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High school field hockey notebook

At Joseph Case, Megan Smith’s unrelenting work ethic in field hockey has made her an honor student of the game

Megan Smith (No. 1, center), a senior captain on the Joseph Case field hockey team, splits Fairhaven's defense during the first half of a 4-0 victory on Tuesday. Smith scored the first three goals for the No. 19 Cardinals (2-0).Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Megan Smith is athletic, which translates well on the field hockey field. But she also has a relentless desire to work hard.

“One of my coaches told me, ‘If you work harder than anyone else, it doesn’t matter if they have more skill, you can succeed,” said Smith, a senior captain on the Joseph Case field hockey team.

It was a piece of advice that proved true when Smith was the starting center fielder, and leadoff hitter, in Case’s run to the Division 4 softball championship in June. And she has taken the same mantra to her leadership role for the field hockey team, ranked 19th in this week’s Globe Top 20.


Smith, the Globe’s reigning Division 4 Player of the Year, holds the program’s single-season record for goals (36), set last fall. She tallied the first three goals for Joseph Case (2-0) in a 4-0 win over Fairhaven on Tuesday.

Committed to Bryant University, Smith has propelled the Cardinals to back-to-back tournament appearances, including a 19-2 finish last fall.

Once again, Case returns a talented squad. Smith’s determination puts Cardinals over the edge.

“She not only wants to do well as an individual player, but she wants the team to do well,” said Case field hockey coach Kacie Martel. “She has helped take this team to the next level.”

‘She has a good knowledge of the game and brings it to practice.’

Case field hockey coach Kacie Martel, on senior captain Megan Smith

Practice sessions at school, in addition to her Allegiance club team, and on her own have helped develop her stick skills. She also has tasked herself with becoming a great student of the game.

“I have become a lot better at seeing how plays develop,” Smith said.

“She has a good knowledge of the game and brings it to practice,” said Martel. “Yes, she is the player and I am the coach, but there are things I learn from her as well.”


Her work ethic comes with high expectations. Managing those expectations is something both Martel and Case softball coach Shannon Silva work on.

“Oftentimes, when asking Megan to try something new or implement something we haven’t done before, we have to remind her that she is not going to be perfect every single time,” said Silva. “But that’s what Megan expects of herself.”

It helps that Smith is an eager learner, because field hockey was not her first sport. A serious softball player in her early years, she picked up field hockey in middle school.

“I didn’t even know that the sport existed until junior high,” said Smith. “Case had a waiver that allowed seventh and eighth graders to play. I decided to try it and I fell in love with it.”

It quickly trumped softball as her top sport, and for a rather intrinsic reason.

“I just love the speed of the game,” said Smith. “I played a lot of softball growing up, and it moves very slowly. You can think about mistakes. In field hockey, you just have to move past them because the game moves so fast.”

Case’s Megan Smith (left), a Bryant University commit, battles Fairhaven's Gabriella Olmeda,(right) for control of the ball during the Case's 4-0 victory on Tuesday. “I knew when she was playing on our JV team that she was something special,” said Case field hockey coach Kacie Martel of Smith.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

It was evident immediately that Smith’s mind-set was the perfect match for field hockey.

“I knew when she was playing on our JV team that she was something special,” said Martel. “She is all business. She works hard every single day and she always wants to be better.”

Due to poor weather, Smith has had a lot of time to work hard in practice this fall Case played its second game on Tuesday. Once the Cardinals do take the field, Smith has two distinct goals for her senior season.


“I would like us to score in every game,” said Smith. “I would also like us to make the tournament again so I can say we made it every year I could, minus the COVID year.”

Case advanced to the Division 4 Round of 16 in 2021, and one round further in 2022. This fall, she’d like to take it another step.

No matter, her legacy will last: a softball state title, at least one school scoring record in field hockey, ranked third in her class academically. The only way to hit that trifecta? Hard work.

“Her work ethic on and off the field is going to be what takes her so far no matter what career path she chooses,” said Silva.

Free hits

▪ Historically, Revere has struggled to keep up with larger squads. But first-year coach Alex Butler is determined to grow the program.

The Patriots (1-2) started the preseason with 15 athletes, but now is up to 20. Broken down by class, Revere’s roster includes three freshmen, six sophomores, two juniors, and nine seniors. And Revere does not field a junior varsity team.

“Field hockey is definitely not the most popular sport in our district, so numbers have always been a battle,” Butler said.

After drilling the basics of passing and positioning, Butler and the Patriots earned their first win, 6-0, against Northeast Metro. Many of the young students Butler encounters have never heard of field hockey, she said. Her goal is to focus on the long term: providing foundational knowledge at the youth level.


“I would really like to work on getting a feeder program in Revere,” Butler said. “Just to show [younger students] what the sport is, for them to get a stick and play around and get a feel, so when they get to high school, it’s an option that’s on their mind.”

▪ In the preseason, Westwood interim coach Emily Taylor asked her team to set a series of goals. Continuing the winning tradition wasn’t the top priority. Teammate support and energy were.

“It sounds kind of cheesy, but when a team is enjoying themselves, enjoying the sport and enjoying being with each other, that’s when they play the best,” Taylor said. “That’s when every single person can play to their fullest potential.”

Taylor, is leading the squad in the absence of Heather Joyce, who is on maternity leave.

Led by senior captains Katie Krumsiek, Katelyn Fay, Julia Kustwan, and Ava Kelly, the Wolverines (3-2) havehave tweaked their formations and strengthened their midfield presence — changes that the team has adapted to perfectly.

“Effort has never been a problem on this team,” Taylor said. “I’m really proud of how hard the girls are working every practice, every game.”

▪ This week, the field hockey team and the other varsity programs at East Bridgewater are encouraging their fans to wear green in support of Active Minds East Bridgewater, an organization that raises awareness for mental health.


Games to watch

Wednesday, Monomoy at Falmouth, 4 p.m. — The No. 18 Sharks travel to face a Cape & Islands rival in the Clippers.

Thursday, Masconomet at Danvers, 4 p.m. — Led by Bobbi Serino, the No. 8 Falcons are on a four-game win streak, but No. 12 Masco (3-1-0) poses a threat to their Northeastern Conference foes.

Friday, Walpole at Norwood, 4 p.m. — Top-ranked Walpole remains the team to beat, but with only four goals against in five games, No. 11 Norwood will be a tough road test.

Friday, Hingham at Sandwich, 4 p.m. — No. 17 Hingham is off to a 2-0-1 start, but fifth-ranked Sandwich (4-0), last year’s Division 3 runner-up, has outscored foes, 22-1.

Monday, Central Catholic at Chelmsford, 5:30 p.m. — Two top squads in the Merrimack Valley Conference face off as No. 14 Chelmsford hopes to end the Raiders’ unbeaten streak.

Correspondent Julia Yohe contributed to this story.

Kat Cornetta can be reached at