VERONA, NJ - After a 40 year hiatus, field hockey returns to Verona High School.  Competing as a junior varsity team, the VHS field hockey team opens its season eager to grow, with high expectations of success. 

    “I expect success.  These girls are athletic, they have heart and they want to win.  I think what they are lacking right now is confidence and as they play more games they are going to become more confident and have the feeling that we can do this,” said Head Coach Kristen Cassano.

    In the cage Verona will employ a committee approach with two freshman at the helm. Ava Perry and Ashlee Vargas will each see time at the position after having only a handful of days to experience the rigors at the position.

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    “[Perry and Vargas] have very little experience, but they are not afraid as the ball is coming at them.  They clear their shots and they communicate with their players…all in all I’d say they have promise, they are hard working,” said Cassano.

    Defensively Verona will have two key youngsters in front of the cage looking to grow. Freshman Olivia Egan and sophomore Sydney Theilmeier will look to help protect the cage from oncoming attackers and have done a fine job allowing just two goals in their last two-preseason contests.

    “[Egan] is very good at seeing the situation developing.  She pressures the ball, she communicates with her players and has a good eye for knowing where to be at the right time and [Theilmeier] does as well,” said Cassano. 

    In the midfield the Hillbillies will use sophomore Ella Mathewson and senior Alexa Friedman. The duo is expected to help transition the offensive attack with their ball handling and passing skills. 

    “[Mathewson] has done very well, she’s very good at decking the ball, passing it off and she comes up with the ball on corners,” said Cassano.

    The attack for Verona will be the group with the most age, but perhaps the least playing experience. Clara Frizzi joins fellow senior Belinda Pecci and sophomore Marykate Dougherty to put the ball in the cage for Verona.

    “We are working on the attack, they are definitely working on being more aggressive in the circle and taking more shots on the net.  Our passing is getting better coming down the field, they are starting to communicate better…they are definitely showing potential,” said Cassano. 

    Verona will open up their season on September 5. 

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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