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Nipmuc Field Hockey wants a DVC title New coach says team has what it takes

Marie Bruno follows through after driving the ball down the field. Courtesy photo

By Chris Villani

Rachel Robbins took the helm of the Nipmuc field hockey program this fall after spending four years as an assistant coach. Before the start of the season, she asked her players what their goals would be for the coming year.

Winning the Dual Valley Conference was at the top of the team’s list.

“They are very goal oriented and they really want to win that DVC title,” Robbins said. “It was something they came up with on their own and it’s a realistic goal for them.”

Nipmuc missed the postseason a year ago, but Robbins said the talent that she sees on the field in 2023 is more than enough to finish the year at the top of the league standings.

Sophomore standout Morgan Bieler is already garnering attention as one of the top players in the area and led the team in goals through the first quarter of the schedule.

Senior captain Elizabeth Lange and junior captain Lilah Allen help anchor the offensive midfield.

“They are powerhouse midfielders and a force on the front line,” their coach said. 

On the defensive side of the field, defensive midfielder Marie Bruno has been focused on leading the defense and making sure everyone is in the right position on the field to help out their goalkeeper. The goalie is doing her part as well. Sophomore Riley Collura only allowed one goal during her time playing for Robbins with the JV team and picked up right where she left off after making the jump to varsity. 

“In a game against Hopedale, they had 14 corners and only got one goal past her,” Robbins said. “She is a brick wall.”

Robbins said the transition to head coach has been seamless and exciting for her and the team. She said she is focused on building relationships among her players this fall, with an eye towards continuing to grow the program in seasons to come.

“The team has made it clear to me that they want to work together as one, and I feel that is where their strengths are,” Robbins said. “They trust each other, they know they can count on each other, and it’s up to me to help them cultivate the relationships on the field, in practice, and in school.”

Robbins said her team knows where it wants to be at the end of the year.

“I want to give them the tools to achieve that success,” she said.