Father Gabriel Richard field hockey coach Craig Flocken is as honest as he is a good coach – and he’s a very good coach.
“Another season over .500, making the quarterfinals of the State Tournament, and a return to the Catholic League D-2 Finals seems like a lot to ask from a much younger team,” says Flocken.
But Flocken also believes that with a proven coaching staff, hard work, belief in their system and a little Irish luck along the way, this year’s team could surprise some teams along the way and make another “unexpected” run like last year.
“With 12 seniors graduated from last year, the game experience on the field will be much reduced for FGR,” Flocken says. “As a result, the team will need to quickly find their comfort level with one another on the field and in turn work together to overcome the loss of nearly all its starters.”
FGR team strengths include experience on the defensive side of the field combined with Flocken’s proven team system – which should keep the Irish in nearly every game this season.
“The biggest item of improvement will need to come on the offensive side of the ball if we are to repeat the achievements of 2018,” Flocken says. “With many midfielders and forwards getting their first chance at starting for varsity, the ability to get the ball in the opponent’s goal will be crucial for us.
“The unknown key will be how the offensive players perform in their newly acquired roles and whether the on-field efforts of an experienced defensive side can translate into wins.”
FGR went 11-5-3 in just its second year in 2018 and reached the Catholic League D-2 finals and the state quarterfinals.
Top returning players: Molly O’Leary (Sr – Def); Caroline Falahee (Sr – Mid); Sarah Whittaker (Sr – Fwd); and Maddie Korte (Jr – Mid)
Top newcomers: Paighton Gimotty (So – Mid); Chloe Connelly (So – Mid); and Monica Grayson (Jr – F)
FGR opens the season Aug. 26 at Hartland.