After a stellar 2019 season — which included an overall record of 16-3 and a runner-up finish in the ultra-tough NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament — the Vernon High School field hockey program looked forward to facing down all potential roadblocks this year.
The Vikings have been quite successful in meeting their goal, as their undefeated overall record through the first half of November clearly shows.
“Last year was a great season and it will be tough to beat, but we are up for the challenge,’’ Vernon head coach Kieran Killeen said. “We are looking to win every game we play this year. We took a big step last year in the way we defend the open field and on penalty corners. I would like to see us tighten that up even more and make it difficult for teams to score on Vernon. I call it ‘flashlight defense’ — we focus on the area from the ball shining a light towards the goal.
“We do our best to shut down that area completely. On the other side of the ball, I would like to see us convert more of our circle entries into goals or corners. Games are won and lost in the 25 yards in front of the goals, so that is where we need to be clinical in our decisions and execution.’’
Among the key returning student athletes with varsity-level experience for the Vikings going into the regular season were Kayla Barca (senior, midfield), Rebecca Bogdewicz (senior, defender), Anna Casper (senior, defender), Madison Gary (senior, defender), Aleah Germinario (senior, defender), Madison Hordych (senior, midfield), Alicia Mihalko (senior, midfield), Alyssa Van Dalinda (senior, forward), Julia Gregory (junior, forward), Natalie Hasert (junior, forward) and Megan Westdyke (junior, midfield).
Promising newcomers to the varsity roster to start the regular season are Zoe Burns (junior, forward), Caitlin Witters (junior, goal keeper), Lauren Waschek (sophomore, defender) and Sidney Van Tassel (freshman, midfield).
“We have 11 returning letter winners, seven of them are returning starters,’’ Killeen said. “We have a big senior class who have been incredible in stepping up to lead this year. When you have so many voices saying and believing in the same message, it really helps to send our program in the right direction.’’
The Vikings are seeded first in the NJSIAA North West B Sectional Tournament, which gets underway this week.
“We have a big senior class who have been incredible in stepping up to lead this year. When you have so many voices saying and believing in the same message, it really helps to send our program in the right direction.’’ Head Coach Kieran Killeen