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Girls Hockey Leaning On Underclassmen This Year

The Rockets will rely heavily on their freshmen and sophomore skaters to help Needham remain competitive this season in the Bay State Conference.

Following a season that ended with a triumphant victory against Barnstable High School, the girls varsity ice hockey team is focused on getting better this season. 

“I think for a successful season, you take one game at a time, learn from your mistakes, while you build on the small successes that you have and you don’t get too far ahead of yourself,” said Needham head coach Allisyn Furano.

Furano knows that to be competitive in the Bay State Conference this year, her team will need to be on the same page at practices and games. Yet, the head coach will also need some support from her three senior captains, who will be in charge of grooming the young freshmen and sophomore skaters and helping them adapt to Division I varsity hockey. 

“We have three captains that are definitely used to adversity. They’re here at every practice, they’re at every scrimmage. They've been acclimating the underclassmen to the culture of the program and the expectations," Furano said.

“The underclassmen really outweigh the upperclassmen, so one of the things that I think will help us a lot this season is that a lot of the freshmen now understand the aspects of hockey that we went over a lot [last year], so we’re all kind of on the same level. It’s not so much trying to make them into what the upperclassmen already are; it’s just that we’re all on the same level and are playing as one team instead of as individuals,” said Needham senior co-captain Melody Chapman.

Senior co-captains Jane O’Connor and Paige Tormey also said that a major part of this year’s success will rely on the team’s younger players, whom they both feel will provide a spark for the Rockets. 

“It’s definitely important to help them learn the ropes of a varsity sport because a lot of them haven’t been on a team like this before or played girls that are 18 years old, so it's obviously important to help them get into the flow of this intense level,” O’Connor said.   

“We want the freshmen to feel comfortable on the team, feel like they shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes and try new things, and we think that with their talent and their motivation and determination, we can go far,” Tormey said.

The young Rockets squad will kick off their season on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at Babson College when they welcome Dedham High School to their home ice. A win would go a long way toward helping a Needham squad that ended its season last year with just four wins.  

“They’ve always been really aggressive, very well coached,” Furano said. “I think we have to come out, we have to play with confidence, and we’ve got to try and score [early and often].”          

“We have a lot of good players, and we’re ready to win,” Tormey said.

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