By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – Algonquin Field Hockey coach Jennifer Brown has been coaching and running her own field hockey camp for years. But, on Sept. 8, she still felt jitters.
Algonquin was tied with Wachusett 1-1 in what was Brown’s first game as head coach. After an eventual loss in that matchup, Algonquin earned their new coach her first win on Sept. 14, beating Concord-Carlisle by a score of 3-1.
“This team lost a lot of starters from last year, so I came in with a fresh, clean slate,” Brown said in an interview before that Concord-Carlisle game. “Heading into tryouts, I told everyone they’d have a fair shot at varsity.”
“We’re a very raw, athletic team this season,” she continued.
Brown said her squad consists of seven upperclassmen, leading nine freshmen and sophomores.
“It’s a very young team,” she said. “But I’m excited about it and they’ve already proven themselves to be very determined and I think they’re going to do well.”
Captains aid in coaching transition
The owner of Strikers Field Hockey, Brown had been working with middle school programs for “the last 20 years” when she took this job.
When the season started, that gave Brown a good idea of what her top priority would be as she dealt with a young team.
“It’s just building up those skills and the basic fundamentals,” she said.
The one thing Brown couldn’t really coach is the natural team chemistry that comes with players being together on a daily basis.
She said she knew she needed some strong leadership at the top. That’s why Sabrina Ferro and Grace Ammon were named captains almost immediately.
“I made them captains when I got hired in June, just because they had been on the hiring committee and had already been doing a lot of the grunt work while I wasn’t there,” Brown explained. “So, in the limbo of not having a head coach, I wanted to honor their hard work and dedication and have them lead the team.”
Upperclassmen ‘holding the fort’
On the field, goalie Shannon Hill, Nicole Egizi, Fresca Collett and Lee Gould are all also part of that upperclassmen leadership group that’s been showing the younger players how things are done.
“Those girls are holding the fort defensively,” Brown said.
For all the leadership of the upperclassmen, Brown also noted that several newcomers are making a splash. Notably, freshman Lindsay Brown had the game-tying goal against Wachusett on Sept. 8.