BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With 38 seconds left in 7 v 7  overtime, Gov. Livingston senior Isabel "Izzy” Kepner  knocked in the game winning goal to give the Lady Highlanders a hard earned 4-3 season opening victory against Union County conference rival Westfield.  Kepner’s game winner, which was assisted by fellow seniors Audrey Cardone and Jess Schmidt, was her second goal of the game. For her outstanding play ( 2 goals, 1 assist), leadership, and perseverance, Izzy Kepner has been named Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week.

Since their big opening game win over Westfield the Lady Highlanders have remained unbeaten with a 3-0-1 record to date. The team will next be playing at home on Saturday, Sept. 22 against Union, a team that they tied 0-0 earlier in the season.

The Field Hockey Senior Night Game is scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at Snyder Field when Kepner and her senior teammates and families will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.  

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Coach Gina DeLauro Comments on Izzy Kepner:

Coach Gina DeLauro said that Kepner has proven that she will be a force to be reckoned with this season. "She is lightning fast and she seems to know how to make things exciting," said DeLauro. "She specializes in breakaways and beats defenders with dodges. We can always be sure she'll give everything she has to score a goal, often sacrificing her body to put the ball in the cage.” 

Izzy Kepner on Her Game Winner:

Going into overtime, Kepner had a feeling it would be a great ending to the first game. "All of our positive attitudes helped us make that final goal," she said. "As exhausted as we all were from the heat, we gave it our all and never gave up. We carried the ball up the field, had several shots on goal, and never gave up until it finally went in."

Cordone drove the ball to Kepner and she deflected it off her stick into the top right corner of the cage. "It happened so quickly, and as soon as I scored I ran to my teammates, so happy that we made it in."

"Scoring the winning goal was one of the most exciting experiences in my life!" said Kepner.

Below are some additional comments from Izzy regarding her past, present and future:

TAPinto: What were some of your team goals and personal goals heading into your senior season?

Izzy: Some of my team goals this year are to make sure that we communicate on the field, make and receive good passes, and help the underclassmen become the best that they can be. My personal goals are to practice my stick skills in order to improve getting around the defense during a game, and make sure to drop when defense needs help.

TAPinto: When did you begin playing Field Hockey? How has your game evolved over the past 4 years?

Izzy: I began playing field hockey my freshman year of high school, and I had never played the sport before. The coaches and upperclassman took me in and helped me develop into a successful player. I improved each and every year by practicing with my teammates and playing during the off-season.

TAPinto: What was the best advice you got from a coach?

Izzy: The best advice I got from my coach was to stay on my toes during the game and keep moving in the circle, which is the reason why I was able to deflect the ball into the cage during our game last week.

TAPinto: How do you view your leadership role on this year's team?

Izzy: During my senior year, I’m trying hardest to help the younger players if they have any questions about field hockey. I remember what it was like to be a freshman who has never played before! During preseason, I helped them improve their skills by showing them how to correctly hit the ball, or get around defense. I’ve also helped out with PAL field hockey clinics to bring up younger players.

TAPinto: Have you seen opportunities to play Field Hockey growing in Berkeley Heights? What would you tell younger athletes about giving Field Hockey a try?

Izzy: I have seen many opportunities to play field hockey taking shape in Berkeley Heights. The town has started up a PAL field hockey team for players in 2nd through 8th grade, which I think will be very beneficial when they are old enough to join Governor Livingston’s team. I would tell younger athletes that field hockey is such a great sport, and it’s so much fun to bond with your teammates on and off the field!

TAPinto: What do you like the most about Gov. Livingston and what will you miss the most?

Izzy: After GL, I’ll miss my field hockey team the most. Ever since freshman year we have become a family, and have continued to become even closer as the years progressed. Before games we always say  “one heart together,” which is exactly what we are.... one heart.

TAPinto: What is your favorite class and who is your favorite teacher at Gov. Livingston?

Izzy: My favorite class is Human Behavior since I am very interested in psychology. My favorite teacher would have to be my wood shop teacher, Mr. Monaco, because not only is he an amazing teacher, but he creates an atmosphere where you can talk to him about anything and he’s always there to help you.

TAPinto: What do you like doing when not playing sports?

Izzy: When I am not playing field hockey, I enjoy spending time with my friends, family, and my two dogs. I especially love to travel, go skiing, and spend time outdoors. I also enjoy baking in my free time.

TAPinto: Who inspires you most in life?

Izzy: I’m inspired by my family and close friends, who are always there for me when I need them.

TAPinto: If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

Izzy: If I could do anything in the world, it would be to travel to several different countries. I love experiencing other cultures, and enjoying the beautiful surroundings in each new place.

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Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Delicious Heights, a family restaurant with three locations; Berkeley Heights, Bedminster and Basking Ridge, where it is part of the Basking Ridge County Club operating a public restaurant with outdoor dining, and acting as the banquet caterer, boasting a facility with panoramic views of the sprawling golf course. Visit our website, www.deliciousheights.com for weekly specials including Happy Hour specials from 3-6pm and daily featured dinner and lunch specials. Delicious Heights....where our only limitations are yours!

Delicious Heights is located at 428 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights. 908.464.3287; 285 Main Street in Bedminster. 908.234.1596; 185 Madisonville Road in Basking Ridge. 908.766.9499.