Expectations high for Lindbergh field hockey

By Robert Chalupny

Lindbergh High School administrators last year agreed to a two-year trial run of girls’ field hockey, and after a solid year, both the school’s athletics director and the team’s coach are optimistic the program will continue.

Currently, as they begin the second year, the Flyers have 31 players split between a junior varsity, or JV, team and a “C” team.

The goal is to achieve a varsity program after this season, according to Lindbergh Athletics Director Scott Luczak.

“The goal in the two years was to maintain levels of interest as they compete with other schools in the area. Coach (Andrew) Shipp has done an excellent job, increasing numbers and making significant improvements in a short period of time,” Luczak told the Call. “I am hopeful to see us continue to grow into a varsity program next season.

“Field hockey offers girls another great option to compete in a fall sport. With enrollment numbers growing at Lindbergh, it is a great opportunity to enable more students a chance to participate in extracurricular activities. We have an outstanding coach to continue bringing high levels of interest in field hockey,” he added.

This season, the JV team will compete in the public school varsity tournament in October and will end the regular season with two varsity games.

The squad went 3-8-5 last year, which exceeded expectations for the first year, Shipp told the Call. Expectations are much higher this season.

“Our expectation is to be above .500 on our record overall on both levels … and we should be very competitive. We moved up kind of in our scheduling — we are playing middle- to upper-tier teams this year,” he said.

The Flyers have been working hard to improve, and Shipp cited their fitness level, noting running is a strength. His squad also has been focusing its efforts on stick handling.

“They are putting a lot of effort right now into stick skills, learning to become stronger ball handlers, and we should see that pay off when we start playing games and we can control the ball more than the team we are playing against,” the coach said.

Shipp also noted he feels good about the growth the program has seen since its inception and he, too, is optimistic about field hockey’s future at Lindbergh.

“We are on target to be picked up hopefully as a varsity program next year,” he said. “Last year, we started with 20 kids.

“This year, we have 31 kids, so we are seeing growth … I feel like we are on track to become a varsity program. We just need another round of growth from the middle school kids coming in.”