‘Moving in the right direction’

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

King's Fork sophomore left midfielder Rachel Gist takes a shot on goal during practice last week. Gist is one of head coach Courtney Parmeter's go-to players this year. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

King’s Fork girls set achievable goal for season

The King’s Fork Lady Bulldogs field hockey team has been reborn this season under the guidance of new coach Courtney Parmeter.

It will take time to be among the elite teams in the area, but at 3-7 overall and 1-5 in the district through Monday, they have already improved on last year’s team.

“We’re getting a lot better, and we’ve come together as a family,” sophomore right forward Randi Fiel said.

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“We can thank Coach for that,” center midfielder Kana Hashigami said. “She’s really been a big part of our success of the season.”

It is Parmeter’s first year coaching field hockey at the high school level, but she has been coaching the sport since she was 13. In that time, she has developed an approach to coaching that requires significant conditioning and commitment from players.

And she’s been pleasantly surprised by her team’s positive reaction to that regimen.

“I’m really strict, and I was surprised that more girls didn’t leave,” she said. “When they stayed, that’s when I knew that I had a good group of girls that I could work with and girls that wanted to actually learn.”

Fiel and Hashigami are a couple of Parmeter’s standouts. So is sophomore left midfielder Rachel Gist. Gist saw a clear contrast in the team compared to her freshman year.

“It was a lot different from last season,” she said. “We weren’t used to being pushed this hard, but it’s definitely helped us. And I think we really want it this year and (Coach Parmeter’s) helped us realize that we can get it, we have to work hard to get it.”

King’s Fork has won games against Heritage, Woodside, and Indian River high schools. Parmeter did not come in with unrealistic expectations, but rather hoped to gradually establish a successful program. Her goals for this season reflect that.

“I wanted to win four games,” she said. “That was my goal. I don’t know if I’m going to meet it; I would love to.”

With six games remaining, the possibility is certainly there. The girls almost had that fourth win Wednesday against Grassfield.

“We played in double overtime and lost 1-0 at the end there,” Parmeter said. “But it was a good game. They played really well.”

This Lady Bulldogs team features six juniors, five sophomores and no seniors.

Some of the strong play can be attributed to the quick learning of players who were relative beginners, like sophomore left defender Lexus Mills.

“She has made tremendous growth; it’s insane,” Parmeter said. “She started off the season thinking that defense was playing a second goalie and (now) she’s like my most consistent defender on the field.”

With the remainder of the season, Parmeter hopes to establish consistency on a mental level. Some games the team shows a clear desire to play, she explains, and sometimes it doesn’t.

“And it’s frustrating, because it’s not that they don’t know what to do, it’s not that they can’t do it,” she said. “I see them do it and they do it well. It’s just when they get out there, there’s some disconnect to doing what they actually need to do.”

She took hope, however, in the possibility that the marked improvement players displayed during the recent Grassfield game was a major landmark in the season.

“It very well could be a sign that, ‘Hey, we’re moving in the right direction,’” Parmeter said.