South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

OHS field hockey enters a season of change

OHS field hockey is ready to put their best foot forward
The Oakville High School girls field hockey team has been focused on fine-tuning stick skills and increasing awareness on the field under new head coach Jackie Neeley. Photo courtesy of the Mehlville School District.

It will be a season of change for the Oakville Tigers field hockey team in 2023.

Jackie Neeley has taken the reigns of head coach, going from refereeing for 18 years to now manning the sidelines for the Tigers.

“I anticipate a hurdle in transitioning from the mindset of a player and referee to a coach,” Neeley said. “So far, that transition has been very smooth thanks to the added coaching expertise of my friend and colleague, assistant coach Matt Schraut.”

Neeley credits Schraut’s knowledge in helping her adapt to her new role as coach.

“Matt brings to the table, many years of experience coaching soccer at OHS,” she said. “His diverse knowledge of drills and keen eye for positioning on and off the ball makes him a great fit to provide guidance as a field hockey coach.”

The Tigers went 2-12 last season but return a strong group of seniors.

Maddy St. John, Annalise Brown, Olivia Kramer, Rylee Rafferty and Chloe Housewright all return along with a large number of veteran juniors and sophomores.

Practice has been going well for the Tigers, as they prepare for the grind of the season schedule.

“We are structuring practice to focus on fine-tuning stick skills and increasing spatial awareness on the field to add to the competitive edge the girls have already established,” Neeley said. “The team is learning to utilize all of our natural talent as we have a great group of athletes.”

Neeley said she has seen a lot of positives so far in the start of the season.

“The girls have been very welcoming,” she said. “They have been kind, helpful and eager to learn new things. Their natural athletic ability has made for a very smooth transition for our new coaching staff.”

While coming off of a losing season can seem like a daunting task, Neeley said the team seems ready to compete with anyone.

“For the girls, they are resilient and can withstand any hurdles,” she said.

Neeley also said she isn’t necessarily looking at last season’s results because she

wasn’t the coach.

“I wasn’t the coach last season, so as far as I’m concerned, we analyze and self-reflect where we are now and challenge our athletes to put their best foot or stick forward,” she said.

As far as looking forward to some key games on the schedule, Neeley admitted she is looking forward to all the games, but there may be a couple that stand out on the schedule.

“On Sept. 15, we may have a fun coach’s duel,” she said. “We play St. Dominic at home and they are coached by my college field hockey teammate from Missouri State, Beckey Patterson. It will be a nice friendly rivalry. We are also looking forward to the game on Oct. 10 when we honor and celebrate our seniors.”

Oakville was scheduled to open the season Aug. 25 against Notre Dame High School, after The Call went to press.