By Joan Harris, contributing writer
Only three years ago did Nantucket High School assemble a female equivalent of the successful boys hockey team. Since then, the roster has steadily grown and it is becoming one of the most popular sports programs at the school. The appeal is apparent: watching even a single game shows the heartwarming camaraderie between the teammates and their skillful tempo during plays. Though their 4-12-1 record may not convey it, the team is having an unprecedentedly prosperous season, on and off the ice. Senior co-captain Evelyn Fey has been a strong leader to the large group of younger girls, many of whom attend Cyrus Pierce Middle School. Their recruitment of sixth through eighth grade players makes them the only sports team at the high school that enrolls younger students.
Sophomore Bailey Lower, originally an avid lacrosse player, now a hockey one too, started the season hesitant about the team’s capability: “I was worried that we lacked essentials in both skill and game understanding.” However, she said that after just a few practices she was assured the team was going to flourish under Head Coach Liz Collin’s lead.
“Some girls really had to step up this season,” she said. “We lost a decent amount of senior figureheads last year and had to make up for it.”
Older members on a team can contribute experience; however, this team full of young members has a unique energy and optimism. After a season like this one, with time to bond and grow as a team, they are also sure to have a bright future.
On January 8, the team played against Falmouth Regional High School, and, though they suffered an egregious 0-14 loss, they put up a commendable fight. The game was not only exciting for the girls but also for the spectators, who watched on as the Lady Whalers asserted their dominance. Though a bit too physical, Fey says she was proud of her team “for finding their confidence on the ice, and keeping their ground,” However, the team, “working on controlling our temper and not letting it get out of hand.”
In the Falmouth rematch, Junior co-captain Lydia Johnson scored the Whaler’s singular goal to enter the second period 1-3. Unfortunately, they fell, 1-13 as Falmouth beat the tired Nantucket girls and their backup goalie.
Fey pinpoints the January 22 Dennis-Yarmouth game as their most impressive accomplishment of the season. In this performance, many players demonstrated their personal skill, including Sophomore EV Pekarcik who created valuable offensive space using her signature physicality. She finished with one goal and one assist, to match sophomore Claire Misurelli and Lower’s individual goals and create three points total. The game went into overtime due to a 3-3 tie and Sophomore goalie Caroline Allen, who was mentored by the boy’s hockey goalie, Griffin Starr, amassed many important saves in OT to control the score. This allowed the team to finish with a tie.
Fey has consistently shown to be a strong facilitator of goal scoring, as well as an adept passer. Sophomores EJ Hemingway and Hannah Evens have provided the Whalers with a secure anchorage on defense. Misurelli continues to demonstrate her extensive game knowledge and was described by Evens as a player who is, “everywhere on the ice, ready to set a teammate up with a goal.”
The goalie, Allen, has time and time again displayed confident abilities and protection even during opposing power plays. Though next year the team will lose Fey, Johnson says, “I believe the team will strengthen even more in the coming years, we have so many young individuals ready to fill her shoes.” Team bonding will surely aid in the Whaler’s success in the future as they strive to create an individual female hockey identity.