RANDOLPH, NJ- While 2019 was a struggle in the win / loss column for the Randolph Field Hockey team, it was a building block for the abundance of youth they sent out onto the field. Having lost only three seniors to graduation from that 3-14-2 season, the girls will return most of their team intact for 2020; one year older, stronger, and more experienced.
“Being very young and inexperienced last year really hurt us,” said coach Gina Adickes. “I am hoping with having a lot of returners and promising newcomers we will be very competitive in our pod, as well as prepared for our post season.”
Three key returners were named captain for this season in four year varsity starter Sidney Lusardi ( Senior ), three year varsity starter Sarah Bona ( Junior ) and second year starter Jordan Saybe ( Junior ).
“Sidney is our most experienced player having been on varsity all four years,” said Adickes. “She has seen us make it to the state finals, so I expect her to want to get there again and win in her final year.”
Lusardi herself echoes Adickes’ sentiments and understands the responsibility she has to teach the younger players.
“Being a four-year varsity player, I’ve had the opportunity to see how the team and program have changed over the years with the people entering and leaving it,” said Lusardi. “I’ve met some truly amazing leaders who have had a great influence on me. I take my knowledge of the game I’ve learned and share it with others to create an environment that encourages growth - and challenging yourself to do better and have fun.”
Coach Adickes also used some flattering words to describe Bona, a player who she also expects strong leadership from this season.
“Sarah is our most gifted player, I can put her anywhere, and she will get the job done,” said Adickes. “She is our tough cookie. She tells you how it is and that can be scary for some kids, but she knows what it takes to win a section championship so the girls should feed off that.”
Bona also commented on the chemistry and the bonds that the team feels they have entering the season.
“Since we have so many returning players from last year, our team chemistry has improved greatly,” said Bona. “We are a very close team on and off the field, and I feel that this will help us with our results this season. I am excited to see how we play moving forward.”
While Lusardi and Bona will spend most of their time helping to power the offense, the Lady Rams third captain ( Saybe ) will be protecting the house and anchoring the defense.
“Jordan is our most steady player, and she will be directing our back field,” said Adickes. “She has improved so much this year that her skills motivate the team. She is more of the silent captain but has so much power in her nonverbal's.”
As the last line of defense, the Rams will see Amanda Klopper in net, who returns from last year as well. About Klopper, Adickes stated, “I expect her to be more consistent on the field and more vocal, and since this is year two on varsity, I have high hopes for her.”
Adickes further went on to describe her team, stating, “Joelle Yurchuk and Riley Novack are two freshman that hold a lot of promise for this coming season. Two sophomore additions on the forward line are Anna stock and Sydney Jenish.”
Team chemistry and having so many returners were identified by Adickes as the key strengths of her squad. As for weakness, she says there are still some big holes on the field that she hopes those players who are stepping into those roles will improve each game.
“We were a very young team last year and with some of our key players looking even better this season we should have a very competitive year,” said Adickes. “Other key returners, some of whom are playing in new positions, are Bridget Byrnes, Olivia Pentz, Stephanie Goldberg, Gianna Drake and Katie Lachanski.”
The Lady Rams coaches have preached hard work, effort and focus to make sure the team is prepared, especially since this will be a shortened season due to Covid-19. It paid dividends in the teams first game, an 8-0 victory over Morris Hills.
“Throughout preseason, coach has been stressing the idea of continuous effort and no “garbage reps”,” said Bona. “What she means by that, is we should go through every drill, play, and activity with 100% effort to help build skills and chemistry working as a team.”
Lusardi has confidence that this will be a season to remember.
“Seeing how much everyone has improved, I expect us to go really far this season,” said Lusardi. “Every player knows the basics, and we have really great team chemistry, which is the foundation to the great team I know we are, and I believe our record is going to show this year.”
Bona led the team in the season opening win with 3 goals and 2 assists. Pentz and Dickson added two goals, while Drake and Stock tallied a goal each.