NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

October 23, 2012

Port field hockey team inspired by coach

AMESBURY — Newburyport field hockey coach Lauren Hefferan implored her players to push themselves through pain and fatigue last night in honor of all who have fought breast cancer during a game against Pentucket

Hefferan knows the pain and fatigue associated with breast cancer well. She is in remission after being diagnosed and treated for the disease in the last year.

Hefferan’s players answered her call, earning a 2-0 victory over Pentucket at Amesbury Sports Park in the annual Play 4 the Cure game, a benefit for the Susan Komen Foundation for breast cancer research.

“Our fight for this game was all about (Hefferan),” said Newburyport captain Kate McCauley, who scored the first goal. “She’s in remission now. She’s a survivor. I think that really drives me to play hard, to push myself. She was telling us, ‘Push yourself past fatigue. Play with everything you have.’ She inspires me personally.”

Hefferan was diagnosed with breast cancer early last fall, just at the start of the field hockey season. She chose to continue working as the head field hockey coach, only missing an occasional practice for a doctor’s appointment. The schedule was draining, but she gathered energy from her players, who repeated as Cape Ann League Division 1 champions with a 16-2-2 record.

“The speech before the game was for the girls to dig down deep,” Hefferan said. “If they were tied or couldn’t breathe, push through it. The people who have been through the fight with breast cancer have been through a lot worse. Dig down deep with courage and strength.”

This season, the Clippers are again tourney bound with a record of 11-2-2. They sit in second place behind Masconomet (15-0-2) in the CAL Division 1 standings.

Those two teams will square off tomorrow (3:45 p.m.) at Amesbury Sports Park.

“Masco’s ahead of us,” Paige Hefferan said. “They’re undefeated. We want to beat Masco, maybe bring them down a little bit, too. And we want to stay where we are.”

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