Warriors Improve to 8-0-1 by Edging Old Saybrook, Tying North Branford
Senior captain Abby Amara and the Warriors are playing some quality field hockey with their record of 8-0-1 thus far this fall. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier)
Senior captain Brooke Lavigne helped the Valley field hockey team get a win versus Old Saybrook and a tie against North Branford in last week’s action. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier)
Featuring a senior-laden roster, the Valley Regional field hockey team is off to an exceptional start to the 2021 season with a record of 8-0-1 through its first nine games of the year. As her squad plays its way into the heart of the campaign, Head Coach Beth McCabe Powers knows that the Warriors will be relying on their seniors for both their performance and leadership on the field.
Valley had matchups against Old Saybrook and North Branford last week, earning a win versus the Rams and a tie with the Thunderbirds. The Warriors began their week by posting a 2-1 home victory over Old Saybrook on Sept. 27.
Senior captain Abby Amara scored a goal for Valley that was assisted by fellow senior Emily Kateley in the Old Saybrook win. Freshman Lillian Lavigne netted the Warriors’ other goal on an assist from junior Lily Crow. Junior goalie Fallyn Belisle made four saves in net for Valley.
Two days later, the Warriors faced North Branford on the road and battled the T-Birds to a 1-1 stalemate. Senior Mia Alio scored Valley’s goal on an assist by senior captain Brooke Lavigne. Belisle stopped four shots in net for the Warriors.
“They played quite well in both games. In the past, we have been notorious slow starters. Thankfully, this year, we seem to have that worked out,” Coach McCabe Powers said. “We are able to generate offense more quickly than we have in the past. We’re all working hard. We got a solid win and a very, very hard-fought tie.”
Coach McCabe Powers feels that the biggest key behind the Warriors’ hot to start their season is their team camaraderie. McCabe Powers said that this year’s club is close-knit group that features athletes who are all looking to improve as a unit, rather than just as individuals.
“Many of them are in the same grade and have been working together for a long time. The bulk of this team has a wealth of experience playing together,” McCabe Powers said. “They truly enjoy each other’s company. This is not a team of, ‘me, me, me.’ Everybody makes the right pass at the right time. They truly care about each other. It really is like a sisterhood.”
While Valley had just one senior on last year’s roster, the Warriors feature 12 seniors on the team this season. Amara, Brooke Lavigne, Reagan Furgueson, Grace Haskins, and Margaret Jacaruso are serving as Valley’s senior captains. The Warriors’ senior class also includes Alio, Kateley, Caroline Haskins, Paige Lombardi, Ellie Rybicki-Domler, Lauren Valentino, and Chelsea Wadle.
When this year’s seniors were freshmen, Coach McCabe Powers recognized how much talent was in the class. Valley’s coach waited four years for those players to get the chance to shine as seniors. The seniors have not only been catalysts with their play on the field, but McCabe Powers said that their leadership is an essential component of the Warriors’ success.
“Not only do they work with the people who start, but they work really hard to help the kids that are still learning. The hard work trickles down through everybody,” said McCabe Powers. “A lot of the leadership is on the field. They don’t need a lot of managing off the field. They all work so hard and care so much. They’ve bought into the program.”
As her team looks to finish the season just as strong as it started, Coach McCabe Powers said that the Warriors will be taking a page out of the New England Patriots’ playbook. McCabe Powers is emphasizing for all of her players to “do your job” to the highest potential in order to put an exclamation point on what has been a stellar season thus far.
“Like the New England Patriots, here you have to, ‘Do your job.’ You don’t have to do more than your job. You just have to do your job. If you do your job, we’ll probably be successful,” McCabe Powers said. “I love all of them. They’re awesome kids. I’m having a year of a lifetime, and I’m trying to relish every moment.”
The Valley Regional field hockey team’s roster features senior captains Abby Amara, Reagan Furgueson, Grace Haskins, Margaret Jacaruso, and Brooke Lavigne; seniors Mia Alio, Caroline Haskins, Emily Kately, Paige Lombardi, Ellie Rybicki-Domler, Lauren Valetino, and Chelsea Wadle; juniors Fallyn Belisle, Callie Brietenbach, Samantha Brookhart-Bardelli, Ashley Cap, Lily Grow, Mykenzie Parker, Madeline Rice, Allison Safran, Samara Shankar and Isabela Siegel; sophomores Charlotte Jacobson, Abby Reardon, Clara Shea and Madeline Siegel; and freshmen Laura Gessner, Charlotte Kronholm, Lillian Lavigne, Alessia Pisanzio, and Lucy Resnisky.