Varsity field hockey will be dependent on both their veterans and new players to lead the team to success after finishing last season with a 7-9-1 overall record.
After a few consecutive successful seasons, the team finished last year with a mediocre record. However, the Field Hockey Program Head, Erin Creznic, said that was to be expected.
“Last year was definitely a rebuilding year for us, but we knew that was going to happen for years because we had had three incredibly strong seasons in a row,” Creznic said. “We had a really young team.”
Even though the team finished with below a .500 record, they still finished second in their league and said they were happy with the result.
“I think that our whole team agrees that last season was very successful since nearly half of the team was made up of sophomores,” Mia Reilly ‘18 said.
However, Creznic and the rest of the field hockey program remained positive throughout the course of the season.
“We also knew that because the sophomore class [last year] in particular was so strong, the future looked bright.” Creznic said.
Following last season, four players graduated, including the team’s leading scorer Emma Wasserman ‘16, who went to Villanova.
Because of the few departing seniors, there are only five new varsity players, compared to last year’s eight.
“There’s no question it’s going to have a positive impact on our team this year, because not only are they returning players, but they’ve had experience playing on varsity for two or three years,” she said.
Reilly hopes that since few seniors departed and that the roster is mostly the same it will help improve on last year’s record.
“I think that this makes us a more closely bonded group, and it motivates us to play very well this season,” Reilly said.
While most of the team is made up of returning members, Creznic believes that the new players’ skill levels are on par with the rest of the team.
“We also have some great sophomores and a new freshmen on the team,” Creznic said. “They’re so good that some of them will get starting spots even over returning players.”
Reilly, along with Alyse Tran ‘18 and Erin Lee ‘18, are expected to lead the team’s strong junior class.
In order to prepare for the season, players have been conditioning on their own for the whole summer and many did overnight field hockey programs. They began practicing as a team at the beginning of the month for two hours each weekday.
Even in practices, Creznic sees improvement from last year that she knows will carry on to the season.
“In the few practices we’ve had as a varsity team, the pace is so much faster than last year,” she said. “You can already see that as a team we’re going to play so much better because we have so many quicker players who think faster and who know where they need to be.”
Later this week, they will fly to Orlando to compete in the KSA Tournament Sept. 2-4, where they will face other high school teams from around the country.
In addition to winning games, the squad will also use the tournament as a way for the team to develop closer relationships.
“It is always such a great way for our team to bond and also to play a lot of great field hockey teams,” Reilly said.
Not only does Creznic believe the squad will be successful this year, but she also believes it will be successful in years to come.
“We have great players on all three teams this year,” she said. “There are great players coming up through the ranks, and it looks very positive for the next several years.”
The squad’s first game is today against Edison High, whom they lost to 4-0 in last year’s opening game.