Field Hockey Captains Look to Lead the Porkers to State Championship

The+three+Field+Hockey+captains+pose+for+a+photo.

The three Field Hockey captains pose for a photo.

Matt Brownsword

The three Field Hockey captains pose for a photo.
The three Field Hockey captains pose for a photo.

There’s a new trend in sports: ever since the Celtics added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Paul Pierce and created the first modern Big Three, other teams followed suit, most notably the Heat, who’s Big Three of Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James has become bigger than the Three R’s of reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.

No team exemplifies the era of the Big Three better than Walpole Girls Field Hockey. Leading the Porkers towards their annual goal of winning the state championship, the three senior Captains Brooke Matherson, Ashley Waldron, and Lina Feeley are integral parts of the field hockey team–and have been for the past three years.

The three started their Field Hockey journey freshman year, being chosen to not only play on the team but assume important roles on a team that, as always, was looking to win a state championship. “Being the only three freshman on varsity was really intimidating,” said Waldron. “That rarely ever happens. This year we have [freshman Melanie Weber] playing an important role, but giving three freshman important roles on a senior oriented team was a little nerve-racking.”

However, Waldron became a starter at right-mid halfway through the season and continued to start in that position for sophomore year. Feeley had a similar path, starting at left wing freshman year, then moving to center back sophomore year and finally moving up to center mid for his junior and senior year.  Matherson played half the game at forward for her first two varsity years; now she plays the full game up top.

Waldron and Feeley command the central positions on the field–Waldron at center back–using their experience to control the entire field. “Being a senior, I’m definitely more calm and collected out there so I am able to guide the younger kids on the field as a captain,” said Waldron. From Waldron to Feeley to Matherson, each third of the field is covered by one experienced captain, leading the defense, midfield, and offense, respectively.

All three were Bay State League All-Stars for their sophomore and junior year, with Matherson winning the Bay State Most Valuable Player. The Porkers have dominated the Bay State League for as long as most people can remember, and the years with these three on the team have been no different. “There’s nothing these girls have not seen,” said Coach Marianne Murphy.

This year, the Porkers have gotten off to their characteristic strong start, giving up only three goals and scoring 50 goals on its way to an 11-0-1 start, their only blemish being against Andover. Beverley–ranked No. 11 in the boston.com Top 20 rankings–provided a close test to the No.2 Porkers, only losing 2-1 in a hotly contested match up. Also, the Porkers have had quality wins over No.20 Norwood and No. 13 Franklin, playing strong defense and finding the necessary offense. Normally, the Porkers wouldn’t have played teams of this caliber until later in the season or in the tournament, but because of the MIAA’s new Opt-Out Rule, the Porkers added two non-league Saturday games to the schedule after Braintree and Brookline opted out. “I like these scrimmages because they prepare us better for the competition that we’ll face in the tournament,” said Matherson. The Porkers hope that the increased competition in the regular season will help solve their postseason woes. The Porkers have not gotten past the EMass game since 2006, so they hope that playing tournament type games in the regular season will help them in the long run.

The Porkers have had a state championship drought for their standards, but this year’s team hope to overcome this block and get to and win the big game. “Our goal every year is to win the state championship,” said Matherson.

Waldron and Matherson have committed to Brown University and Boston College, respectively, for field hockey. Feeley has yet to decide on where she wants to go, but wants to play in college. “There’s such a good class of people who have come out of this program and have gone on to play in college. I’d like to experience that,” said Feeley.

However, all the focus for the three captains are on this season: “We need to take it one game at a time. We have to keep setting our goals high,”  said Waldron. Because if there’s one thing that this Big Three haven’t seen, it’s the state championship trophy. And that is what they are setting their sights on.