The Vernon Township High School field hockey team has a veteran head coach who knows what it takes to win against tough competition and student athletes who have handled big challenges on the field.
The Vikings are scheduled to host Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Freedom Division opponent Jefferson on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
“We want to focus on being the absolute best we can be in every aspect and situation,’’ head coach Kieran Killeen said. “We push ourselves in everything we do.
The team’s goals are a division title and to compete in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state sectional and county tournament finals, he said.
Among the key returning players are seniors Jalyn Day (forward), Michaela Woolley (forward), Bailey Mann (midfield), Grace Tavares (defender) and Sidney Van Tassel (midfield); juniors Chloe DeBonta (defender), Abigail Mundhenk (midfield), Taryn Picariello (defender) and Abigail DeYoung (forward); and sophomore Abigail Cawley (midfield).
Promising newcomers include senior Makenna Thomas (forward, varsity letter winner as a sophomore who missed her junior season with a torn ACL); juniors Kelsey Callahan (defender) and Emily Getz (goal keeper); and sophomores Sabrina Conklin (defender), Kaylee Free (forward) and Teagan Ressler (forward).
All of the seniors will be looked on as leaders, Killeen said. “They are a great group of leaders.’’
The Vikings tallied a strong overall record of 12-7-1, with three victories in the NJAC Freedom Division last season.
They advanced to the NJSIAA North Jersey Group 2 Sectional Tournament, where they defeated Voorhees in the opening round. Vernon lost, 1-0, to West Milford in the sectional tournament quarterfinal round in 2022.
This fall, the Vikings compete in the NJAC Freedom Division along with Newton, Lenape Valley, Hackettstown and Jefferson.
Killeen views Newton, Lenape Valley and Hackettstown as among the top teams to beat in the division. “We are definitely a contender, but I think so too are the other teams in our division.”
We are definitely a contender, but I think so too are the other teams in our division.” - Kieran Killeen, head field hockey coach, Vernon Township High School