Back on Offense

The Golden Knights field hockey team is ready for redemption

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Sarah You

The team creates an arch out of sticks for their seniors.

Fall sports are looking a little different this year; the seasons were pushed back, athletes must wear masks while not actively playing, and teams can only play against certain schools. However, COVID-related alterations are not the only changes to field hockey this season—the team is also seeing a change in performance. 

The varsity field hockey team ended the 2019 season with no wins, 18 losses, and two ties, but this year, they are out for redemption. Since the start of the season on September 14, the team has already tied at one scrimmage and won two games. 

“Everyone’s been putting in the effort to get better in the off season, and we only lost two seniors last year, so we’re not set back too much on the field,” said junior Nina Stonitsch. “We are also more experienced than last year, and it’s helped us a lot with our game.”

In the team’s first scrimmage on September 25, they tied 2-2 against Northern Valley Demarest. Stonitsch and senior Riley Acheson, both forwards, scored the two goals. This scrimmage marks an improvement from last year, according to junior Yuna Jung. “This time we played mostly offense instead of defense,” she said. “That was great to see because last year we mostly defended in all our games.”

The girls captured their first formal win on October 10 against Hackensack in the third game of the season. After losing to Hackensack last year, they won 4-0, with goals by seniors Jenna Fitzgerald and Eden Lee, junior Melanie Padilla, and sophomore Lynne Kim. “It was an amazing feeling to win,” said Padilla about the victory. “It was a great game; we were really happy about it.”

In addition to the players’ own hard work, Stonitsch credits Coach Amanda McCarthy with the team’s improved performance. After having coached JV in past years, this is McCarthy’s first year as varsity coach. “[Coach McCarthy] has done an amazing job coaching us to be the best players that we can be and perform better than last year,” said Stonitsch. “It’s also nice to have a change in coach so that we can play differently and improve our record.” 

Their record may have changed, but one thing remains the same—the team’s tight camaraderie and teamwork. Stonitsch said, “Everyone works together really well, and everything that we’ve accomplished so far has been a whole team effort, from defense to midfield to offense.”

The players run off the field after warmups. (Sarah You)