SCOTCH PLAINS/FAWOOD, NJ -- Coming off the best season in the program's history, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Field Hockey team is looking to make some noise in their new division after moving up this year. Led by head coach Alexandra Neidig, the girls are ready to go for what is expected to be a huge season for them.
"We have a strong team and I think they can use these next 8 games to continue to make a name for themselves. We have a great group of girls this year, and I am honored I get to coach them," Neidig said.
There were minimal roster changes as the program only graduated two seniors last year, all-star defender Cassidy Novello, and forward Erin Lay.
"Both girls were fantastic field hockey players and leaders on and off our field. Cassidy controlled our defensive end while Erin controlled our attack," the coach said. "Losing both of them is going to be challenging, but the girls have done a great job stepping up to fill their roles."
Aside from those players, the entire rest of the team is returning with the additions of freshman goalie Gabbie Rijo, who is starting in the absence of the injured starter Emilia Saccento, and Emilia's sister Audrey Saccento.
Due to COVID-19, the team missed out on their summer league for preparation, and had a shortened pre-season. This caused the girls to miss out on lots of valuable time spent together in order to gear up for the season. Despite this challenge, Neidig says the girls have taken the changes in stride to make the most of the situation.
"It was challenging but the girls did the best with what they had and really did a good job at using our in-person two-week pre-season to prepare for our season," she said.
Moving through this challenge, Coach Neidig also commended her captains for stepping up as leaders during this atypical pre-season.
"Allie Serio and Erica Schug have done a great job stepping up as leaders during all the COVID related challenges, they have helped me and my other coaches get things done, and helped the team remain focused," she said.
Listing Columbia, with whom they split wins with last year, and Westfield as big games for the team this season, Neidig is looking forward to facing off against these teams.
"Westfield is our town rival and just a fun team to play against in general with how intense the rivalry is. Columbia gave us a good run last year. They beat us 6-0 the first time we played them, and then we came back and beat them in overtime. I'm excited to have the opportunity to match up against these two teams again this season," said Neidig.
The composition of the team this year may not have changed much, but Coach Neidig is looking for some big things out of her offense as she says they are usually a defensive minded team. Listing junior midfielder Meagan Bourke, senior attack Haley Cino, and senior midfielder Allie Serio as key pieces of the teams' offense, she says that each of these girls bring skills to the table that will jump start their offense and lead the charge to score more goals this season
"Meagan has a very strong shot and good ball skills, Haley is a quick player with very good ball control, and Allie is a strong leader and hard worker," said Neidig.
Some younger players on the team are also expected to step up this year. With returning goalie Emilia Saccento out with an injury, freshman Gabbie Rijo is holding it down for the team in net. Additionally, sophomore returner Sophia Novello, who learned from her sister Cassidy last year, is due for a big season on defense and is expected to do a great job filing her sister's shoes.
As the team gets ready to begin their season, Coach Neidig says they have to improve offensively, and continue to work on communication as a team.
"Field Hockey is a very big communication sport, especially in front of the goal box, this will be important for our offensive success." Overall, the team is expecting lots of good things to come from this season and are eager to get started. We are happy to have the opportunity to have any games at all this season," Neidig said.
"Even though it isn't even half the amount of games we normally play we are really looking forward to seeing what our team looks like a division up" said Neidig. "I am looking forward to seeing how the season will go under these circumstances, I commend our team and all fall athletes for staying strong and focused as they return to play."
- Olivia Calcaterra - Senior
- Haley Cino - Senior
- Abby Conklin - Senior
- Erica Schug - Senior
- Allie Serio - Senior
- Meagan Bourke - Junior
- Brenna DeProspero - Junior
- Bridget Ennis - Junior
- Cece Kelly - Junior
- Rachel Manette - Junior
- Sophia Novello - Junior
- Emilia Saccento - Junior
- Julia Zambrio - Junior
- Ali Murphy - Sophomore
- Olivia Stahley - Sophomore
- Maya Viscardi-Carelse - Sophomore
- Gabriella Rijo - Freshman
- Audrey Saccento - Freshman
- Monday, 10/05/2020, 4:00 p.m., @ Westfield High School
- Wednesday, 10/07/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs Columbia, @ Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS - Tyson Field
- Friday, 10/09/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs Montclair, @ Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS - Tyson Field
- Wednesday, 10/14/2020, 4:00 p.m., @ Glen Ridge
- Friday, 10/16/2020, 7:00pm, vs. Arthur L. Johnson, @ Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS - Tyson Field
- Wednesday, 10/21/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs. Kent Place, @ Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS - Tyson Field
- Friday, 10/23/2020, 4:00 p.m., @ Millburn High School
- Wednesday, 10/28/2020, 4:00 p.m., @ Montclair Kimberly Academy
- Saturday, 10/31/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs TBA (UCT Round 1)
- Wednesday, 11/04/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs TBA (UCT Quarterfinal)
- Friday, 11/06/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs TBA (UCT Semifinal)
- Wednesday, 11/11/2020, 4:00 p.m., vs TBA (UCT Final)
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