The Player Perspective: FHS Field Hockey Captains speak on 16-1-1 Regular Season

filmed by Ryan Martin


Franklin Field Hockey’s Senior Captains, Kaitlyn Carney (#2) and Shaw Downing (#21), mid-game at North Attleboro (via FHS Smug mug)

Ryan Martin, Editor

The regular season has come and gone for Franklin Field Hockey. Following an 11-0 shutout of Milford last week, the Panthers completed their regular season with an impressive 16-1-1 record.


Of those wins, the Panthers went 15-0-1 in league play, furthering their eye-popping streak of consecutive matches unbeaten in league play: 62 straight games without a loss. Franklin did so while logging 129 goals this season, 51 more scores than 2nd-highest Canton, while only allowing 15 goals on the year as they shut out their opponents on 12 separate occasions.


Amidst all the impressive stats, Franklin field hockey has found success this season by playing with unmatched chemistry on the pitch. As they prepare for their impending playoff matchup, I caught up with FHS field hockey senior captains Shaw Downing and Kaitlyn Carney to learn more about how the unit’s bond has led to tallies in the win column.


Ryan Martin: A 16-1-1 campaign this year comes after a regular season last season where you guys finished 17-1; the expectations coming off of last year were certainly there, and you guys seemed to answer the bell. How was Franklin FH able to have such a winning year once more? Did either of you guys feel the pressure from last season carry into this year?


Shaw Downing: I strongly believe we as a team were able to have a successful campaign again this year because of our team culture. We all became one and have learned how to balance hard work while also bonding and having fun as a team. Everyone is accountable for staying positive and keeping the team up. I feel like the pressure from last year wasn’t really a factor this year because I knew from the start that our team was capable of all the success we have had


Kaitlyn Carney: Similar to Shaw, team culture is a strong value of ours. This year we have focused on being one family on and off the field. I believe this has really helped our program over the years grow. Hard work is also something that we hold very well. With our quote this year being “earned not given”, our goal is to try and go further than last year and break Franklin Field Hockey history. 


RM: Speaking of last season, you guys entered the playoffs as the #4 seed in Division 1, winning three playoff games before losing in the state semi-finals to #1 seed (and eventual champion) Andover. Coming off that loss, this year has been dubbed “The Revenge Tour”. What does that title mean to Franklin FH? Even though you guys have won so much recently, does the team feel like they play with a chip on their shoulder from last year?

FHS FH Senior Captain Shaw Downing runs the ball out of the net after scoring vs. Milford. Downing finished the game with three goals and an assist (via FHS Smug mug)

SD: The seniors created this title in the first week of tryouts because we knew what we were capable of doing as long as we worked hard for this success and I feel like we are achieving the title of “The Revenge Tour”. I don’t feel like we as a team have really felt that we haven’t lived up to that goal from last year because we are proving every day that we are capable of doing everything we did last year over again. Last year feeds our motivation to go even further this year. 


KC: After falling short to a very talented Andover Field Hockey team in the state semi-finals of 2021, we have learned greatly and are ready to take on the playoffs this year. As part of the motto this year being “Revenge Tour”, all of us are ready to push as hard as we can to achieve our goal of being the first Field Hockey team of Franklin Highschool to take home the trophy


RM: One big reason why Franklin FH clinched their 4th straight Hockomock League Title this year was because of the chemistry you guys showed on the pitch this year. It felt like everyone was on the same page, but not only veterans: a lot of freshmen and sophomores were getting it done in quality minutes. With both of you being on the varsity team as underclassmen, how important has it been to Franklin FH over the years to have younger girls on the field early? How impactful were the underclassmen to this team’s success this season? 


SD: I feel like having underclassmen on a team is huge for a few reasons, one being that they are able to bring different styles of play and energy to the team. Secondly, they are able to grow and learn how the team and high school sport works from the upperclassmen which they can then pass on to the underclassman after we graduate. The underclassman this year truly helped hold us together as many of them are starters on the field and play a big role. 


KC: Coming off of last year with multiple freshmen starting and playing most of the games, it has helped everyone grow and mature as a team. Having underclassmen on the team allows them to experience the pressures at a young age to better impact the program as a whole. Not only do they learn from us, but we also learn from them and I think that is what is so important. 


RM: The two losses over the last two regular seasons have both come against the same Walpole team. This season specifically- you guys lost 6-2 at their place last week after going undefeated in your first 14 games. As captains, what did this team learn from the loss to Walpole this year? With playoffs now here, do you feel like you’re now a better team having learned from that loss?


SD: I feel like our biggest takeaway from this year’s game against Walpole was how to play as a team and hold our own. We held them at a one-goal difference until the last 9 minutes of the game. Going into the playoffs, we have learned that if we work for it and all come together we are capable of [winning the championship].


FHS FH Senior Captain Kaitlyn Carney tracks the ball down against Milford. Carney finished the year with 57 points, which helped her become the first Panther ever to score 100+ career goals (via FHS Smug mug)

KC: After the loss against Walpole, all of us held our heads high because we know we fought hard. Of course, there was a lot to take away from the game for us to improve on for playoffs, but I think that having this loss under our belts before heading into the playoffs really benefited us. We all know we are capable of winning and succeeding as a team. 


RM: Finally, as we look towards the playoffs, Franklin FH is set up for another deep playoff run as likely the 5th (ish) seed in Division 1. What will be the most important aspect of Franklin’s game if you guys want to make it all the way this year? With Andover and Walpole both poised to make deep runs themselves, are you guys hoping to possibly continue the “Revenge Tour” by rematching those powerhouses late in the tourney?


SD: The most important aspect I feel is realizing our capabilities and staying together to fight for the win. I do hope to face both teams again because I know that we can do it as long as we all step on the field with a positive mindset and the goal to win. 


KC: With Andover and Walpole being very strong and talented teams, it has allowed us to push harder to be like them and understand what we are really capable of. With all of us being one family, we understand how to have each other’s backs and have a positive mindset on and off the field.


FHS Field Hockey will start its playoff run tomorrow. As the number five seed in the division one tournament, Franklin will host #28 Barnstable from the Beaver Street Field at 3:45 PM.