Philafieldhockey celebrates our top performing players, teams and winning coaches each week throughout the 2017. Week 8 honorees:
AOW: Quinn Maguire, St. Joseph’s University
DOW: Rory Williamson, Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy
SAOW: Katie Pappas, Drexel University
TOW: Methacton High School
WCOW: Daan Polders, Villa Maria
Week 8 featured story:
Watch any Villa Maria field hockey game and you’ll quickly pick up on a few things: The Hurricanes are a powerful team; the District One AA #1 seed is a team to be fearful of, deep in talent and highly disciplined. You’ll also notice the Hurricane’s coach – Daan Polders. Calm, composed, and confident in his team’s game plan. Daan is the calm before the storm.
Daan Polders – referred to by his team as just Daan – has lead Villa Maria to four back-to-back Catholic Academies League championships in as many years as he’s been at the helm. Since 2014, when the seniors were freshmen, the team has dropped only 2 CAA games and 4 non-league games. They have qualified for District One AA playoffs as the #1 seed every year under Daan’s wing, as well as advancing to the State tournament each season. In 2014 and 2015, they captured the District title and advanced to the State Finals – winning it all in 2014, his first year. Last year, they dropped in the quarterfinals.
2017 has been another banner year for Villa and Daan. Last week, Villa Maria wrapped up their regular season as CAA Champs and with a 16-1 overall record — the one loss coming in the first game of the season in non-league action. The Hurricanes have a handful of elite players who rank in the PhilaFH Top-10 Leaderboard, but it’s evident that the 11 players on the field – all in sync – are the key to Villa’s success. The Hurricanes average an incredible 7.41 goals per game (#2 on the PhilaFH leaderboard) and have allowed .80 goals per game. Teamwork and playing good hockey, Daan Polders preaches, is what wins games.
“Daan is a successful coach because the techniques he teaches for both offense and defense reflect a very team- oriented style of play,” said co-captain Lindsay Dickinson. “While we do have a very talented and skilled team, it is ultimately Daan’s vision that enables us to perform well against any opponent we face.”
Another hallmark of Daan’s coaching style, the players say, is not to fear making a mistake. “Our team is comfortable trying new plays and making errors in front of Daan. Instead of yelling at us when this happens, he always takes the time to talk with us about the mistake, and helps us create a game plan for the next similar situation. He constantly reminds us that mistakes are how we can grow as team and as a program, and that we can be more mentally strong the next time,” said co-captain Erin Zielinkski.
Despite his calm demeanor from the sidelines, which Dickinson notes as “a great leadership quality,” Daan is also quick to jump in on the team’s post-game antics, posing for selfies with his players and posting photos of the team’s now-famous whiteboard with the game-day results. He takes the game seriously but values the overall experience above all, his players say.
“I cannot begin to explain what I will miss about Daan and the team next year. Our team is extremely unique, and each person is equally important to our success – a mentality Daan always reminds us of,” added Zielinski. “I will miss our soccer game practices, our birthday popsicle celebrations, our crazy talent shows, our weird selfies, and most importantly, a coach that always believes in us, supports us, and motivates us to do our best.”
Daan’s Villa team shut-out Springfield (Delco), 6-0, in round 2 of Districts today. #PhilaFH
Winning Coach of the Week is sponsored by OPA Winning Teams.
Providing innovative and exciting team building workshops, seminars and retreats that will meet your specific objectives and goals.
Click here for the OPA Winning Teams website.
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