.By ANTHONY LABOR The Essex Reporter
The Essex High School field hockey team have a tough act to follow after the team won the Division I state championship last season.
The Hornets are returning from last year’s 13-1-3 season with high expectations following their performance.
They blew through the playoffs last season, as they outscored their opponents 13-0 in three playoff games. They took down Hartford 3-0 in the championship game to capture their first tital since 2001.
“Last year, eight of our 10 starting field players had played together for three years,” said Essex coach Heather Garrow. “Their chemistry and communication were superb, which was huge for our run.”
The Hornets return a good amount of players from last year’s team to help contribute this season.
Junior defenders Sarah Smith and Elise Carney will be the core of the defense for the Hornets in front of senior goalie Maria Grant and junior goalie Mady Corkum. Senior midfielders Kathleen Young, Tiffany Barnes and Cristina Tellez will be pivotal in the transition game for the Hornets.
The team also has a trio of returning forwards in senior Siena Teare and juniors Allie Rutz and Erin Murphy.
“The core of our defense is very experienced, as is our offensive core,” said Garrow, who is entering her ninth season as coach of the varsity team. “The first challenge we are going to have is teaching players how to play new positions if they were moved from where they were accustomed to playing. Then we have to develop fluid transitions and communication.”
The Hornets will travel to Rice on Wednesday for their season opener before hosting South Burlington on Sept. 9 for their home opener.
Garrow said the atmosphere of the team is what will lead them to another successful year.
“With so many players returning, we know we will have the talent to be successful,” she said. “We just need to create an atmosphere in which all players feel supported, valued and confident in their understanding of our game plan.”