Warriors Post Solid Results in Shortened Season
Junior captain Abby Amara and the Valley Regional field hockey squad had a season full of surprises including being shut down before they could take part in the Shoreline Conference Tournament. Amara earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors for the Warriors. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Sophomore goalie Fallyn Belisle provided a steady presence in the cage for the Warriors this year. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior captain Grace Haskins earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention playing a solid midfield. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Valley Regional field hockey team turned in a solid season this year, but it was a campaign cut short.
The Warriors would have taken part in the Shoreline Conference Tournament as the No. 4 seed, but due to positive COVID-19 tests at Valley Regional, the school had to temporarily close. Still, the Warriors ended up with a record of 2-4-2-2 on the season with only one senior on the roster, and they are primed for a big year in 2021.
Given what has happened over the course of the year, Head Coach Beth McCabe Powers went into season knowing that it could be called off at anytime, and she tried to keep her student-athletes prepared for that eventuality.
“It’s been weird. We were in limbo until that Monday when they made the decision. Of course there were a lot of people affected by the quarantine including teachers and students. There was enough to pull the plug. It was super disappointing, but safety first,” said McCabe Powers. “Westbrook shut down about a week before we shut down. I was saying at practice, ‘Enjoy yourself because you don’t know when this is going to end.’ I wanted to prep them. Of course there was profound disappointment, but I haven’t been around them at all since then to see how everyone is.”
Coach McCabe Powers lauded her senior captain Lauren Weigman for taking such a proactive role in helping the squad deal with the disappointment missing out on the postseason.
“We haven’t had closure so it’s lingering. I’ve talked to Lauren a lot, and she makes everything easy for me. Before we even knew, she was saying all the appropriate things,” McCabe Powers said. “It made the blow easier because she’s an outstanding human being. She would be figured as the most upset as a senior, and she was ahead of it. That made my life a lot easier.”
All of the Warriors’ captains have played major roles this year as evidenced by some of the hardware they earned after the conclusion of the season. Weigman earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention along with junior captain Grace Haskins. Junior captain Margaret Jacaruso earned All-Shoreline Conference Second Team recognition, while junior captain Abby Amara garnered All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors. Also receiving First Team acknowledgment was junior Brooke Lavigne.
Amara and Lavigne are two of the Warriors’ best players in the midfield and backfield, respectively. Coach McCabe Powers believes they will be even better next season.
“In my opinion, Abby’s the most talented ball handler in the league. I’m her coach, so take that for what it’s worth, but I’m sure people agree with me because she’s on the first team. She commands the midfield and really moves the ball upfield. You can’t take your eyes off her. She’s not mistake free, but she does amazing things to get around people. She’s just so talented,” McCabe Powers said. “Brooke’s just the most chillaxed person you’ll meet. She’s leads the defense and calls out plays. She’s super smooth, and not much gets by her. She’s a talented, solid, calm defenseman. She understands hockey. She knows the lanes. Her hockey IQ is very high.”
Jacaruso had a heavy hand in the Warriors’ offense this season and should be in a similar position next year, even though she could play anywhere.
“Maragaret cuts better than anyone on the team. She’ll play anywhere I put her. She’s smart and savvy in front of the goal, but if I need her at right wing to deliver the ball instead of score, she can do it. She’s super versatile,” McCabe Powers said. “The only reason she’s not on first team is that we didn’t score enough goals as a team. I also demand more from her than being just a goal scorer. She was one of our highest scorers. Margaret had more goals and Abby had more assists.”
Alongside Amara in the midfield was Haskins, who had a great year as well, but she did miss a good chunk of the season due to a precautionary quarantine.
“Grace had a good but shortened season. She was quarantined due to exposure. Unfortunately, she missed the first four games, and then we canceled the end of the year,” said McCabe Powers. “She made a good comeback when she returned at the left midfield. She doesn’t have the numbers because of the missed games, but she shored up the midfield upon her return.”
One of the biggest success stories of the year had to be sophomore goalie Fallyn Belisle. The sophomore keeper had a tall task this season and handled it with aplomb.
“Fallyn was awesome this year. She played JV as a freshman and was thrust into this position on short notice. I couldn’t be more proud of her. It’s hard to up your game that much in five weeks. We’re all proud of her. She’s getting better every day. Look out world next year,” said McCabe Powers. “She’s a quietly confident kid who understands the situation. She’s learning on the fly and doing an awesome job. A lot of times I would say to the team that they better thank Fallyn or else you wouldn’t even be in this game.”
Coach McCabe Powers know that this year wasn’t what she or any of her student-athletes had expected, but they have another shot next year with only senior captain Weigman graduating. Coach McCabe Powers has big expectations for next season.
“It went weirdly, but not bad. We hoped for better for sure, but given all the trials, tribulations, and bumps in the road, we played okay. We wanted a better record, but we tried to overcome every obstacle that came our way,” said McCabe Powers. “Make no mistake, we’ll be a team to beat next year because of how many returning players we have. Hopefully COVID will die down, and we can get some work in in the summer. There’s no back step for us this year. You are normally replacing four to six people; we’re just replacing one. There will be no panic at tryouts next year.”