Preseason practices and scrimmages give a coaching staff an excellent opportunity to decide which athletes will work best together and what strategy to best implement once the regular season gets underway.
Of course, sometimes the proper game plan may not unfold right away in the regular season and there are always adjustments to be made in terms of strategy in sports.
But, one local team that appears to be clicking well on all cylinders from their opening contest of the regular season onward is the Vernon High School field hockey program.
The Vikings captured victory in their first four games this fall. On Sept. 24, they are scheduled to host High Point.
Players on the varsity squad this fall include Haley DeBonta (senior, captain, midfield), Hannah Van Blarcom (senior, midfield), Hailey Minter (senior, forward), Carlie Van Tassel (senior, captain, forward), Alice Beutel (senior, goal keeper), Madison Hordych (junior, defense), Rebecca Bogdewicz (junior, defense), Aleah Germinario (junior, defense), Alicia Mihalko (junior, midfield), Alyssa Van Dalinda (junior, forward), Julia Gregory (sophomore, forward) and Natalie Hasert (sophomore, midfield).
“All five seniors are leading this program in fine fashion both on and off the field,’’ Vernon head coach Kieran Killeen said.
The Vikings play in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division along with Hackettstown, Newton, High Point and Wallkill Valley.
“I think this year's Conference is going to be really tight,’’ Killeen said. “All the teams we face can turn it on and take control of the game. I think every game in the Conference is up for grabs, but I believe Vernon has the talent and drive to be a real contender for the title this year.’’
Vernon completed the 2018 season with an overall record of 8-9-2.
“The players and coaching staff have spent time discussing and coming up with goals that we are all passionate about and will strive together to achieve,’’ Killeen said. “With the quality of competition we will be facing this year, we know we have set our sights high but we feel we have the ability to get there.
“[We want to] win our Conference and be the best team in Sussex County for 2019,’’ Killeen said. “[We also want to] score three times more goal than we let in and score on 30% of attacking corners, concede on 10% or less of defensive corners.’’
“The players and coaching staff have spent time discussing and coming up with goals that we are all passionate about and will strive together to achieve.With the quality of competition we will be facing this year, we know we have set our sights high but we feel we have the ability to get there.Vernon field hockey coach Kieran Killeen