The field hockey team hopes to speed all the way to Columbus this fall.
Shaker is 7-3-1 going into its last four games, and head coach Hillary Anderson’s high expectations are coming true. She is confident of the Raiders’ chances.
“The goal is to make it down to states,” Coach Anderson said. “This is one of the years we can do it.”
Shaker field hockey finished 9-5-3 and reached district finals last year. Anderson expected their hard offseason work to pay off, and she hoped they’d be in the position they stand in today.
The team is built around a strong core of seniors, including Michigan State recruit Kendal Anderson.
“We have improved so much from this last year and even from the beginning of the season,” Kendal said. “Our strength on the field is defense, but off the field we all love being with each other.”
According to Coach Anderson, Shaker’s speed creates the biggest threat for opponents and is the focal point of the strategy she employs this year.
The team completed an intense off-season training program that sometimes got them out of bed at 6 a.m. Over the summer, each player followed prescribed workouts detailed in a book. The program required a lot of endurance and conditioning work, including interval training known as Fartlek runs.
Fartlek runs comprise a number of sprints and slow jogs. However, unlike most interval training methods that change pace after specific measured segments, Fartlek training is unstructured and intervals are based on how the body feels.
The summer effort seems to have unified the team.
“This year I feel that we all share team chemistry that many teams we face don’t share and I’d say it definitely gives us an edge,” senior Alexa Steiber said. “Everything has been working well on and off the field between all of us.”
Coach Anderson sees it, too. “The overall team camaraderie has been the best it’s ever been,” she said.
The Raiders encountered a bump in the road to Columbus Sept. 27 when they lost to Hathaway Brown 2-1. Senior Tia Morrison scored a goal in the second half to answer HB’s two second half goals; however, Shaker failed to complete the comeback.
In Shaker’s remaining three games against Cleveland Heights, Western Reserve Academy and Hudson, Coach Anderson expects the team to become more forceful in their attack following their three losses. Anderson and Steiber both believe the road ahead is promising as the Raiders continue their journey to their goal, making it to the state championship.
“I had and still have high expectations,” said Kendal Anderson, “and I think we could very easily go to states.”
A version of this story appeared in print on 3 October 2012, on page 11 of The Shakerite.