Coach Kerryn Campbell discusses strategy with her Hamilton West field hockey team during their Sep. 17 victory over Hopewell Valley (Photo by Rich Fisher)
By Rich Fisher
Sep. 24: The Hamilton West field hockey team carries a 2-5 record into Friday’s game with Princeton. But hidden within that mark are some interesting statistics.
For instance, the combined record of the five teams that have defeated West is 27-10. The Hornets lost four of those games by either 3-0 or 2-0, as a loss to Lawrence was the only blowout. Even more, telling is that on Sep. 17, Hamilton rallied from a second-half deficit to take a 2-1 win over Hopewell, notching its first victory over the Bulldogs in 21 years.
It is obviously a competitive team, despite the fact it graduated 14 seniors last year.
“I don’t just like this team, I love this team,” coach Kerryn Campbell said. “Something special about this team is they genuinely all like or love each other a lot. You can see that throughout the entire field. I think that allows us to have the connected passing, to have the communication and for them to talk to each other when they’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing. They really pick each other up and there’s always positive energy out there. It’s very important to have that on a team and you don’t get that every day.”
The Hornets have just six seniors on the roster, while there are 16 juniors and 17 sophomores in the program. Several of the 10th-graders played last year but Hamilton only had seven returning varsity players.
And yet it is in every game and appears poised to pick up some more wins as the season moves along; especially when the schedule lightens up.
“I love the talent,” Campbell said. “We’re very young. They’re finding themselves. I was slightly apprehensive coming into this season but after day one of preseason I knew that we could do it.”
Opening day produced a 2-0 loss to Allentown although the game was scoreless at halftime.
“That was huge for us,” Campbell said. “If we play to our full potential every single game, anything can happen.”
What helps is that everyone contributes in one way or another. The starting lineup features Za’Asia Miller, Alyssa Clayton, Angela Capria, Kendall Fiasco, Abby Pfaff, Liz Mains, Chloe Tomko, Vicky Fafara, Ziona Richardson, Ariana Ortiz and goalie Elezia Miller. Coming off the bench for a goal and an assist against Hopewell was sophomore Cierra Acevedo, playing her first varsity game.
Also on varsity are Giana LaRussa, Brianna Sutton, Caramia Nemeth, Lexi Fiasco, Bella Bartlett, Lauren Stellwag and Sam Leach.
It is a group that’s just starting to reach it’s potential, although the coach does not want to make any predictions when it comes to the county and state tournaments.
“I’m not gonna get too far ahead of myself,” Campbell said. “I want them to keep doing what they’re doing and working really, really hard. As long as they can leave that field and say ‘I did my best today’ then I’m OK with that. It could be a win, it could be a tie, it could be a loss, as long as they left it all on the field.”