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Raquel Reis dedication to fitness is already paying off for New Bedford field hockey – SouthCoastToday.com

Posted: October 8, 2020 at 4:51 pm

No matter how much her teammates complained, Raquel "Rocky" Reis wasnt going to let them slow down.

It was still summertime, and the senior knew one thing would be paramount in the upcoming high school field hockey season: Stamina. So she was going to make sure New Bedford was the best-conditioned team each it time it took the field.

Thus, captain's practices this summer not only featured masks and social distancing, but a maniacal focus on running.

They would get a little annoyed by me with all the running, Reis laughed after scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 road win over Bishop Stang on Wednesday. They were like What are you doing? This is summer! And I was like Were going to be tired during the season!

Reis, a defender, enjoyed the fruits of that offseason work when she snagged a takeaway around New Bedfords own 25-yard line, then carried it the length of the field before sniping a shot from just inside the arc with 7:38 left in the third quarter.

Raquel is a great athlete. She has great skills. She has speed, said New Bedford coach Kathy Rezendes. When there was an opportunity to move up and switch, she did that and put the ball in the goal.

Reis ability to play from end line to end line might be one of the most important skills a player can posses this season, with teams playing 7 on 7 instead of the traditional 11 on 11.

Thats huge, said Bishop Stang coach Kara Caron. If you can run from one end of the field and not be completely exhausted by the time you get there and still have the energy to make something happen in the circle? Thats awesome."

Thats why Rezendes doesnt feel like she's wasting someone with Reis speed on her back line. In past years Reis played a center defender position that saw her playing up offensively with regularity. With only two defenders in the Whalers 2-2-2 alignment, now she has to carefully pick and choose her spots to attack without leaving the defense shorthanded.

I have her on defense because of all her attributes, Rezendes said. She can get back and clear out the ball. Not many balls get by Raquel.

Reis ensured she would into the season in tip-top shape with an offseason packed with Crossfit-style workouts in the small gym she has at home, in addition to regular running.

We were preparing to be very tired and very fatigued, she said. Conditioning was going to be important.

Reis feels like the fast-paced style brought on by the wide-open fields feeds right into New Bedfords strengths. Through two games, the Whalers are 2-0, havent allowed a goal and have put a combined 34 shots on net in wins over Stang and Durfee.

For us, thats what we like, Reis said. None of us have been playing field hockey for all of our lives. Were athletes who started playing field hockey in high school. Keeping that fast pace, constantly running and staying in shape is a benefit to us.

Caron felt her team was prepared for New Bedfords indomitable energy, but in the end the Whalers talent edge was too much to overcome in a game the Spartans were out-shot 17-2.

(New Bedford) has a lot of energy and they keep going and they dont get tired, Caron said. We knew that. We were ready for that. Our three defensive players have played together for a few years now and I feel like they knew what to expect.


The two most significant changes to field hockey were the reduction in players on the field and the elimination of corners, which eliminates some of the best scoring chances in a given game.

No corners is a disadvantage because you have to pull it all the way out to the 25, Rezendes said.

The Spartans have played three games thus far and have started to develop a few strategies.

You really have to be on point with your passing and communicating because you dont have a lot of players out there, Caron said. You dont have as much reinforcement. You have to be aware and on point and communicating.

"Its been an adjustment to go 7 on 7 instead of 11 on 11, said Rezendes, whose team was in the midst of a three-games-in-three days stretch to open the season. We were a little more fatigued today, but I have good depth and I have players who can rotate in and out. My goal is to keep a fresh seven in there and push the ball as much as we can. So far, weve been doing that."

But considering how bleak the prospect of a season appeared just months ago, everyone is relieved to be simply be playing.

There was a point in the summer I was pretty set it wasnt going to happen, so I was very happy when they announced, Reis said. It just wouldnt have felt right. It wouldnt have felt like a full circle without getting my senior season. Im glad we get to play.


As well as the season has started for the Whalers (2-0, 1-0 Southeast Conference), their one struggle has been offensive efficiency. On 34 shots on net, New Bedford has just three goals.

Weve played against two great goalies these past two days, Reis said. To finally get the ball to sneak past felt good. It was refreshing.

Stang junior Maddie Kippe did, in fact, have an excellent game in front of the cage. She turned away all nine shots she faced in the first half and finished with 16 stops.

Maddie has been working really hard, Caron said. She plays field hockey year-round and she was ready. She knows they are a good offensive team. She was definitely ready.

Considering the quality of their opponents, Rezendes isnt worried about her team's scoring ability.

Were working really hard, she said. Weve had a lot of scoring opportunities. Weve been firing them on goal. Its not like we havent had shots. It's just a matter of putting them in the goal."

WHAT IT MEANS: New Bedford improves to 2-0 (1-0 Southeast Conference) while Bishop Stang falls to 1-1-1 (1-0-1 Catholic Central League). The Whalers played at Brockton on Thursday to cap a string of three games in 72 hours. The Spartans host St. Marys on Saturday.

REIS ON SCORING HER GOAL: It was definitely a relief once you get that goal to go up one. But I always tell the girls we have to play scared the whole time. Play like youre behind one goal. Once we did finally put one away, in my head I felt a little better, but that doesnt mean Im not going to play until the very end.

Raquel Reis scores midway thru 3rd quarter to put New Bedford up 1-0 on Bishop Stangpic.twitter.com/dTuYISoHW4

ALMOST A LEAD: The Spartans appeared to get on the board first with 4:30 left in the first quarter, but an apparent goal by Sara Pereira was waived off because she shot from outside the 25.

WHAT A START: New Bedford freshman goalie Lauren Mitchell made two saves for her second shutout in as many varsity starts. Mitchell is one of Mayor Jon Mitchells two daughters who play on the team, along with senior forward Natalie Mitchell.

Follow Brendan Kurie on Twitter @BrendanKurieSCT

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Raquel Reis dedication to fitness is already paying off for New Bedford field hockey - SouthCoastToday.com

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