On Sunday August 7th, the Bentley Field Hockey team returned home and coaching them from the sideline was a familiar face. Head Coach Jessica King has returned to her Alla Mater who once dawned the blue and gold as a player for four years.
The team is coming off of a stellar season in which many returning players had breakout seasons. The key to last year’s success was their ability to play good defense, due to the great goaltending by Alyssa Sliney (Nauset Regional). Also dominating over conference rivals was very important as they went 13-3 against teams in the NE-10.
Getting offensive production however has been an issue in the first two games, getting shutout 1-0 and 3-0. King believes “we [they] are over that hurdle for the season; as we started scoring in our third game at St. Michaels.” The team lost that conference game in overtime 3-2.
This Bentley squad has 16 returning players which include Nicole Murphy (Dedham) who was one of the team’s leading scorers in 2007 with 8 goals and 5 assists. Coach King believes “Nicole will have an even better year than last year.” Murphy scored her first goal of the season against St. Mich’s. Two freshmen that look to make an impact this year are locals Stephanie Sideris (Watertown High) and Tori Bergantino (or known by her teammates as T-Dog) (Waltham High); both will be getting the nod to start this season.
Coach King has brought in a familiar assistant, Laura Thibodeau and fresh face Rachael Johnson. King had this to say about her coaching staff “I am very offensive minded, while my two assistants really have been working with the defense and we pull it all together on game day. Laura brings her knowledge of the game as she played for Division I, UCONN and Rachael brings her passion as she comes straight out of college and aspires to one day to be a head coach. “
Her (Johnson) youth and passion is what she (King) preaches to her players. “I teach them to play with passion for the game and pride for the school.” King has plenty of pride, when asked what her favorite colors were, her response, “blue and gold.” Both components however have been rather easy to instill as she believes “these girls are very determined and are very coachable.”
Coach King was very excited to be home on Sunday, “you kind of feel you are back “home” again, I had no butterflies in my stomach because I was very confident in my team and knowing they could perform well.” Home treated the Falcons well last year going 7-2 overall.
The Falcons played an all around good game on Sunday. Looking at the scoreboard one would think this was a tale of two totally different halves when all that was needed in the end was a little bit of luck. The Lady Falcons could not have played any better in the first half. They played strong defense and had a lot of good scoring opportunities, in large part to great play from Courtney Bartlett (St. Mark’s School). The American International College Yellow Jackets were held without a shot for the first 10 minutes of the game.
In the second half the Falcons started finding the back of the net. It started with a goal in the 40th minute from Nicole Murphy; the goal was Murphy’s second of the season. She understands the raised expectation from her this season and stated she has “really focused on getting into shape this offseason to be able to play full 70 minute games.”
The Second goal came 5 minutes and 20 seconds later. Christina Lowe (Tewskbury) took the penalty corner and passed to Allison St. Jean (Noble), who ripped a scorcher into the back of the net. Falcons would then take the 3-0 advantage on a goal by Abbie DeMusis (Guilford) assisted by Stephanie Sideris. The assist was Stephanie’s 1st of her career of what looks like many more to come.
Stephanie is fitting right in with the team and after the game she commented on making the starting roster. “It is amazing, such a good feeling, it is like all the hard work has paid off. It is so much fun to play with these girls.”
This was an excellent showing of how dominant the Lady Falcons can be this year. A full crowd was on hand for the home opener which should only get bigger as the girls transition into the new coaching style. The team also played this past Wednesday which came after the publication of this article. Their next game is this Saturday September 13th against conference rival Stonehill.