On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 3, Wilton 8 Blue opened up the team’s final season with Wilton Youth Field Hockey (WYFH) by playing for the first time ever on Wilton High School’s Kristine Lilly Field.
The day’s play was structured as a jamboree-style format, with series of four 30-minute games. Facing off against New Canaan, Wilton established early offensive pressure and dominated the 30-minute game to win 3-0. Teams from Darien and Greenwich also participated in the jamboree.
WYFH officials called newfound ability to play on Lilly Field under the lights “the highlight” of the jamboree. The freshly painted field hockey lines are a culmination of a year-long effort led by Wilton Youth Field Hockey in conjunction with Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation (WARF), Wilton Parks and Recreation and support from Wilton Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith and Athletic Director Bobby Rushton.
Chandra Ring, who does double-duty as WYFH President and WARF Secretary, explained why having access to Lilly Field for games was important to both organizations.
“Players, parents and surrounding communities were thrilled to hear that we were lining Lilly for field hockey, allowing for maximum field utilization of the limited turf fields in Wilton, and for Wilton Youth Field Hockey to increase the number of home games we can host weekly at the youth level,” Ring said.
She also noted that hosting games on Wilton’s home turf brings people who live elsewhere into Wilton for positive effect — something that will happen again this weekend when WYFH once again hosts other teams.
Under rules set by the Fairfield County Youth Field Hockey League, Inc., all practices, warmups and games must be played on turf fields.
As a result of having access to a second field hockey field — WYFH also plays at Fujitani Field — Ring said the move will have an “immediate positive impact on the youth program as well as at the high school team.
“Wilton Youth Field Hockey [is] the feeder for the WHS program that has been the Class L runner up for the last two years. Lining Lily Field allows our field hockey athletes and their families access to a larger number of home games and training opportunities to feed players into the high school program to support the needs of a growing program,” Ring said.
She credited WARF and its mission of increasing collaboration across youth sports for “play[ing] a large part in making this happen.”