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McCaffrey was the face of Vikings field hockey for a memorable 'ALS Shootout'

It was halftime at Friday’s field hockey game between East Lyme and Waterford high schools, but instead of heading to the team huddle, East Lyme goalie Sierra McCaffrey walked back out onto the field.

Soon, there were her classmates, her teammates’ dads and fellow Vikings’ little brothers all trying to hit a ball past her for charity.

With each of the Vikings’ athletic teams raising money for ALS this fall, in addition to the traditional boys’ and girls’ soccer doubleheader between East Lyme and Waterford, this was the field hockey team’s idea:

Pay $5 for a chance to take a shot against a varsity goalie. Score and receive a prize.

Not too many people fared well against McCaffrey, either, with 10-year-old Matt Bradley, the brother of field hockey player Cara Bradley, the first to break the ice with a goal.

The Vikings raised more than $100 with the shootout, in addition to the money each team member collected.

“I feel like it’s going to a great cause,” said McCaffrey, a humble, well-spoken junior, who stopped more than a dozen shots in all. “Our captains came up with it. And we all thought, ‘That’s an awesome idea.’

“I was a little nervous, but I really liked it. I would do it again.”

McCaffrey, who splits time in goal with sophomore Alex Rose, didn’t know ahead of time she would be tasked with the challenge, as East Lyme coach Amy Lloyd was unsure who she would send out for the second half.

The Vikings, 2-4, 2-2 in the Eastern Connecticut Conference after Tuesday’s victory over Fitch/Ledyard, were 10-5-2 a year ago, but had to replace eight starters from that team.

McCaffrey, who can also play in the field, Lloyd said, was the understudy to former goalie Sarah Bond prior to this year and calls Bond “an excellent mentor.”

“She was good at so many things. She was really supportive. The most important thing she taught me to was keep your head up,” McCaffrey said. “She was so supportive; she always gave me constructive criticism. She’s one of my best friends.”

McCaffrey also did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with her family, she said.

Lloyd said the field hockey event was 100 percent student-driven. Other teams at the school held bake sales and held road races, making the ALS fundraiser school-wide.

“It’s just nice to see the high school community come together for a good cause,” Lloyd said.

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