2019 High School Field Hockey Preview: Shooting for success

Johnstown’s Alexa Savage (11) and Gloversville’s Celia Meher, right, look to control the ball during Tuesday’s Foothills Council field hockey game at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

In the early stages of the season, the Gloversville and Johnstown field hockey teams are off to solid starts.

The Lady Bills are off to a 5-0 start with wins over Red Hook, Scotia-Glenville, Schuylerville, Queensbury and Gloversville.

Johnstown has outscored its first five opponents by a combined 26-2 margin.

Gloversville has already matched last season’s win total with a non-league victory over Ichabod Crane.

After losing in the Section II Class C title game to Hoosick Falls last season, the Lady Bills are on a mission to claim their first sectional crown since 2011.

Johnstown, which went 18-1 overall last year, lost forward Maddie Etherton and defenders Molly Lake and Rachel Lee to graduation. All three were Foothills Council all-stars. Etherton was named to the first team after finishing with 17 goals and 15 assists last season, while Lake also was named to the first team. Lee was a second-team selection.

Despite losing three key contributors, the Lady Bills return plenty of experience this season.

“We have a lot of depth across the board and that, will ultimately help us,” Johnstown coach Christine Krempa said. “We have been working really hard to put ourselves in a position where we don’t just have one or two people who are threats. We have been focusing on making smart passing choices, ball movement, and communication which will allow us to be more aggressive on attack. We are looking to get the shots off quickly and create more scoring opportunities.”

Senior midfielders Emily Frank and Abby Hollister return for Johnstown, along with juniors Taryn Ringer (forward), Anna Lee (forward), Kanako Sasaki (forward), Molly Memrick (forward), Emily Fleming (midfield), Haley Case (midfield), Sarah Pratt (defense), Meghan Mraz (defense) and Abby VanValkenburgh (goalie).

Also back is sophomore forward Kalena Eaton.

Ringer scored 43 goals and had 16 assists last season for Johnstown. She was named a first-team Foothills Council all-star and first-team all-state. Ringer, who has 12 goals and two assists in five games this season for Johnstown, is committed to Duke University to play field hockey.

Lee posted 22 goals and six assists for the Lady Bills last year, while Eaton had nine goals and 12 assists. Both were named second-team Foothills Council all-stars.

Fleming had 13 goals and 11 assists for Johnstown as a sophomore, earning first-team Foothills Council and first-team all-state status.

Hollister was named a second-team Foothills Council all-star after recording six assists.

Pratt and VanValkenburgh, who had 12 shutouts in 2018, were named Foothills Council honorable mention last year.

Rounding out the Johnstown roster are newcomers Abbie Mullins, Alexa Savage, Jaden Wilson and Emily Pertell.

“On defense we have been working on being patient, making smart decisions and working on our outlet passing,” Krempa said. “We have a lot of experience, a talented bench and are fast and determined. I am looking forward to where this team can take itself this year.”

Gloversville lost Jenna Carbone and Caitlin Lawton to graduation. Carbone was named Foothills Council honorable mention last year and is now playing for Utica College.

The Huskies return several players from last year’s team, including Sidney DeMagistris, Rileigh Baldwin, Sophia Danise, Krstin Farley, Loghan Ovitt, Kimi Hastings, Jordan DeMagistris, Celia Meher, Maddie Smeallie and Alex Szabo.

Baldwin and DeMagistris were named first-team Foothills Council all-stars last year, while Jordan DeMagistris and Ovitt were named to the second team. Meher earned honorable-mention status.

Newcomers Madde Jones and Alyssa Parker round out the Gloversville roster.

“We’re looking forward to a more competitive season with more experienced players and more wins,” Gloversville coach Amy Romeyn said.

Both teams are slated to be in action today. Johnstown is set to host Glens Falls at Knox Field at 5 p.m., while Gloversville is scheduled to host Scotia-Glenville at 7 p.m.

By Paul Wager

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