Aug. 27, 2009
By Mal Boright
After nailing down the first Division 1 field hockey crown in the school’s history last fall, coach Kate McDonald and her 2009 edition of Redhawks would very much like to repeat the experience.
Observer photo by Cassidy Maglaris
Varsity and junior varsity field hockey players at Champlain Valley Union High School run through drills during tryouts the morning of Aug. 18.
And there is a solid crew of veterans returning to lend some serious credibility to the team’s chances of making it to the big championship game once again.
The campaign will get under way Tuesday, when the Redhawks open their season at Burlington High for the first of three consecutive road contests. The initial home game is set for Saturday, Sept 12, a 10 a.m. session with Mount Mansfield Union High.
Gone by graduation from the championship squad are five, including top scorer Katie Longshore (12 goals). In addition, the Redhawks will be without dynamo winger Gillian Shelley, who has transferred to a private school.
Thus to say McDonald has been “winging it” in early practice sessions might be correct in only one sense: The veteran coach has to find replacements at the offensive edges.
“We need to fill two spots on the wings,” she said.
But the numbers are good, which increases the chances that new wingers will step up.
McDonald said some 57 candidates tried out, with 17 on the varsity roster and the rest divided between junior varsity A and B teams.
Eight seniors and two juniors are on the varsity squad.
Leading the returnees is goalie Elizabeth Goddette, who was a mighty presence in the CVU cage last season through the playoffs and title game victory over Hartford High.
Other veterans lending experience of some two varsity seasons include Kathryn Powell, Emmaleigh Loyer, Kelsey Jensen and KK Logan, who is coming off a knee injury last season and, according to McDonald, “looks great.” Louise Gibbs also saw considerable action last season.
While the forecast for the season looks promising, McDonald warns that the Metro Division is once again strong and well balanced.
“Remember, a lot of our wins last year were by a single goal,” she recalled, adding that this season CVU’s defending champs will be the team to which the others will be giving special attention.
McDonald will get a good look-see for comparison purposes Saturday at Mount Abraham Union in Bristol, when the Redhawks join some 10 other teams in a “Playday” series of half-hour, pre-season scrimmage games.