PELHAM — For the prior three seasons Katie Bourque has led the struggling Pelham High field hockey team by her play on the pitch. This year the senior tri-captain has been a motivating force on and off the field.

“Even though we haven’t had the best record the past few years, the girls have stuck with it,” said Bourque, 17.

The Pythons are 2-6 on the season thus far, and Bourque, a midfielder, is hoping they can turn things around. “We keep trying this new set to see if we can process goals right off the bat,” Bourque said. “Sometimes the girls get down if the other team scores first. So we’re trying to score first in games so we have the momentum going our way.”

Head coach Mary Johnson said this is the first season Bourque is taking her leadership role on the squad to heart. “She can very much get mentally tough on herself if she’s not pulling her weight. She takes it personally and feels she’s letting the team down,” the third-year coach said. “This year when she was elected captain, I pulled her aside and told her she was not just mentally responsible for herself, but she was mentally responsible for an entire team.”

Johnson said she told Bourque she needed to be the positive voice behind every girl.

“Katie has been that voice all season long,” Johnson said. “And she’s brought it into practice, which is even better. She’s taking her role very seriously and not letting her mental game get in the way.”

Johnson said the goal of the team is to simply win half their games. “Pelham has never won a state championship,” Johnson said. “Our goal this year is .500, and if we go .500, we’ll make the playoffs and it will be the first time we make the playoffs.”

Bourque has been playing field hockey since the fifth grade after giving up soccer, a sport she had been playing since she was 3. “I didn’t even know what I was doing,” Bourque said of her first season playing youth field hockey. “I was like, ‘why did I pick this? I should have stayed with soccer.’ But my seventh-grade year I came out and worked really hard and we ended up winning the state championship.”

Bourque, who has been on the varsity field hockey team since her freshman year, also plays basketball and lacrosse at PHS. Though passionate about sports, she admitted that hasn’t always been the case with academics.

“It’s a lot of work and I owe a lot of the credit to my (assistant) coach Jen Resmini,” Bourque said. “She got on my butt and made me study. She said if I wanted to play in college, I’d have to get on it now and she pushed me through it.”

Bourque said there were times when she only wanted to play sports and didn’t feel like studying after practices or games. “I would just do it so I would be eligible to play sports in high school and then move on and play in college.”

Bourque said she knows which sport she wants to play in college. “Field hockey without a doubt,” she said. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was 10, but I don’t have the height advantage to play basketball.”

Bourque has been scouted by some colleges, including Daniel Webster.

“I don’t know, the University of New England has field hockey so I’m probably going to talk to their coach. I’ve already talked to the coaches at St. Anselm and Assumption.”

Bourque wants to be involved in sports on and off the field in college. She plans to major in sports medicine or sports management.