The Providence Day field hockey team had never played in the state championship game.
So when coach Miki Osherow and her team (14-5 last year) finally got to the final game last season and lost a 3-2, double-overtime thriller to Durham Academy, it was a bittersweet moment for the program.
“We were all happy to be there because it was our first time,” said Osherow, who has been head coach at Providence Day for seven years and has been with the program for 14 years. “But we were also very sad to lose, especially in double overtime. But even with the loss, we believe that we can get back there. It’s not a stretch or a dream anymore. It’s almost an expectation.”
Osherow has 12 upperclassmen back in the mix, including eight seniors, to build around.
All-state senior goalkeeper Meredith Clay will be a big factor as the anchor of the defense. The Chargers captain also became the first Providence Day field hockey player to commit to a Division I school, William & Mary.
Clay will have a lot of support in the back with all-state defender Stephanie Pham and junior Courtney Joyner.
All-state senior Kate Lorenz is back to direct the offense at center midfielder with help from junior Leigh Premo and Sarah Richman.
The Chargers are also loaded with offensive weapons up top with all-state forward Sarah Heacock leading the way. Heacock scored a school-record 19 goals last season and will try to break her record, with classmate Cassidy Greshko providing another scoring option at forward.
Osherow and Co. know it won’t be easy to get back to the state championship, with conference rivals and traditional powers Charlotte Latin and Charlotte Country Day eager to prove they are contenders.
“Every year, no matter, we know we are going to have to go through Country Day and Latin, and they are great teams and help make our conference the best in the state,” Osherow said.
Last season, the Chargers split with Country Day and lost both regular-season games to Latin before beating it in the state semifinals.
While Osherow and the Chargers will look to beat Country Day and Latin this summer and fall, they enjoy playing with many of their rivals on the Charlotte Ambush field hockey club, which Osherow started five years ago. The Ambush U19 squad, led by Osherow and featuring players from many of the area high school teams, finished 10th in the country in 2012.
For now, the Chargers will focus on what they hope is another championship run. This time, they hope to win it all.
“We are prepared for a battle every game,” Osherow said. “We want to show that we are the hardest-working team in the state.”
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