Squad to depend on skill over experience

Carina Marx

Coming off an undefeated season, varsity field hockey enters the fall season with a team that will be dependent on its younger players.

The team lost Maddie Oswald ’15 to Georgetown and Brooke Reese ’15 to Yale, both Division I schools. They left the team with only three seniors and five juniors, making them reliant on the sophomore players, most of whom are new to the varsity squad.

Field Hockey Program Head Erin Creznic is not worried about the change, however.

“We lose big people every year,” Creznic said. “We’ve also won league for the last three years, and we’ve had great seniors every year. The only difference is that there’s a large sophomore class, but they’re very intense.”

The sophomore class includes Mia Rielly ’18 and Alyse Tran ’18, who attended the Futures Olympic development program. Both were selected for the U16 Regional Futures Elite Team from a much larger pool of program participants, and will meet every few months to train and further their skills.

Now, the girls seek revenge on Newport Harbor Sept. 17, to whom they lost to 2-1 last year.

“Don’t let the bow fool you,” Carolyn Kim ’18 said. “They prance around in plaid skirts. The devil wears plaid.”

In order to prepare, the girls are practicing almost every day to strengthen both their offensive and defensive skills. Their secret weapon for success is the girls’ chemistry on and off the field, a camaraderie that was not as necessary with powerhouse athletes to depend on last season.

“[We are] focusing a little bit more on making sure that we master all the basics [this year],” Creznic said. “Because we can’t depend on one all-star player to just take it down the field and score whenever we need her to.”

The players’ first team bonding night in Oxnard was considered a success among the girls, bringing them closer so they can work harder and better together during game times.

The biggest challenge entering this season is bringing the younger players up to the varsity level quickly, Creznic said.

The squad will compete in the KSA tournament in Orlando, Florida on Sept. 4-5. Though the younger players may need some practice, they are mentally ahead of their competitors, Creznic said.

“They are competitive, and they really fight to score,” Creznic said. “Sometimes teams like that do better than teams with all-star players.”