2022 Field Hockey Season Preview
The Woodstock Academy field hockey team didn’t know who would be at the helm of the program just days before the season was scheduled to begin.
In came co-head coaches Gerry LaMontagne and Donte Adams to ensure there would be a season.
And their athletes have been very receptive so far.
“It’s been really good,” said senior Ainsley Morse. “The new experiences have been fun and they have been learning along with us. It’s been good to have someone with a new vision for the team. There has been a different atmosphere, sort of, but at the same time, we have a lot of returning players who know how to run things.”
That’s fine with LaMontagne.
“It hasn’t been as overwhelming as I thought it would be,” he said after a full week with his new program. “Of course, we haven’t played a game yet so that moment is still to come. The girls have been great to work with. There is a lot of leadership and I meet with returning players to run things by them. They understand who they are dealing with and are willing to work, explain things, give us input, and those are the sort of things it will take to have a successful season.”
The Centaurs have lost six players from a three-win season a year ago.
That included two of their top scorers in Elaina Borski (3 goals) and Julia Powell (2).
“We have been more focused on the offense and one thing that I take from this group is that they are willing to step outside their comfort zone. They are willing to step up and play different positions and, even though, defense is always the focus, we know we need to find more goals as well,” said Adams.
Sophomore Abby Converse is the top returning goal scorer as she had a trio of tallies last season. Also back at attack is junior Sophia Petrella (2 goals, 2 assists) and sophomore Grace Pokorny (1 goal, 4 assists).
They will be helped by a midfield that includes junior Caroline Harris.
The defense should give the offense a chance to mature this season.
Woodstock Academy returns two veteran goalies in senior Ava Basak and sophomore Elizabeth Roberts.
“Ava has been a stalwart for the team and she is more than happy to tell girls where they need to be and what to watch out for. She is kind of like a field general out there,” LaMontagne said.
In front of them will be players like Morse and fellow seniors Ella Musimeci and Alyson Bunning. Abby Houle and Emma Manis will also see time in the back.
“From the defensive aspect, we really have to work with the midfielders on getting back. There are only three of us and the opponent’s attackers and middies are crashing on us. It gets really overwhelming and that comes with skill-building and communication aspect part of the game,” Morse said. “I’m excited to see where this young team goes.”
Success, said Lamontagne, may be judged on the team’s progression this season.
“I think a lot of the development will depend on the drills we run in practice and putting the girls in the right position to learn the right things so that they know what to do when they are on the field,” LaMontagne said.
The new head coach said he is just trying not to be a limit for the girls and if a winning season is possible, that’s what he will help them strive for.
“Donte and I are on the same page as far as getting them conditioned and ready to play games and giving them lots of skill work so that they’re ready,” LaMontagne said.