A field hockey player is trying to hit the ball.

Samantha Moffat, a success on and off the field – John Cardullo

By John Cardullo, sportswriter

Photos: Nicole Moffat, for RINewsToday

Pilgrim High School two sport athlete Samantha Moffat is a success both on and off the field. But it wasn’t entirely a smooth ride.

Samantha Moffat, Sami to her friends, is one of those many high schoolers who have taken up sports at a young age and as she comes to the end of two careers, she looks back and reflects to where she was when she began playing Lacrosse and Field Hockey.

The senior at Warwick’s Pilgrim High School decided to play two of the most popular sports offered to high school girl athletes. There was no doubt that if Moffat had chosen a different path to compete such as Soccer, Basketball, Gymnastics or Cheerleading, she would have been equally successful. She decided to travel the road less taken with Lacrosse, and went on to play and excel at one of the oldest high school competitive sports of Field Hockey. Field Hockey was one of the original varsity sports offered to girls dating back to the 1960’s.

Moffat played competitive Lacrosse for about 7 years. “I began playing when I was 12 years old for Warwick PAL when I first started. It was a fun recreation team that got me hooked into the sport. We thought that it was cool being the first,” Moffat said, “now I am an 18-year-old senior in high school, I am heading to the final season of what could be the final competitive season for the rest of my life.”

Moffat plays defense for both her Pilgrim Patriots and her club team the Flare Lacrosse team. Flare is a very competitive travel team that travels around the New England area to participate in tournaments. “Making Pilgrim varsity my freshman season was great, missing out on the 2020 season because of the Covid pandemic was a bummer,” Moffat said. Her sister, Alyssa, joined the team when she saw the love and fun that Sami was enjoying. She wanted to join in. During the 2021 season thanks partly to the Moffat twins, Pilgrim bounced back and made it to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s Division 2 semi-finals. “I am hoping that this season will bring us even bigger success!”

She began playing Field Hockey when she entered her first year at Pilgrim in 2019. “I was encouraged by a middle school teacher to try out for the team when I went into Pilgrim. I fell in love with the sport! My career began when I started playing when I was a freshman – I was 15 at the time. The team won the Division 3 State Championship, and we were moved up to Division 2. We have been competitive, but we just haven’t caught the magic of my first season,” Moffat said. Because the Field Hockey season runs in the Fall season of September and October, and wraps up in November, and Lacrosse begins in April, and runs through the end of the school year, so there’s no conflict of seasons and athletes like Moffat can play in both seasons.

“I confess that Field Hockey is my favorite sport. I recently completed my last year of playing – playing forward and mid-field,” Moffat said. She was so popular with her teammates she was named captain of the team for her senior season. Moffat was awarded 2nd team All Division and was named to the All-Academic team by the Field Hockey Coaches Association this past season. The Patriots lost their final game this past season to Classical High School in a double overtime and double shootout. “It was a tough way to close out the season, especially my senior season,” said Moffat.  

It was during her sophomore year Moffat developed Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome during Field Hockey season and continued through her junior season of Lacrosse. On December 22, 2021, she had a Bilateral Fasciotomy. Her total recovery would take months, starting physical therapy a month after the procedure. She said, “I basically had to learn how to walk all over again. My ankle locked up and had to relearn how to move as well. The recovery was long and painful. I had to regain all my strength in my legs. The follow up appointments seemed endless, and the recovery process was a long and painful one.” She credits her family and boyfriend as being an amazing support system. “I never thought that I would get to play sports again, at any level. I trained hard and put my all into my physical therapy and recovery so I could be ready for my senior season of Field Hockey,” she adds.

It has been recently pointed out that she played two sports which have sticks as part of the game. Although the rules prohibit sticks rising above a certain height, sometimes they end up high. In both sports the girls usually wear eye goggles, shin guards and a mouthpiece to help prevent injuries, but this is a far contrast to Lacrosse the boys play.

“Although the rule states that if a stick that goes above a certain height, a team will be charged with a penalty, unless it’s obvious, those calls will not be called. I was hit by a ball on the left side of my jaw, fortunately I only suffered some swelling and bruising, but I can see where a serious injury can happen in the blink of an eye.” Asked if she believes that more protective wear such as helmets would reduce the risk of serious injuries in both sports, she agreed but noted a more streamline and light weight headwear needs to be developed before the players would even consider wearing them.

Sami is in her senior year at Pilgrim High School and is weighing her college options. Her intentions are to become a nurse and she has narrowed her choices down to URI, Keen State, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Rhode Island College. Her family is a great support system for her and her twin sister Alyssa, who would take a different path to her high school athletic career. Sami also credits her longtime boyfriend, Josh, for keeping her grounded when things get a little bit sideways.  Her mother, Nicole, and father, Richard, support both their daughters’ athletic choices over the years, but as they went into different sports, their mom and dad would be in the stands or on the sidelines to cheer on their girls. Nicole even started showing up to their sporting event with a camera and has become so good at taking photos she is often mistaken for a professional. We thank her for contributing her photographs for this article.

Moffat is at ease with the knowledge that her athletic career could come to an end after the conclusion of her high school career, but she’s not closing the door entirely, “If I don’t go on to play any varsity sports in college, I’m good! I will look to play on some club sports teams, and even intramural. I am sure that I will be back on a field competing somewhere down the road, but I want to enter the field of my chosen profession!”

It is no doubt that whatever road she chooses she will be a success.



John Cardullo, sportswriter

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  1. Bonnie on January 27, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Way to go Samantha
    Moffat! Sami you are a superstar! We love you!