By Bella Cutone
With 24 seconds left on the clock, the Girls’ Varsity Hockey Team secured their first ever win since forming last winter. The girls gave it their all and ended the game with a 5-4 victory over Martha’s Vineyard. Not only was their energy high following the big win, but the excitement continued as they also earned themselves a spot in playoffs.
As the Whalers embarked on their second year as a team, a common goal amongst the girls was to finish a game with a win. After a season of ties and losses, this team never seemed to lose their fire, fighting with a sense of tenacity at each game that came their way. Senior Captain Shea Harnishfiger notes, “This game is definitely going to be a huge highlight in my life…we made history on Monday.” Not only did this team win the first ever girls’ hockey game in Nantucket High School history, but they did so (whilst maintaining a strong sense of sportsmanship) against our rival team, Martha’s Vineyard, at the Vineyard’s senior game, and at their home rink.
Senior Captain Ruby Dupont, believes this win “proves that with hard work, anything is possible.” The older players highlight the importance of this win for not only them but for the future of their team. Harnishfiger feels that, “It was a phenomenal win and showing our team as well as future teammates what more we can do in these upcoming years.”
Coming off a tough season last year, this season was all about improvements and the little things this team could do in order to bring them to their greatest potential. With a season under their belt and the bonds they formed on the ice last year, the girls truly became a team this winter season. Harnishfiger describes it as if the girls finally “clicked as a team” making it easier for everyone to understand each girl’s strengths and weaknesses and how they can work to help each other.
With a smaller bench this year, the girls often struggled with playing a full three periods while maintaining the same energy they started the game with. Captain Evelyn Fey shares an important detail, stating, “We’ve really improved in conserving our energy. By the third period we still have a lot more to give and we don’t give up.” She believes this was an important factor in this year’s play and eventual win.
A year ago, the girls’ main focus was figuring out where each of them seemed to fit within the team, making it hard for the girls to work in one cohesive group. Going into this season knowing they could potentially win games this year was huge in terms of motivation. Harnishfiger reveals, “Once we tied our first two games, we all knew we were going to win sometime this year.”
Although all the girls made huge strides this year, a player that held her ground and continued to stand out to the coaches throughout the season was Captain Shea Harnishfiger. Dupont states, “Without Shea none of this would be possible,” and the rest of the girls hockey team agrees. Harnishfiger has been praised by both her teammates and coaches regarding her improvement throughout the seasons and her ability to keep the team grounded despite some tight games. Dupont continues, saying, “She had outstanding saves at the Vineyard game and we wouldn’t have gotten that win without her.”
This team is eager to bring their all as the regular season comes to a close and playoffs begin. Feelings of excitement and anticipation now fill the rink once the girls walk in. Looking ahead to the playoffs, Fey says, “The team has a strong feeling that another win is heading their way.” Not only is this recent victory a key source of motivation for the girls, but it was also the confidence boost the team seemed to need. With some players still struggling with self-doubt and confidence on the ice, Fey explains, “This is exactly what we needed for us to push through the rest of our season.”
The girls look to make it past the first round and believe it would be a big deal for not only them, but the program as a whole. Harnishfiger concludes that, “I am looking forward to another win and being able to play my last few games. I am going to miss this team so much next year. Hockey has definitely changed my life these past two years and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to have,” encompassing her feelings about what it means to be a senior.
With one win under their belt, the Girls’ Varsity Hockey Team has already created a strong foundation for the future as they prepare to lose this year’s seniors and core players, Grace Hood, Ruby Dupont, and Shea Harnishfiger. The girls varsity hockey team will continue to prevail, taking on their next challenge as one, tenacious team, willing to do whatever it takes as they look ahead towards another victory.