(Sept. 5, 2014) Amy Matthews was the Stephen Decatur JV field hockey head coach for one season before becoming an assistant varsity coach under Michelle Fluty for three years.
Being involved with the field hockey program and working with many of the girls for four seasons made the transition from varsity assistant to head coach for 2014 smooth and seamless.
“I learned a lot from Michelle. She was a good coach,” Matthews said.
The team runs some of the same drills and set plays as last year, but Matthews has incorporated some new things, as well.
“It’s a new experience and I really like [Matthews]. It’s kind of like a breath of fresh air having something new, but I’m going to miss [Fluty] a lot. She was a great coach,” said senior captain Emily Knopp “[Matthews is] very easy to talk to and very easy to be taught by. That’s what I real enjoy. There’s always room for improvement.”
Matthews, who played field hockey for Leonardtown High School and club ball at Salisbury University–she graduated in 2007– said she is a tough coach when she needs to be. She also likes to get input from her players about what they want to work on during practices.
“I want to make sure they have their stick skills down and they’re in shape,” Matthews said.
Ten of the 20 players on Matthews’ roster are veterans. Leading the Lady Seahawks will be senior captains and four-year players, Mallory Rolleston (2013 All-Bayside Conference Honorable Mention), who will play on the offensive line, and Knopp, a midfielder.
“It feels good to be able to help the younger girls out with playing the game, stick skills, being on a team and working together,” Rolleston said. “Our goals are to have fun, have a better record than last year, but mostly to improve because that’s all that really matters.”
Added Knopp, “I can kind of coach the younger girls and mentor them and give them a prospective of things since I’ve been in their shoes. We have a lot of work [to do], but I definitely think we have a good season in front of us. Our goals and expectations are for us to really just be united and for us to just try our hardest in the games and not [settle] for a tie or [loss] in a close game.”
Also returning is junior goalie Sophia Clemente, sophomore midfielder Sara Mitrecic and senior defender Brooke Davis.
Junior newcomer Olivia Kurtz will contribute on offense.
Matthews will count on the eight seniors to take leadership roles.
“They’re a good group of girls and they support each other,” she said.
The 2013 squad finished with a 2-11 record. The season ended with a 9-0 loss to Kent Island in the second round of the 2A South Region Section II division. The team graduated seven seniors, a majority of whom started.
Most of the veterans this year are returning on defense. While the defense will be strong, Matthews is trying to fill spots on the offense.
“We have a lot of new girls so we need to figure out the strongest player for each position,” Matthews said.
The first-year coach said she wants the Seahawks to work together and become more familiar with the game of field hockey.
“I want them to be more comfortable on the field in different situations and make good decisions,” she said. “I’m excited and nervous (about coaching), but it’s a good nervous. I’m ready to get started with games.”