Chemistry sparking Hatboro-Horsham's run

Posted: November 08, 2013

Whether it's singing Miley Cyrus songs on the bus or upsetting top seeds in the district and state tournaments, the Hatboro-Horsham field hockey team has been making a lot of noise recently.

The singing is what third-year coach Laura Swezey said is a "pleasant" example of the chemistry that she points to as the catalyst for her team's recent upsets of some of the area's best squads.

For the players, singing as a team before and after games is a way to stay motivated and remain positive.

Senior cocaptain Carly Baldus "loves Miley Cyrus and is always like, 'Let's listen to Miley! Let's listen to Miley!' " senior cocaptain Jane Henry said. "So now we're, like, fine. We listen to her new album all the time. It gets us so excited."

Recently, the Hatters have had plenty to be excited about.

As the No. 14 seed in the District 1 Class AAA tournament, Hatboro-Horsham upset No. 3 Plymouth Whitemarsh and No. 6 Downingtown West before losing to No. 2 Central Bucks South in the semifinals.

The Hatters received the fourth seed from District 1 in the PIAA state championships and, on Tuesday, beat the top seed from District 12, Cardinal O'Hara, 2-0, to advance to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.

The Hatters will play West Chester Henderson, the No. 1 seed from District 1, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Wissahickon for a chance to advance to the state semifinals.

Hatboro-Horsham's string of upsets comes after a middling 9-5 season in the Suburban One League's Continental Conference, in which the Hatters finished third.

Asked how her team has been able to pull it off in the postseason, Swezey struggled to find an answer.

"I kind of don't know what to say," Swezey said. "The heart and intensity has always been there. They're just picking a great time to put it all together."

The two words Swezey used most in her explanation were consistency and chemistry. Consistency in that the Hatters were playing competitive field hockey all season in the top-of-the-line Continental Conference. Chemistry, she said, has been helped by the singing.

"When they get off the bus, they concentrate," Swezey said. "They know why they're there. They enjoy the game, and then when they get back on the bus, they're pleasant and happy and singing."

"Even if we lose, we're still singing. We're still a team," Henry said. "Even though we're sad, we try to keep our spirits up and get ready for the next game."

State update. Five teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania remain in contention for state championships in the Class AA and Class AAA tournaments after first-round play Tuesday.

West Chester Henderson and Hatboro-Horsham advanced in AAA, and No. 1 Upper Perkiomen and No. 3 Gwynedd Mercy from District 1 and top District 12 seed Archbishop Carroll advanced in AA.


jcranney@philly.com

@joey_cranney

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