Sticking to tradition

Even with a new head coach, the varsity field hockey team was able to achieve their third championship title without forgetting their roots


Caroline Cooney

Seniors on the varsity field hockey team pose after winning the IAAM B Conference Championship 1-0 against Maryvale on Nov.6.

With a strong tradition of teamwork and communication, the varsity field hockey team has thrived and achieved success through two coaches over the last three seasons, repeating for the third time as IAAM B Conference Champions with a 1-0 win over No. 1 seeded Maryvale on Nov. 6.

Head coach Alice Puckett, class of ’77, expected a lot out of her players, and they responded with the determination to repeat as champions. “As a team and individually we have worked so hard this season, pushing ourselves to the max,” junior right wing Kathryn Hodges said.

To begin the season, the varsity team came out with an impressive win against A Conference opponent Garrison Forest. Any possible doubts about how the team would perform were shattered. “That was one of the best games we played, and it was a huge win over a No. 3 seeded A Conference team,” senior captain and center midfielder Charlotte Haggerty said.

Repeating their perfect conference record from last year was thought to be difficult due to the lost talent from last year’s team. “We did have a hole in our defense because we lost a lot of players,” Puckett said.

While senior leaders stepped up to lead their team, two freshmen joined the varsity program. “We have had a couple freshmen come in and started, and they have made an immediate impact on the program,” Puckett said.

Leading the team in goals this season was freshman left forward Ellie Bruggeman who made an immediate impact with the team. “I had to prove myself and show the upperclassmen that I belonged on the team,” Bruggeman said.

After a 12-3 overall regular season record, the team defeated both St. Paul’s and Mount de Sales while only giving up one goal in both games. “The key is just playing great defense, the rest of it will take care of itself,” Puckett said.

After tough match-ups in the playoffs, the field hockey team faced Maryvale again for the third year in a row preparing to solidify themselves as champions. Bruggeman scored in the first half, which set the tone of the game. The team was able to fend off Maryvale for the remainder of the game to complete a three-peat, 1-0.

“The team played with a champion mentality today. Overall, what a wonderful group of young ladies. They embody the real meaning of [a] team as each of them supported each other on and off the field,” Puckett said after the championship win.

Senior center midfielder Charlotte Haggerty holds a record of 10 assists for the season, which is the highest recorded number of assists for the team.
Caroline Cooney
Senior center midfielder Charlotte Haggerty holds a record of 10 assists for the season, which is the highest recorded number of assists for the team.

Former head coach Gary Scholl responded to the team’s success as he watched them from the sidelines. “I have to thank the coaches for being so open and encouraging for me to stay connected with the team. I was just honored to be allowed to be involved to a limited degree with the team,” Scholl said.

After back-to-back championship wins in 2014 and 2015, the announcement of a new head coach came as a surprise. “It was definitely different having a new coach, their individual coaching styles are not similar at all,” Hodges said.

However, Scholl felt it was right for the team. “I don’t have the sophisticated knowledge that Puckett has or the recruiting power. I feel really comfortable turning the program over to her,” Scholl told The Patriot after Puckett was named head coach in May.

After coaching for 10 years, it was odd transitioning to a new coach for some players. However, Puckett believes that the players performed well during the season. “We have 11 seniors, and I think some of them are in different positions than they would have been with Coach Scholl. I think they have really been open to trying different things, which has made a huge difference,” Puckett said.


Players on the team agree that transitioning has gone well. “In the beginning, none of us really knew what to expect, but the transition has been good,” Hodges said.

Players note the differences between both coaches but believe that overall, Puckett brought a lot to the team. “Having Coach Puckett has been awesome for the JC field hockey program. She has brought so much new knowledge to everyone on the team,” Haggerty said.

Although Scholl stepped down from the head coaching position, he was still present at every game, cheering his former team on all the way. “It is really nice still having Mr. Scholl on the sidelines with us. […] I am glad he is still a part of the team,” Haggerty said.

To the team’s delight, some of the traditions such as vision quests, sage rituals, and Indian warm-up songs stuck even though a new coach was introduced to the program. “We all love that Mr. Scholl is still supporting us from the sideline and still brings his Indian traditions to the team. We wouldn’t want it any other way,” Hodges said.

“This has been one of the best seasons we’ve had. We put in a lot of work and I think it has really paid off,” Haggerty said.

Grant Sharretts is the Online Chief for The Patriot and