Lady Braves Field Hockey Rebuilds After Losing Eight Starters

Credits: Danielle Francisco

NEWTON, NJ—The Newton High School Lady Braves Field Hockey team is getting ready for the 2017-2018 season. Having lost 12 seniors from last year, eight of whom were starters, they are looking to rebuild.

“We are looking to remain competitive and maintain our tradition of strong field hockey in the county, as we rebuild our Varsity squad from the past three seasons of standout players," Head Coach, Lisa Bechtel said. “We anticipate some younger players taking their game to the next level and making their mark on our field hockey program, but right now we are led by a small group of highly motivated seniors.”

According to Bechtel, who is in her 28th year of coaching at Newton High School, the groups’ major strength is that they have a great collective worth ethic and attitude. There are also a number of players who are anxious to prove themselves in order to become “impact players.”

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The returning players for this season are:


  • Morgan Mendel at forward, she had three assists and 14 goals last season
  • April Serratelli at half back


  • Lauren Barbato at forward, she had three assists and three goals last season
  • Victoria Docherty at forward, she had four assists and six goals last season
  • Jade Luciani at half back


  • Abbey Berkowitz as goalkeeper

Some of the top newcomers include the following players:


  • Makaela Dionne at halfback
  • Emily Berkowitz at midfield
  • Jen Papis as halfback
  • Rachel Sturchi as forward


  • Taylor Goldschmiedt as midfield
  • Liliy Widgren as forward
  • Carly DeIorio as midfield
  • Kate Lazar as forward
  • Remy Smith as midfield


  • Dominique Simeone as forward
  • Angela Melillo as forward
  • Erin Fucito as forward
  • Emily Pappas as midfield and halfback
  • Aubrey White as forward
  • Gemma Meade as midfield
  • Mackenzi Miller as forward
  • Kess Vasquez as midfield

The Lady Braves lost 12 of their varsity players due to graduation, eight of which were starters. The key losses include Kate Barbato ,forward, Jasmine Luciani, halfback, Emma Orabone, halfback, Becky Powers, halfback, Natile Rivas, forward  and named the 2017 Player Of the Year, Niki Rizzo, midfield and named 2016 Player Of the Year, Brittany Schumann, midfield, Katy Van Orden, halfback, and  Emily Kurnides, goalkeeper.

This year, if the Lady Braves Field Hockey team under the direction of Bechtel can win four games, Bechtel will hit the mark of 400th win in her career, with her current record being 396-137-18.

The Newton High School Lady Braves are looking to make a re-appearance in the Group 1 Section 1 finals and to defend their past three years’ title of Group 1 Section 1 Champions in the upcoming 17-18 season.

They will take on Belvidere in the first game of the season, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5, on Newton’s Turf Field.

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