By Duncan Agnew | firstname.lastname@example.org
Before falling to W.T. Woodson – the eventual regional champion – in the second round of the regional tournament last season, the T.C. Williams field hockey team collected an impressive 16 wins, including a dominant run of 11 consecutive victories. That’s a tough act to follow, but the team has high expectations for the fall season despite losing several of last year’s top starters to graduation.
Head coach William Heresniak said his team faces an unusual challenge this year: the roster is comprised mostly of upperclassmen, yet because of the key role played by those who just graduated, many of those remaining lack experience. This year’s team is comprised of seven seniors, 13 juniors and only one sophomore.
“We seem like an older team, but … I would call us not as experienced as previous years,” Heresniak said. “We’ve got a lot of hard workers. I think it’s going to be a really good group, so time will tell.”
During try-outs and the first week of practice, the team relocated to Witter Field while city staff laid down new turf at Minnie Howard, their normal practice spot. The final practice at Witter took place on Aug. 9, Heresniak said.
Despite a general lack of starting experience among the players on this season’s roster, several of the team’s leaders also played key roles on last year’s Titan squad that claimed the district title.
“We’ve still got a good chunk of players who have a lot of experience from varsity last year,” Heresniak said. “And then we’ve got players that actually moved up from [junior varsity] last year for the playoffs that have varsity experience there, too.”
The core returning teammates for the Titans are senior Reese Hardman and juniors Sophie Moniz, Caroline Peterson and My-lihn Aslanian, Heresniak said. Moniz will direct the defense once again after serving as a goalkeeper for most of her sophomore campaign, while T.C. will look to Peterson to lead the attack.
“[Peterson] did really well last year as a forward, so we’ll look to her to score,” Heresniak said.
Last fall, the Titans easily triumphed in a district that also includes Mt. Vernon, Annandale, West Potomac and Hayfield. However, T.C. stumbled against the region’s toughest competitors, losing to Langley 4-0 and Westfield 4-1 in the regular season before being bounced from the playoffs by eventual champion Woodson.
The Titans will have had the opportunity to avenge two of those losses by the end of the season’s first month. The team had a rough start with a 4-1 loss to Langley at the South County High School tournament on Aug. 23 before hitting the road for a night game at Westfield tonight.
“[Westfield] will probably be the toughest team on our schedule,” Heresniak said. “… Those tournament games – those’ll be tough, and it’ll be good to get experience playing out of our district.”
Ultimately, Heresniak hopes his squad will achieve its goals through a careful attention to detail and a focus on efficient practices.
“My style will always be the same, and I’m all about logistics and doing simple things correct every time,” Heresniak said. “… If everybody can pass accurately and fast, we’re going to do well. If we work hard, we’re going to do well.”