As the Dexter field hockey team was celebrating its first Division 1 State Title on Saturday – singing and dancing and cheering in the rain – co-head coach Trish Machemer must have had a flashback at some point.
“I think back on some of these girls when they were in third and fourth grade,” said Machemer earlier in the season. “The underlying vision for DFH is about them participating in sports and using field hockey as a mechanism for them to find their voice, build camaraderie and cooperation, and ultimately build confidence.”
The Dreadnaughts found their voice and used that camaraderie and cooperation to build incredible confidence in themselves and their teammates and were rewarded with the ultimate reward – the State Championship. Dexter knocked off Pioneer (Goliath in HS field hockey) 3-0 on Saturday before a large and drenched crowd at Chelsea High School.
This was Dexter’s second state title – they were D-2 champions in 2014.
“This was our Team X and it’s a very special group in not only their skill level but how they play together,” Machemer said on Saturday night during a team celebration. “We just wanted to go out there and play our game. Every team wants to win but it’s a matter of can you execute. I think we did a great job executing and playing together as a team and staying focused on each ball and supporting each other was what we set out to do and I think we did that.”
Abigail Tamer, who had two goals in the win over Pioneer, said that Team X won this trophy not only for themselves and the school but all the players who came before them who helped build the Dexter field hockey program into one of the best in the state.
“Even though we had a great season and were ranked No. 1 coming in and winning SECs, I felt like we were still the underdog because of Pioneer’s great history,” said Tamer. “So from that standpoint I think we might have wanted it more because there were so many great Dexter players that came before us and we were trying to validate all their hard work. Without those players who came before us this wouldn’t have been possible.”
It goes back to what the coach was talking about when these players were in third and fourth grade. They watched the Dexter field hockey program get built from the ground up through hard work and dedication. They just followed in their footsteps.
“I was trying to figure out who the underdog was before this game,” said Machemer. “We came in No. 1 but Pioneer has that history and has been here so many times. They know how to win this and we didn’t so from that sense I thought we were the underdogs even though we had the better season this year.”
Claire Vaughn, who is committed to Cornell University and one of Dexter’s captains because of her exceptional leadership skills, didn’t let the rain become an issue for the Dreadnaughts.
“The weather was the same for both teams so we just had to control what we could control and focus on our goals and what we needed to do,” she said.
While Dexter had to feel extra confident with a 3-0 lead at halftime, they still had to seal the deal and keep playing hard in the second half. Pioneer wasn’t going to just lay down and surrender.
“At halftime we kept stressing that all the hard work we put into this season was for this moment, the last half of the season,” Tamer said. “All the work we did was going to pay off in the second half and we needed to keep pushing and playing hard.”
The Dreadnaughts accomplished everything they set out to do this season and put Team X on the map forever. The new Goliath!