After eight players graduate, girls field hockey team looks to reload
Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2023
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
The learning curve is over for second-year Coach Ann Marie Westmoreland of the West Forsyth girls field hockey team.
Starting her second season as head coach of the Titans, although there are plenty of things on her plate, the first couple weeks of practice have been a little easier this time.
“It’s actually been really good,” Westmoreland said. “We have practiced for two weeks now, and I think we’re looking pretty solid.”
Westmoreland replaced Mike Bryant, so the players had to adjust to two different coaching styles.
“I think (the girls at West Forsyth) have taken it pretty well,” Westmoreland said. “I think it’s a little bit of a transition because some of them had Mike Bryant when he was the coach, and obviously, he’s a male. So, I think it’s good for them to have to have a female coach because they can come to me for, and I had told them this at the beginning of the year, come to me with anything, you know — if it’s field-hockey related, personal related, I can help you, you know, either way.”
One addition to the coaching staff is Makayla McFadden, who played for Westmoreland when Westmoreland was a volunteer coach with Bryant.
“I think we’ve built a bond between us and the girls. And I think it’s pretty strong,’ Westmoreland said. “So, I’m grateful for that because that they’re able to come say, ‘Hey, I need a little help on this,’ or ‘Hey, I’m struggling with this.’ Or, ‘I think this works.’”
There is just one problem, however, that every high school coach has to deal with at one point or another — attrition by graduation.
“We did lose eight seniors from last year,” Westmoreland said. “So, I would consider this year a little bit of rebuilding. We have several returning players and four seniors this year. But I think we’re looking pretty good.”
With all those seniors gone, how will West Forsyth respond after going 7-9 overall last year and 2-6 in the N.C. Field Hockey Association Central West Conference? Field hockey isn’t a sanctioned sport in North Carolina, so it is run by the NCFHA.
“I am laid back,” Westmoreland said. “I am not a yeller. My voice level goes up only because I want them to hear me. But I am not the kind that would yell at them on the field.”
West Forsyth finished fourth in the conference last year out of five teams, with just Mount Tabor (4-14, 1-7) in last place. Reynolds (18-2, 8-0) won the conference last year, but it moved to a different conference with Greensboro Grimsley, Greensboro Page and Northwest Guilford. However, West Forsyth has two non-conference games scheduled against Reynolds this season.
Despite the long distance, Asheville finished second in the conference, followed by Reagan and West Forsyth.
“I think we’re about the same,” Westmoreland said. “I think we could potentially be better this year, but right now, from just two weeks of practice, I think we’re about the same.”
West Forsyth is scheduled to play its first game on Aug. 28 at Mount Tabor, followed by its home opener on Aug. 31 against Asheville.
“We have quite a bit of sophomores on the varsity team, and I think that is going to help because they’ve, you know, they’ve already had one year of JV under their belts,” Westmoreland said. “They were the starters of JV. So, the younger girls on varsity, I think, they are here to watch the older girls, and they can step into their shoes, you know, in their next junior and senior years.
“So, I think having younger girls on varsity is good, and they’re very strong, so I think that will help us in years to come.”
8/28 – @ Mount Tabor 6 p.m.*
8/31 – Asheville 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
9/5 – @ Page 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
9/7 – Reagan 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
9/11 – Mount Tabor 6 p.m.*
9/14 – @ Asheville 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
9/18 – @ Reagan 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
9/20 – Grimsley 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
9/25 – RJ Reynolds 5:30,7
9/28 – Hough 6 p.m.*
10/2 – @ Summit 4:15 p.m.**
10/3 – NW Guilford 6 p.m.*
10/11 – @ Grimsley 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
10/12 – Summit 5 p.m.**
10/17 – @ RJ Reynolds 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
10/19 – @ Hough 5:30 p.m.*
10/23 – @ NW Guilford 6 p.m.*
10/25 – Page 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
*denotes varsity only
** denotes junior varsity only