The 2011 season has not been kind to the Talawanda field hockey team but the coaches—two Talawanda graduates and former players in the sport—are working hard to keep the sport going.
Talawanda hosted Summit Country Day Wednesday, Sept. 28, but the game was played on Miami’s turf field because rain had made the high school field unplayable. It was a matchup of teams that had not won a game all season and the Summit team went home with a 2-0 win, while the Braves continued without any wins, or even any points scored in 10 games this year.
The Braves fell to 0-10 on the season overall and 0-6 in the South West Ohio Field Hockey League.
Coach Meagan Zimmerman’s varsity squad has shown improvement over the six league losses, going from an 11-0 loss to Oakwood on Sept. 1, to a 7-0 loss to St. Ursula Academy on Sept 9, a 4-0 loss to Mount Notre Dame on Sept. 14, a 2-0 loss to Ursuline on Sept. 19 and a 5-0 loss to Fairmont on Sept. 22, leading up to another 2-0 loss to Summit on Wednesday.
Zimmerman was hopeful of her team getting the first win of 2011 with another team without a win, but the Braves came up short in the game against Summit.
“It was not the outcome we were looking for,” Zimmerman said, praising her team for not giving up in the face of such adversity. “They try hard. They keep going and keep doing what we ask them to do.”
In a team huddle following the game, Zimmerman told her team: “It was a tough loss. Don’t be mad at yourselves. You did what I asked you to do in the second half.”
Later, the fourth-year Talawanda coach said she told her team at halftime to do the things they did not do in the first half—take shots and go to the ball. They did that, but came up short. Summit led 1-0 at halftime, having scored with seven minutes left in the first half and then added another goal with 25:49 to go I the game.
Talawanda threatened several times in each half, but could not get the ball past the Summit goalkeeper, who kicked the ball back out numerous times.
While getting to play on Miami’s turf field was a nice opportunity, it may have worked against the Braves a bit.
“They have not played on turf,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a faster game here.”
Much of the game was played in the rain, which probably made use of the field an improvement over conditions at the high school.
Zimmerman said she has no explanation for why her team is winless in 2011.
“It just doesn’t happen,” she said. “I can’t ask more. They give all they have. As the season has gone on, they have gotten better.”
Part of the explanation is the loss of seven seniors from last year’s team.
“Some (of this year’s team) had big shoes they had to fill.”
The junior varsity team—also winless and scoreless coming into their game against Summit—did get to taste victory, earning a 2-1 on Wednesday.
“The jayvee game was very exciting—their first goal and first win.” Zimmerman said. Coaching the jayvee team is Kate Bucher and the two are paired up to promote the sports at Talawanda.
“We are trying to keep the spirit alive, from when we were in high school,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman, the former Meagan Smith and a Talawanda 2003 graduate, and Bucher, a THS class of 2004 grad, hope to keep interest in the sport at the school, although they often need to recruit players and often struggle to find enough players for two teams.
“We try to keep the numbers up,” Zimmerman said.
Part of the problem on the field is that they often have players new to the sport, such as senior Stephanie Radford, who is playing the sport for the first time. Holding her hand at her waist, the coach added, “We play teams who have girls who have played since they were this high.”
That’s a disadvantage they have to face but she said the players are enthusiastic and working hard to win and Zimmerman said they hope to build a winning program and give their players something to cheer.