Field Hockey turns 25

Mindy Dorish, left, coached the first-ever Mt. Lebanon High School field hockey team. Mt. Lebanon Field Hockey Association President Shelley Pieklik was the driving force behind establishing the team in her junior year. /Photo: Ken Lager

It started as a club sport, founded by a transfer student who convinced her homeroom teacher to coach.

This fall, the Mt. Lebanon varsity field hockey team is celebrating its 25th anniversary at its September 24 game against Upper St. Clair.

Some of the original players are back to celebrate and so is the original high school coach. Mindy Abrams (now Mindy Dorish), Pinetree Road, is coming back after a 20-year hiatus—this time to coach Mt. Lebanon’s fifth and sixth graders.

How it started: Junior Shelly Walker Pieklik, left, transferred from Sewickley Academy to find Mt. Lebanon had no field hockey program. So she started one, and convinced Mindy Abrams Dorish, right, to coach.

“I’m excited to be active and involved with the program again,” she said.  “It’s a little scary and it’s exciting.”

“She was the original coach of the program and we’ve stayed in touch a little bit over the years. Each year I say to her ‘Is this the year you’re ready to come back?’ and it just so happened for the 25th anniversary, she said yes,” said Mt. Lebanon Field Hockey Association President Shelley Pieklik.

“Once again, she’s hooked me,” said Dorish, who’s in her 28th year teaching Spanish at Mt. Lebanon High School.

When Pieklik (then Shelley Walker) transferred to Mt. Lebanon from Sewickley Academy in her junior year, she was disappointed to learn Mt. Lebanon didn’t have a field hockey team, decided to start one herself, then got Dorish to coach. “Our first year, we didn’t even play any games,” Pieklik pointed out.

Pieklik is now Field Hockey Association president with two daughters in the program. Her role as president is to take a global view of the program and help assess the needs for both the youth and high school programs. “I absolutely love doing it,” she said.

“The program is still thriving,” said Dorish. “It’s a great opportunity for the girls to get out, have a team, play a sport, make friendships, lasting connections and have fun.”