The Bedford High School field hockey team is enjoying its most successful season in more than half a century. And the Bucs are not done yet.
“This is the right group of girls coming together at the right time,” said Head Coach Roseanne Ham, as she and the team awaited the announcement of their first opponent in the MIAA Division 2 statewide playoff. “Every coach wants to have that team when all the stars align.”
The team’s record may not be good enough for a home game, but “anything is a new experience,” the coach said.
Editor’s Note: Ranked 25th in Division 2, the team will face eighth-seeded Longmeadow Thursday at 4. The game will take place at Holyoke High School.
Coach Ham’s team is replete with experience. There are a dozen seniors. Four of them are four-year varsity players; four others have been alongside for the past three years.
“They are strong players with great heart, hard workers who trust and care about each other,” Ham testified.
The Bucs finished their regular-season schedule with eight wins, six losses, and four ties, and won the Dual County League’s Foley Division with a record of 3-3-2, including a tie with perennial powerhouse Weston. According to the banners in the BHS gymnasium, only one other field hockey team was DCL champion, in 1966.
There was a modified fall field-hockey season in 2020, and at the end of the pandemic-compromised campaign, Ham related, “I brought them together as a group and said, ‘Next year is the year we can do it.’ They all looked at me and said, ‘Yes, we can’ They had the desire and the drive.”
Roseanne Ham began teaching health and physical education in Bedford in 1997, first at the middle school and later at BHS. She officially retired from teaching in June, although she is now working as a long-term substitute at the high school.
The story of this fall sport’s success begins back in 2004. That’s when Ham successfully campaigned for a field hockey team at John Glenn Middle School. “The high school never had a feeder program,” she said. Girls would join in ninth grade and they had to learn how to play.
The middle school team introduced seventh and eighth graders to field hockey and Ham said sixth graders, though ineligible for games, took part in practices.
Ham coached the new middle school team and later was the freshman and then junior varsity coach. She took over the helm of varsity field hockey in 2015. Three years later the team qualified for the post-season tournament.
The coach’s playing experience consisted only of a year on a club team at Revere High School. “We didn’t know anything about the sport,” she said. “It’s a game that I found exciting. It brings out something in players that they didn’t know they had.”
“This is a complex game,” she asserted, mentioning a coaching video that references 237 separate skills to learn. “You need to hold on to a skill because there are so many of them.”
Ham said she hopes to be able to launch a program for children at Lane School with her assistant coach, Kayley Sparks. She also started a field hockey program for middle schoolers in conjunction with the Recreation Department’s Kids Club.
The 2021 BHS field hockey seniors are Lauren Barnes, Lauren Fallon, Narineh Gevorkian, Pushti Jarecha, Gianna Mici, Jillian Mici, Abby Morrissey, Sophie Morrissey, Bella Seldon, Olivia Winter, Erica Wong, and Shannon Young.
Maya Billings is the sophomore goalkeeper. Other underclasswomen are Shannon DeRosas, Maddie DiPerna, Sydney Phylis, Sydney Poor, and Stella Day.
Next year’s team will have a different look, after two-thirds of the current players graduate. But Ham pointed out, “There are 40 playing at the middle school now. I think they just love the game.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763