey Championship.
“Earning the number one seed in the tournament, the girls knew they had the opportunity, the coach said. “If we could stay in the moment and prepare one game at a time that we could do this again. The girls don’t have that we’re winning this type of attitude without playing hard.”
While Uxbridge was taking care of business during four of its five games (7-1 win over Westport, 9-0 over Nantucket, 5-0 over Frontier Region and 5-0 over Manchester Essex), the team did have one game, against Monomoy, that could have ended its season.
“The Semi Final game against Monomoy was our only problematic game (the two teams would battle to a double overtime victory for Uxbridge 3-2),” Rosborough said. “This was our first overtime game of the season, never mind going to double overtime and we hadn’t really been challenged in this way all year long.”
During the regular season Uxbridge handled Monomoy rather easily, grabbing a 6-1 victory, but Rosborough knew that once the two teams me up in the Semi Finals that the game would be totally different.
“I knew that they’d be more prepared this time around and looking for redemption,” she said. “But we came together as a team and were able to come away with the win.”
Uxbridge’s top two scorers were a big part of the Spartans getting back to the State Championship for the second year in a row. Sophomore Ellie Bouchard, who was a threat last year, scored 34 goals and added 6 assists from her left forward position while freshman Kendall Gilmore, playing the right forward position, notched 31 goals and 14 assists for Uxbridge.
Right behind the youngsters was senior inner forward Meghan Smith who tallied 25 goals and 5 assists. The senior was one of the Spartans key offensive players. Freshman Amelia Blood didn’t have as many goals (11), but she used her talents to record 30 assists instead.
“She ran our offenses as the center mid and liked to distribute the ball,” Rosborough said. “A lot of her assists came off corners and as a solid midfielder she stepped up our offensive by, moving the ball up field.’
As an eighth grader last fall Blood scored the only goal in last year’s Championship game against Ipswich.
Other offensive threats this past season were freshman Julianna Casucci (8 goals-5 assists) and eighth grader Aubrey Bouchard (10 goals – 4 assists) from their left and right forward positions respectively. Over the last two seasons Uxbridge’s offense has averaged 6 goals a game throughout the regular season as well as the post-season.
Rounding out the offense, Uxbridge had two interchangeable athletes that brought a dynamic presence when they stepped onto the field at left inner on the forward line in eighth grader Brooklyn Kaferlein (9 goals-7 assists) and junior Tessa Johnston (8 goals-2 assists).
On the defensive side of the field the Spartans are led by senior captain Morgan Ouellette. The center defender plays with a lot of grit and according to her coach, not too many balls get by her, but if one does you can count on the senior to use her speed to track it down and take it back.
In addition to Ouellette defensive backs Addie Blood, an eighth grader, and sophomore Bailey Dzivasen are sure to keep the ball far away from the Uxbridge net.
Freshman goalie Julia Okenquiste, who was on the team last fall but only saw limited action during the regular season and was on the bench during the tournament, became the team’s starting goalie this fall. Playing in all 23 games this year, Okenquiste only allowed 11 goals for a .478 goals against average and blanked the opponent on 15 occasions
Other players for the Division 4 State Champions were seniors Gianna Noyes, Maddison Tousignant, Abby Sanches, Grace Orr, and Lily Brayman. These five athletes were all on the team as eighth graders.
“This year’s seniors were part of the first eighth grade class five years ago,” the coach said. “They are a great group o girls who worked extremely hard throughout the years and were a great part of this program.”
Juniors Sam Jones and Ella Pezzullo, along with sophomore Natalie Orr, not only round out the team but give the squad a deep sideline.
In 2015 the Uxbridge field hockey program started a feeder program so that by the time the girls got to high school they’d be ready to step right in.
“We are fortunate enough that the community as well as the parents love and know the sport of field hockey,” Rosborough said. “Without the community and school, who have been so supportive during our playoff run, who knows where we’d be. The last two games we had a super fan base and the Board of Selectmen has put signs all around town stating 23-0 State Champions.”
Rosborough will be graduating seven seniors, only two of whom started, from this year’s team, but believes that the Spartans will be just fine and once again in pursuit of yet another State Championship.
The girls who are coming back next season have already began working to get ready for next August and are looking to three-peat.