A team that was ranked eighth in the state. A team that made it to the quarterfinals at state, and only fell to the top seed. What sport comes to mind?
Seeing as this is a field hockey story, you probably guessed field hockey, and of course, you’d be correct. This Evanston team, led by coach Jenner Johnson, posted an 8-7 record and captured key wins like a 4-0 victory over Deerfield and a 3-1 triumph over Antioch. In the State tournament, the team made it all the way to the elite eight before falling to Lake Forest, the number one seed.
I talked to one of the players on the team, junior Anna Marks, about what she thought of this year’s successes.
“We have some great coaches to [learn] from, and really skilled girls [who are] ready to learn and improve from one another,” said Marks.
Clearly, the team’s chemistry played a huge factor in their accomplishments this year; Marks comments on the teamwork all of the players had and the bonds that they made with each other.
“When playing a team sport, teamwork and having a great connection with your teammates is key. I think we all bonded really well and that made the sport fun and encouraging,” Marks explained.
Since the IHSA does not officially recognize field hockey as a sport, it has always been considered a club at Evanston. After performing so well this season though, the school has decided to do away with that technicality.
“Evanston field hockey has just become an official sport at ETHS as opposed to being a club. I think with this label the girls playing will be more determined to perform at a higher level,” said Marks of what she believes this change will bring.
While the team had many great moments this season, Marks has one distinct favorite.
“There have been so many great moments with this team but one I will never forget was when we beat North Shore Country Day in our first round of playoffs. We all ran to our goalie to celebrate as a team.”
Starting this season as just a club and finishing it as a top team in the state, Evanston field hockey has certainly surprised a lot of people. With the help of unity, teamwork, and determination, this team was able to tear through the competition and came extremely close to State. This team is definitely not finished, and they look to become even better next season.