Field Hockey Preview:
By Bob Grimmie
After finishing 7-6-2 and losing 2-1 in overtime to Toms River East in the first round of last year's state tournament, the Edgewood High School field hockey team suffered a major blow; graduation.
Gone are last season's captains, Shea Brendell, Jill Reichart, Kristen Mc Cullen and Eric Umosella. Brendell now plays for Division I Monmouth College and Reichart is a member of Division III Trenton State's field hockey program. Also lost to graduation was last season's goal scoring leader Jackie Stamper.
As a result, only two starters and one girl with any significant varsity experience are returning. Seniors Jenn Goobic, Mandie Walker and Andera Ulicny are this season's tri-captains. Goobic and Walker are the two returning starters.
Head coach Gina McGee is going to have to rely on the strength of her underclassmen. The junior class is returning 23 players. Despite their lack of varsity experience, the younger players are prepared to make a positive impact on the team.
"A lot of them (the juniors) went to camp and they played indoor in the winter. So, they knew they'd be filling a lot of spots," said McGee. "This year they're working real hard and they're real enthusiastic."
"Most of the girls have played since the seventh grade," said Walker.
As the seniors and the captains of a young team, Walker, Goobic and Ulicny understand their importance to the overall success of the season.
"Me and Jenn and Andrea really need to step up and not be forceful, but helpful," said Walker.
The team has set a goal to finish with a better then five hundred record and a place in the state tournament. McGee feels that as her team gains experience and confidence over the course of the regular season, they could be dangerous in the tournament, if they can make it.
"I think there's gona be a lot of kinks in the beginning," said McGee. "I think we'll surprise a few teams."
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