MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville field hockey team went through a very difficult season one year ago.

The Mustangs, while playing a very difficult schedule which includes the likes of state and county powers in Madison and Morristown, as well as strong programs in Newton, Morristown-Beard, Whippany Park and Boonton, finished with a 3-14-1 record last year. It did however, find itself in competitive battles throughout the year despite the difficult schedule, and picked up wins in two of its final three games- including the first round of the North 1, Group 3 state tournament against Passaic Valley.

While it goes into the 2019 campaign looking to build off of that strong finish, it will have to do so after graduating 12 seniors. This year's team figures to be a much younger group, but the inexperience is something that it should be able to overcome with a talented core returning.

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"We may be a younger team, but they have a lot of hunger and drive for the game," said Montville coach Aimee Vizzuso.

That returning core is led by last year's leading scorer in junior center forward Natalie Rossinow. Rossinow is someone who Vizzuso says has taken on much more of a leadership role going into her junior campaign, in addition to her already strong work ethic which has been evident throughout the offseason. She posted six goals and two assists last year.

Junior center midfielder Maddy Kelly will also be counted on to provide some offense with her playmaking ability. On the back end of the field, senior goalkeeper Sam Conrad is coming off of a 239-save season and has over 300 saves to her name through her varsity career. She is one of the team's captains and will be counted on to lead on the defensive end of the field.

"Our team went into the season with a focus on a goal of performing better than last year," Vizzuso said. "We are learning from our mistakes from last year and implementing them in practice. Our main goal has been to improve from last year. We have been talking about an increased team chemistry, better communication, improved passing combinations, and hunger in the goal to achieve our goal."

Montville opened up the season on Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 win against Parsippany and went on to beat Parsippany Hills 4-2 at the team's home opener on Saturday morning. Up next, Montville will host state power Madison on Monday at 4 p.m.

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