Unionville seniors ready to lead the way to PIAA glory
By Dave Conard Sports Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
BUCKTOWN—Finishing second in the district and qualifying for an exclusive PIAA class AAAA State tournament berth doesn’t happen very often.
In fact, the last time Unionville qualified for the state tournament, prior to first year head coach Madison Weary guiding them through the district playoffs last season into the state tourney, Alanis Morrisette, Seal and TLC were topping the charts.
As the 2012 season opens for the Indians, the Unionville players will be drawing on the valuable playing experience gained in last season’s play off run to fuel their pursuit of a Ches-Mont, District and possibly a Pennsylvania State championship.
Head coach Beth Wheeler, in her fist year as varsity coach, is well aware of the pitfalls and distractions that can derail the best made plans of even the best teams in the district, including her Indians.
“One of our biggest challenges this season will be maintaining that high intensity while we work in some more of our younger girls,” said Wheeler, who played at the college level and coached at Kutztown University. “I am really excited about the season and can’t wait to how well our returning veterans perform.”
With 80 percent of the starting squad returning this season the sky should be the limit for the Indians as they battle through the rigors of a brutal Ches-Mont League schedule and into the post season, but just as anything else in life nothing I guaranteed.
“We are all very excited to start the year,” said sophomore Logan Perkins. “We have some seniors that are awesome and it should be fun to see what we can do as a team.”
“Everyone has really been working well together so far,” said Sophomore Izzy McDonough, who has played since field hockey fifth grade. “We need to stay focused each game and take them one at a time, as long as we communicate and help each we can really put some pressure on the other teams.”
With returning seniors Alex DiFelice, Annabeth Donovan and Katja Hansen, who have been named captains along with Eleni Kirifides and Briel Hartzell the Indians will be chock full of leadership to compliment the senior goal tending duo of Katie Rogers and Morgan Cassidy.
“It does help in a huge way to have so many people that have playing experience,” said Katja Hansen, who recently committed to play field hockey for St. Joseph University. “It’s a new season and we really have to approach it game by game. The way we communicate is huge especially with our goal tenders, it all starts there and they have done a great job so far.”
Through out the bench and huddles there seemed to be a repeating theme as the Indians prepared for a day long play day battle with five of the state’s best teams at Owen J. Roberts High School on Saturday.
“As a coach I take the season on a game by game basis,” added Wheeler. “We need to play our game, we cant get caught up in what the opposition is doing, if we force them to play our game we will be very tough to beat.”
Check back with the UnionvilleTimes.com for a complete review of Saturday’s action along with player and coaches comments and reactions to having a chance to even a score so to speak with the Wildcats, who defeated Unionville in last years district final.