Scotties’ help out competition
Jan 29, 2013 07:11AM ● Published by Community News Service
After the Shore Regional High School field hockey team defeated Bordentown Regional 11-2 in last year’s state tournament quarterfinal game, Scotties head coach Julie Reisig knew that the girls had more fight in them than they showed.
The team members got the chance to show that to Shore this year when they found themselves in an identical scenario.
For the other team, though, it was different. Shore is located in Long Branch, a town that Hurricane Sandy hit hard. In fact, four of the players lost their homes and everything inside.
While they were preparing for the game, the Scotties decided to do something about it.
Reisig said assistant coach Lisa Wendel sent an email to Bordentown’s staff requesting donations to take to the game, and many teachers more than obliged.
“They just gave us bags and bags of stuff,” she said. “Most of our players put together their own bags. I would say we started collecting about 48 hours before the game, and we really got a lot of stuff. It put things into perspective for the girls. They know there are more important things than field hockey.”
Senior Emily Meszaros said she donated items like toiletries and school supplies.
“We tried to think of anything they could have lost,” she said. “We all want to help each other out. Even though we’re competitors during games, we’re all people, too.”
Shore went on to defeat the Scotties 3-0, but Reisig was as happy with her team’s play as she was with its generosity.
“We actually held them scoreless for the first 29 minutes,” she said. “We were better prepared. We were working on finishing our scoring, and our defense tightened up. We peaked at the right time. We’re starting to take the program step-by-step to a higher level.”
That is putting it modestly. The team has broken at least one school record in each of Reisig’s four years as head coach. This year alone, the squad set records in season goals (70), goals per game (3.33), and goal differential (+28). They tied their own record for wins with 12 and went 12-9 on the year.
Michelle Hazlett, a sophomore, has seen the team through several years of play.
“My older sisters all played, so seeing the team progress from when I was watching on the sidelines to now is really awesome,” she said.
One of Michelle’s sisters, Melanie, was a standout for the Scotties who graduated last year. The loss of her and goalkeeper Alicia Carthan, among others, created some gaps that Reisig needed to fill.
Her team rose to the occasion.
New goalkeeper Suzy Mansour said that while she was sad to see Carthan, her “mentor,” graduate, she was ready to step into the cage.
“It was a little bit scary,” she said. “I was nervous my first game, but now I go in confident. I just go out there and do what I love.”
In addition to Hazlett and Mansour, other underclassmen such as Cait Nitschmann stepped up fill the voids the last year’s seniors left.
“It’s awesome,” Meszaros said. “I love seeing all of the younger kids and all the potential for the upcoming seasons.”
It seems like other coaches see their potential, as well. Meszaros, Nitschmann, and junior Koedi Shakir were all named to the Burlington County Scholastic league All-Star team. Senior Madison Peppler and junior Jessica Carey made the second team.
“It means these girls gave the opposition enough trouble that they made note of them and voted for them,” Reisig said. “To me, it is the ultimate all-star honor to be selected by your opponents.”
Reisig and members of the team said that a good portion of its success is due to the fact that many of the girls play together on club teams during the offseason.
“Most of us play together before preseason even starts,” Hazlett said. “We get a chance to get to know each other on the field, to play together, get the chemistry. Then, when preseason starts, we’re able to go right into the stuff we need to start the season.”
Reisig said that is her aim.
“All of those strong teams, the more club players they have, the better they do,” she said. “I’m just trying to expose them and get them to see really good hockey.”
Overall, Reisig said she is pleased not only with the way the season turned out, but also with what it means for the future of the program.
“We just really want to take it from where we left off,” she said. “I really am looking forward to reloading and filling in. We have a lot of the same kids coming out. I do think we have a lot of unfinished business this year. This season was very satisfying, and I’m looking forward to next year.”