Nicole Bradley entered last weekend’s Bay State games just looking to have some fun.
Bradley, a Manchester Essex field hockey standout who will be entering her senior year this fall, tried out and made the Northeast/Metro team that is compiled of some of the best field hockey players in the region.
While Bradley and company were playing for fun and to fine tune their skills for the upcoming high school field hockey season, the team ended up taking it one step further finishing 5-0 and winning the entire tournament at Bentley University in Waltham.
“It was a great experience and a lot of fun,” Bradley said. “It was awesome meeting new people and having to work together as a team with girls that I don’t play with regularly. It was challenging the first few practices but I loved the way we came together. We just wanted to have fun but the games got more and more competitive as we went on and by the end we really wanted the win.”
The Northeast/Metro squad didn’t just win the tournament, they dominated play finishing up with a 5-0 record.
The Bay State Games field hockey tournament divides its teams up into five different regions. The tournament began with round robin play where Bradley and company finished 4-0 before besting the Southeast team in the finals 3-0. The tournament ran over a four day span from July 12-15 the Northeast/Metro team played a game a day with one double header.
Bradley, who switched between forward and midfield in the tournament, played with some familiar faces, and some not so familiar faces as he teammates consisted of girls from Beverly, Sudbury, Andover and Cape Ann League rival North Reading.
“I enjoyed playing with a couple of girls from North Reading,” Bradley said. “We got along great and talked a lot about some of the games we played against each other during the high school season.
I thought it was going to take a little longer for the team to come together than it did, but a lot of us played together on club teams in the winter and the team had a really loose attitude which made it easier for us to start to click.”
Bradley had a goal and a pair of assists in the tournament while chipping in on both ends of the field.
She says the gold medal also gives her confidence heading into the fall field hockey season at Manchester Essex.
“I definitely have a lot more confidence heading into the fall,” Bradley said. “(Manchester Essex) has a lot of good players coming back and we are looking for another run in the state tournament.”