SWith seven seniors on this year’s varsity field hockey squad, Orange County High School Head Coach Lauren Seal is cautiously optimistic about her team’s 2017 outlook.
“Overall, our preseason went well,” Seal said. “We had a scrimmage against Massaponax recently and things looked pretty decent. I saw a lot of good things out there, but also some things we need to work on. We have a lot of junior varsity girls as our varsity team is a lot smaller than in the past, but hopefully, that bodes well for the future.”
Given the value of experience, Seal was glad to have a healthy blend of veteran leadership and youthful exuberance when her Fighting Hornets took the field for their home opener against Liberty (Bealeton).
According to Seal, “We have seven seniors of which probably five of them are starters. We brought up one freshman who is going to be a huge asset for us and two sophomores this year. I think we’re meshing well together right now and I think if they keep that up its going o help a lot. Our endurance is high because the girls came in very well-conditioned this year. We don’t have to spend as much time on conditioning as we normally would so we can focus more on the skills and getting better on the field.”
Those seniors include Mikayla Bowers, Olivia Falb, Brooke Figgins, Alyssa Lyon, Faith Morris, Autumn Rogers and Courtney Yancey. Four juniors also adding to the experience factor include: Mariely Aquin, Sierra Drew, Makayla Hillian and Claire Yowell. Sophomores Hadasha Aquin, Grace Cooper and Riley Clatterbuck will be joined by freshman Haley Pritchett in the Orange lineup.
“This year we’re more offensive-oriented and a lot stronger. Our defensive unit is strong too as we bring back a lot of the players. We have great veteran leadership and they all work well together and they push each other,” Seal said.
As is usually the case in the Jefferson District, there will be no easy nights (or late afternoons). While improved, the Hornets will still have to converge and consolidate their best efforts on a consistent basis to be completive, Seal said.
“Last year was more of a struggle when we couldn’t play more than one half,” she said. “We did well for a half, and then lost it in the second-half. I think this year, with the improvement in conditioning, endurance and fitness and along with our returning senior leadership, that should help us quite a bit. Realistically, I’d like to think were in the middle of the pack in the district.”