Three Berkshire teams will advance to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council’s championship tournaments this week.
Girls Soccer earned the No. 6 seed in the Class B tournament and will play No. 3 Suffield in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Bears (11-5 regular season) faced Suffield over Berkshire Parents’ Weekend in October and fell to the Tigers at home in a gritty game, 3-1. The rematch is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start at Suffield.
Boys Soccer will begin defense of their 2018 Class A championship as the No. 6 seed in a quarterfinal matchup against No. 3 seed Taft. Wednesday’s game at Taft begins at 2:00 p.m. The Bears (10-4-6 regular season) and Rhinos played a hard-fought match in mid-October when Berkshire dealt Taft the team’s only loss of the season, 3-2.
Field Hockey (8-8 regular season) will take on a strong Cushing Academy team on Wednesday afternoon after the Bears earned a No. 7 seed in the Class B tournament. The quarterfinal contest against the No. 2 seeded Penguins begins at 2:15 p.m. at Cushing.
“We are thrilled for, and proud of, our teams participating in the NEPSAC playoffs,” said Athletic Director Dan Driscoll. “The dedication, perseverance, skill, and teamwork they’ve displayed has provided them with a unique opportunity—the chance to play for a championship—that few ever have the opportunity to do. Go Bears!!!”
Q&A with Mark Gillon
Varsity Girls Soccer Coach
Q: What has been the key to the Bears’ winning ways this fall?
MG: They have enjoyed winning games and want to experience the winning feeling again and again, and know that it won’t happen without continued hard work, commitment to each other and ‘buy in’ to the team's philosophies. They have done a nice job staying focused and taking the season one game at a time, and have showed great resilience to bounce back when things didn’t go so well. Two heavy defeats back-to-back against Canterbury and Miss Porter’s were followed up with a crucial three-game win streak, and that is testament to their overall approach and mentality this season.
Q: You faced Suffield earlier this season. What do the Bears have to do to be successful on Wednesday?
MG: Suffield are a good side who have a strong athletic presence. They run hard and wear you down through sheer perseverance but also have some very skilled players. We will need to be organized and match their work rate, but also try to have sustained possession in order to control the tempo of the game and not get stuck in a game with lots of fast paced transitions.
Q: What are your long-term goals for the Bears?
MG: The team has had a good year, and win or lose on Wednesday, we will be happy with our season’s work. However, we will also conclude the fall knowing a winning season cannot be an anomaly for Girls Soccer, and this needs to be the foundation for returning Bears and incoming Bears to build a Girls Soccer program we can all be proud of.
Q&A with Heidi Woodworth
Varsity Field Hockey Coach
Q: The Bears are coming off of consecutive wins in the regular season. How does your team keep up the momentum?
HW: When we talk about our season, we always talk about peaking in November. We've had two great wins, but know that we have more in the tank. The goal is always to play our best field hockey as the season ends, and we are looking forward to proving to ourselves what we are capable of on Wednesday against Cushing.
Q: What kind of role will your senior leaders play as the Bears head into the playoffs, on and off the field?
HW: All of our team's success can be attributed to our wonderful group of seniors, who between the seven of them have played 23 seasons on the varsity field hockey team. They have set the tone all season in terms of energy, compete level, and a team-first attitude. It is because of them that the team came together so well at the end of the season, and they have been a big part of showing the underclassmen what true dedication can look like at Berkshire. They are a tremendous group of leaders, and they will be missed next year!
Q: Anything else Bears field hockey fans should know?
HW: It has been a true pleasure to coach this team this year. Mrs. Bogardus and I have loved every moment of it. This group has kept us on our toes, but they have also kept us (and each other) smiling and laughing along the way!