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A Stopper Leaves Her Shell: Hartford’s Loseby Matures Into a Top Goalie

  • Hartford goalie Rachel Loseby leads her team in congratulating their Woodstock opponents on a hard fought win in White River Junction, Vt., Thursday, October 13, 2016. Loseby, a Hartford High School senior is also a captain of the field hockey team. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • With help from teammates Emily Ballou, top middle, and Michaela Ricker, right, Hartford goalie Rachel Loseby blocks a shot by Miranda Johnson, of Woodstock, left, Field Hockey hosts Woodstock in White River Junction, Vt., Thursday, October 13, 2016. Woodstock won 1 - 0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Rachel Loseby



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hanover — Hartford High field hockey goalkeeper Rachel Loseby is prone to crying after giving up goals. It’s part of what makes her such an important piece to this year’s Hurricanes team; Loseby, one of the Hartford’s senior captains, takes every shot that gets past her personally.

Luckily, goals against Hartford don’t happen very often.

Loseby and the Hurricanes have allowed just eight scores over 13 games this season, second to South Burlington in VPA Division I, and have outscored opponents by a 16-goal margin. On Sunday, Loseby was named the Marble Valley League’s goalie of the year for the third straight season, an honor that the soft-spoken Loseby called “surreal.”

“I’m used to being really quiet, being in the background,” Loseby said during Hartford’s practice on Monday night at Hanover High, her team ranked third in the D-I bracket with a 9-3-1 record. “I don’t really believe it. I try not to think about it in games.”

For second-year Hartford coach Heath Haskell, having Loseby’s aggressive goalkeeping as a stop against opposing offenses has been a difference-maker.

“She likes to be a ground goalie,” Haskell said. “She likes to slide tackle and attack that way. That’s more like turf playing. No one really does that in Vermont. No one gets that aggressive. So when other teams get breakaways, they’re thinking, ‘Oh yeah, this is a goal.’ With Rachel, it’s not.

“She puts a lot of pressure on herself to not let the team down,” Haskell added. “I think she’s definitely the backbone of our entire team.”

Haskell described Loseby’s playing style as aggressive; Loseby called it messy. In reality, it’s a mixture of both — a kind of controlled chaos in the circle that involves charging at opposing goalscorers and staying tight to the ground to avoid anything sneaking past her.

However chaotic it may seem, Hartford’s defenders say it works.

“She’s always really positive,” said Hartford defender Stefani Wagar. “She’s kind of the quiet one. … Heath kind of gets annoyed because he’s like, ‘Rachel, you need to talk and let the defense know what’s going on.’ … I’m kind of used to it by now. I feel more comfortable knowing that she’s behind me in goal, knowing that she is so amazing.

“Just watching her make all these crazy,” Wagar added. “She stops the craziest shots.”

The Hurricanes remembered one save in particular on Monday night like it was yesterday. On Sept. 17 against Otter Valley, Loseby came out to stop a breakaway that an Otter Valley attacker tried to lift and chip over Loseby’s non-stick side. The Hartford senior dove and made, Haskell said, one of the more memorable stops he’s ever seen.

“The two officials stopped and said, ‘That’s the best save we’ve ever seen,’ ” Haskell said. “Even the Otter Valley coach was clapping.”

Loseby started playing field hockey in third grade and picked up goalkeeping almost immediately, though the position didn’t appeal to her at first.

“I’ll be honest: I really didn’t want to run,” Loseby said with a laugh, noting that goaltenders in field hockey tend to be excused from most of the sprinting drills in practice.

In middle school, Loseby started to get the hang of the position, using her pads and her body to create angles, to cut off lanes to the goal. When she reached the high-school level, shooters became even tougher and the shots Loseby faced were faster and more difficult to track. She started her freshman season on varsity and quickly realized she was a natural.

“Freshman year is when it really hit me,” Loseby said. “I went from seventh-graders shooting on me, kind of just dribbling in, to juniors and seniors taking flicks and stuff. It was a huge difference. That’s when I think I really started to progress.”

Loseby’s senior season has helped her come out of her shell. She was named one of Hartford’s captains this season, a responsibility that Loseby admitted she is still getting used to. Colleges like Keene State and Regis College (Mass.) have started to call about her field hockey future. Coaches from around the state have, once again, recognized just how much of an advantage she gives the Hurricanes.

Though Loseby doesn’t seek out the spotlight, field hockey has certainly given her a platform. She’s determined to make the most of her final opportunity to help Hartford win its first field hockey championship in seven years.

“In preseason, at night my mom heard talking and it was me yelling at (teammates) to mark girls,” Loseby said. “She said I kept saying, ‘Mark No. 53.’ So it’s definitely on my mind a lot more than people realize.

“I remember we went to the championship my freshman year and we lost (to Essex). I really want to go back. I really want to make sure we get there. … It’d be good to put another banner on the wall again. We really need another one.”

No. 3 Hartford opens its playoff run at home against No. 6 Colchester in the D-I quarterfinal game on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.