SHRUB OAK, N.Y. — North Salem played a spirited second half, led by two goals from rising sophomore Jessica Reiner before falling to Valhalla 4-2 in the seventh-place game of the Hudson Valley Summer Field Hockey League on Aug. 8 at Lakeland High School.
“I am really happy that she stepped up,” North Salem coach Jen Frohman said. “She didn’t get a lot of time this year because she had been injured, but she actually was on our varsity as a freshman but didn’t get any playing time really because she’d been injured, so it’s nice to see her back and at full strength and able to step up when we needed it.”
Reiner’s second goal cut Valhalla’s lead to 3-2 in the second half.
“We were all fighting really hard in the circle for it and I was able to get a touch off it, a hard shot into the corner,” Reiner said.
Valhalla scored the final goal of the game for the two-goal difference but it couldn’t take away the improvement North Salem made from the first half of the game, when it trailed 2-0.
“Coach gave us a good pep talk at halftime,” Reiner said. “She was like, ‘We don’t care if we lose the game 10-0, as long as we are using our skills and playing better.’”
North Salem (4-4-1) also was able to nicely develop its field skills in this contest as each team was playing without a goalie.
“You are able to sometimes get in goals that normally the goalie might be able to block,” Reiner said. “It can be hard defensive wise but it helps us get better at defense.”
Reiner said she enjoyed her time playing in the summer league and felt it was beneficial to her team.
“It’s definitely always good to get extra practice and that’s what this summer league is all about for our team,” Reiner said. “We’re not always going for the win, we’re not always trying to get first place but we always get lots of extra playing time to get ready for the season.”
Frohman felt this summer league is extra important for her team since it lacks senior leadership.
“We lost six seniors to graduation, we have no seniors,” Frohman said. “There is a lot we are trying to figure out. We are a young group here playing, but we’re trying to find some leadership out of this group. There were some really big shoes to fill of the girls we graduated, so it’s a work in progress.”
Another reason why Frohman, who is entering her 19th season this fall, likes summer league is for the opportunity to play on turf.
“We don’t have turf so it’s great to get to play on a better surface,” Frohman said. “They worked on their smaller game and their ball control that we don’t get a chance to work on every day because we play on grass at North Salem.”
The summer league also held its all-star game on Aug. 8 at Lakeland, with the Blue All-Stars defeating the Red All-Stars 3-2. North Salem’s Ally O’Sullivan and Kaitlyn Thayer both played for the Blue squad.