RANDOLPH — Despite graduating one of the program’s all-time greats, the Randolph High School field hockey team returns many starters and has developed strong determination as it heads into the 2017 season looking to accomplish even more than last year.
While TT Naslonski, last year's scoring leader, is no longer a Ram (she now plays Div. 1 lacrosse at Rutgers Univ.), Randolph’s greatest asset this fall will be experience. That’s because they return a trio of returning seniors and juniors back to the field. With seasoned varsity experience, Randolph has a pretty formidable look heading into 2017.
“The whole team is ready to be on the game page. Literally from the team banquet last year, the team knew it had to step up because it would be a whole new game for them,” said head coach Gina Adickes, entering her second year as head coach for Randolph. “It’s a big deal for them, and I know they have the heart and commitment. They knew from the get-go that it’ll be a whole new experience for sure.”
It will be a whole new experience because Randolph will have to renovate its scoring system as a result of Naslonski’s graduation. In 2016, Randolph netted 51 total goals; Naslonski accounted for 38 of them.
No longer able to rely on the multi-sport star to do all the scoring, Randolph will have to adapt to more of a passing-style offense, with ball movement at a premium. They will also have a more diverse unit of goal scorers and will have to utilize the entire field more.
“With TT Naslonski, it was more of hitting the ball up the middle of the field and we just left it to her. Now, it’s a whole new passing game. We had to go back to the basics, like learning how to pass flat-and-through, and learning how to dodge people,” said coach Adickes. “It’s not just TT leading the pack now — we’re getting more different scoring people, which is nice.”
One of those different scoring players will be senior Erin Corrigan, a Franklin and Marshall commit. Named a captain this year, Corrigan led anybody not named TT Naslonski in scoring last year, finding the back of the goal five times. She also led the team in assists with nine. Corrigan's intensity on the field will be relied upon to keep the Rams going this fall.
“Last year, I was surrounded by some really great players and we were able to come together and come at it from behind, win conference championship, come to state semis,” said Corrigan. “We had a lot of big, important games, and being surrounded by that allowed me to step up and lead me to have one of my better seasons.”
Joining Corrigan on the front line will be Olivia Meyers, Sydney Lassardi — a freshman — and Carly Snarski.
“Definitely [looking to improve] our passing game [from last year]. Last year we did a lot of running; I want us to connect more on our passes from the midfield to the forward line and keep everybody playing together,” said Corrigan.
Erin Corrigan won’t be the only senior Corrigan on the team. Heck, she won’t even be the only captain Corrigan on the team. That’s because Erin’s sister, Meghan, will be a senior leader at the forefront of Randolph’s defense.
Meghan Corrigan will be the leader of the defensive corps that includes Sarah Leneghan, Mackenzie Sheehan, and Jaime Hennig. Many of those girls were cogs on last season’s D which limited opponents — many of whom carried robust scorers — to an average of just 1.4 goals per game.
Adickes on her defense: “Defensively, we are doing pretty well. Right now, it looks like we’re pretty set and all my seniors lead the defensive end, too. My junior goalie, she’s been a three-year letter starter for us, so she is on top of everything.”
Her goalie, Mackenzie Vorel, is one of the best keepers in Morris County and should be a wall in front of the goal for Randolph. A junior, Vorel recorded 155 saves a year ago and owns 266 in her career.
“I have never seen someone come in as confident as she is. Mackenzie has done such phenomenal things — clubs, clinics — to get better. She has that confidence that you need,” Adickes said. “The best part about her is she’s very agile. A lot of goalies are a lot bigger; she’s kind of short, but she’s agile, ready to dive all over the floor just to get the ball out.”
As a unit, Randolph will be trying to stop some of the best teams in New Jersey, as it plays a very challenging schedule. Key games include Opening Day against Montclair on Sept. 5; hosting Morristown on Oct. 4; meetups with Roxbury on Sept. 19 and Oct. 21; and matches with West Morris on Sept. 27 and Oct. 12.
“We did a lot of offseason work. We really put ourselves out there and tried out best to deal with it before the season even came,” said Erin Corrigan.
“We’ve seen what we need to do, and how it should go for us to be successful.”