EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville's field hockey team celebrated the contributions of their eight-member senior class prior to their 3-2 overtime loss to St. Joseph's at Tiger Stadium Wednesday evening.
Amanda Berdick, Sarah Blume, Ansley Dorsey, Natalie Nava, Grace Ellis, Adrienne Kelley, Allie Hosto and Sophia Swalley and their parents were all honored in pre-game ceremony; senior players from St. Joe's were also introduced and honored during the ceremony.
For Tiger coach Jaimee Phegley, this year's senior class is a very special one – it's Phegley's first group of seniors since she joined the program as an assistant coach in 2014.
“This is a special group for me,” Phegley said. “They're my first group – they made me a field hockey coach four years ago. I'm emotional for them today and that's why I'm glad they still played well and I know they're upset for not winning.
“I am very proud of them and they've all been in the program for six-plus years (starting out with the middle-school program) playing through middle school and their four high school years and that's what we need to keep our program going.”
Every senior class is a special one, but for Phegley, this year's class is special because she started coaching the sport with this year's class as freshmen – and Phegley had never coached field hockey before she came to Edwardsville. “I started with them and they taught me the game,” Phegley said. “I didn't even know field hockey before I had them – the first field hockey game I had seen was the first one I coached, so they taught me a lot from the beginning; I was able to bring my experience from other sports and connect it together with what we're doing.
“They work hard and the majority of them play in the off-season and play on club teams and it shows that they're ready and I hope our girls that are coming up use them as an example how to be a strong team.”
For senior goaltender Blume, who has played field hockey for the past seven years, Wednesday's loss was disappointing, but the memories she has made with her teammates and friends will last a lifetime. “In middle school, I had nothing to do – I was just going to go home the first day of school,” Blume recalled, “but they said 'field hockey tryouts tomorrow', and I'm like 'I want to try that'.
“I went home and I told my mom and she was like, 'what Is field hockey?' Ever since then, I fell in love.”
Blume actually started out on defense before putting on the goalie pads. “I played one game against MICDS and I got hit in the knee,” Blume said. “In seventh grade, I started out as a keeper – I loved it. You look at some of my old pictures and my dad told me I looked like the Michelin Man.”
Blume has made many memories and friends over the years playing in the Edwardsville program. “I've been playing with them for seven years,” Blume recalled. “Even some of them in select – it breaks my heart that we have to leave each other. I'm very proud of every one of those girls. Good luck to Sophia (Swalley) and Allie (Hosto) in their careers in college.”
Blume plans on attending Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., after her graduation from EHS this May.
Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban