After winning a state championship there is usually no way to go but down the following season – unless you are the Dexter field hockey team. The Dreadnaughts have already moved up this season – from Division 2 to Division 1 – after winning the school’s first state title in just its sixth year of competition.
This is the first in a series of Dexter HS sports preview stories for the upcoming Fall season.
But don’t think the tougher schedule will deter these Dreadnaughts from taking aim at the sport’s biggest prize. Repeating as state champions won’t be easy but Dexter will “stick” to the same goals as last year.
“We need to realize that Division 1 will present much different challenges to our team,” said coach Craig Flocken. “Each year the coaching staff makes adjustments to what is needed to be successful in the coming campaign. We have talent but that alone with not win our games, we need to play as a team on the field… especially with a more difficult schedule.
“If our players can make the coaching staff’s adjustments, if they can play within and execute the Dexter system, then we will be able to compete in Division 1.”
Dexter will face the top 14 field hockey teams in the state with nearly the same team that won it all in D-2 last year. This experience along with an impressive work ethic and leadership should pay off against these elite teams now on the schedule.
“Moving up in competition is always a challenge but Dexter has the framework present to handle what lies ahead in 2015,” Flocken said. “What remains to be seen is whether or not the team can harness their depth and talent in order to navigate the dangers of the state’s best teams. A mid-table finish would be considered great for any team moving up a division, but with the group Dexter is bringing up, the chance for something special in 2015 is not out of the question.”
The Dreads went 11-0-1 last year in D-2 and 18-4-1 overall. Flocken has built an incredible program in a short amount of time, posting a 57-28-8 record in the first six years.
Back from last year’s state champions are Emma Tamer (Mid/Jr), Kelly Stabler (F/Sr), Lexi Heath (Mid/Sr), Taryn Damm (Mid/Jr), Megan Niswonger (F/Jr) and Maddy Wood (Def/Jr).
Top newcomers include Marin Waddington (Mid/Soph) and Maeve Donevan (Def/Soph).
Dexter will have plenty of depth to turn to and help keep players fresh. They are deep in all positions on the field with multiple players being able to play different locations. The senior goalkeeping combo of Anna Love and Joy Hook returns along with their defensive unit which shut out Division II in 2014.
Experience and familiarity is another team strength.
“This group has basically been playing together for three years now,” Flocken said.
Scoring goals could be the key to success this season for the Dreads.
“Though the offensive unit is basically the same we had some trouble last season completing our offensive attacks compared to the number of opportunities which we created,” Flocken said. “This may present an issue for success against the defenses of Division 1.”