You lost to graduation one of the greatest players in school history, twice player of the year Erika Kelly – now a freshman starter at Division II Stonehill College – an all-star in the midfield, Lauren Giordano, and your starting netminder, Kayla Costa, who all helped bring three straight field hockey state titles to Watertown High School.
So what does Watertown's coaching legend Eileen Donahue do? Rebuild? How about reload.
Through its successful feeder system that begins with introductory instruction to elementary school-aged girls, the Red Raiders has a continuing pipeline of talented young players coming up to restock an already impressive team.
And it was just one of those youngsters, freshman Michaela Antonellis, who scored from the side of the goal with 27 second left in the first half against Belmont High School which matched up with senior Jane Grzelcyk's tally seven minutes into the game gave the Red Raiders (1-0-0) a 2-0 win in the season opener for both teams at Harris Field in Belmont on Friday, Sept 7.
The win continues the Red Raiders' consecutive win streak at 70.
Led by senior captains Alyssa Carlson and Lauren Sutherland, Watertown's talent dominated the young Belmont forwards – Belmont lost 13 seniors from last year's team that nearly defeated the Raiders in the North Sectional finals – although the Marauders' backline of junior Kendel Brown and seniors Maddy Devine and Natalie Alpert did frustrate the quick and experienced Watertown players including sophomore Kayla Johnson whose skills were on show throughout the game.
But it was in the midfield that Watertown showed its experience with sophomore midfielder Allie Doggett – who started on last year's state champs – and Sutherland anchoring the middle of the field. New goaltender Maddie Rocklin only had three penalty corners and two shots to contend with, easily pushing aside a second half tester by Belmont.