NEWTON, NJ—The Newton High School girls Field hockey team is ready to get their season started, despite losing their entire defensive line to graduation.

Lisa Bechtel, head coach at Newton for the last 31 years, said that this season’s overall primary focus will be on participation, but there will be a few additional things to focus on as well.

“With an abbreviated schedule and a summer recess that prevented camps and other traditional time to play, one goal will be to focus on conditioning in the preseason," Bechtel said. "Beyond that, my hope is that all the players and coaches stay safe while enjoying the competition among our local field hockey teams.  We will also look to rebuild our defense and train a new goalkeeper as we have no returning defensive letter winners."

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The roster has six returning players, all offense or midfielders, including forward senior Elissar Abou-Jaoude, Midfielder senior Sammie Deiorio Junior forward Julia Decker, Junior forward Julia Fitt, Junior midfielder Sidney Pavlishin and Junior midfielder Bridget Kerrick.

There were six key players lost to graduation, including Abby Berkowitz, four year starting goalie. Erin Fucito, Emily Pappas, Sam Samiljan, Dominique Simeone and Aubrey White were the additional five.

There is a multitude of newcomers this season as well, including a few defenders, who will help rebuild the defense of Newton’s team:

  • Senior Kate McDade, defense
  • Senior Naya Pereira MF
  • Junior Madison Freda HB
  • Senior Kelly Perez MF
  • Junior Erin McLean, GK  
  • Sophomore Alyssa Payne-Parris GK
  • Junior Abby Nicholas HB
  • Junior Syd Cotter MF
  • Junior Syd Harding HB 
  • Junior Aaliyah Payne Parris F
  • Sophomore Gianna Carchia MF
  • Sophomore Ally Neill F
  • Junior Rose Steinberg MF  
  • Junior Sam Wechtler defense

Bechtel says that the challenge this year will be rebuilding the team’s defense and breaking in a new goalkeeper after losing Berkowitz to graduation, but the teams’ strengths are that there are players who can find the back of the cage.

Last year, Newton’s record under Bechtel was 15-4 and the Newton team was the NJAC Freedom Division Co-Champions.

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