SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — After the Abington Heights field hockey team won just one game last season, head coach Amy Wojcik feels the team has much room for improvement.
The Lady Comets return nine starters and several other players with varsity experience.
Seniors Anna Baruffaldi and Ashley Mercado return on offense, senior Abigale Sutton is back as a defender, senior Abbey Knoepfel returns as a midfielder/defender and senior Olivia Mendo will take over as the starting goalkeeper. Junior Jessie Show returns in the midfield and junior Emily Williams is back on defense. Sophomore Audrey Cottell will start on defense and sophomore Schuyler Smith returns as a starting midfielder.
Also expected to see significant time on the field this season are senior Demetria Smolko, juniors Olivia Sesso and Sydney Granville, sophomores Phoebe Sebring and Mamie Dempsey and freshman Arla Davis.
Wojcik’s reason for optimism comes from the team’s mindset and camaraderie as a squad.
“They have an outstanding attitude and there is a wonderful group dynamic,” she said. “The girls are getting along and communicating really well. They’re enjoying the sport and there is initiative and motivation to improve. We’re going to improve our record and push hard to take our field hockey team to a different level than we’ve experienced the last few years.”
Wojcik has stressed four key points in every practice leading up to the start of the season: dribbling skills, stopping the ball, communicating and running to the ball.
“On top of that, we’re also taking it to the next level by working on our reverse stick side and trying to acquire skills that are a little bit more challenging,” she said. “Our biggest strengths are going to be off-ball movement, communication and stick work.”
Wojcik expects Dallas, Lackawanna Trail, Lake-Lehman and Wyoming Seminary to provide the toughest competition in Wyoming Valley Conference play.
Abington Heights will open its Wyoming Valley Conference season by hosting GAR at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.