Mia Costello has been a starter on the field hockey team for three years now, beginning when she was a sophomore. During that span, the senior co-captain says she has witnessed the team evolve and become a closer group, especially this year. She cites that as just one of many assets that are energizing the team and will, hopefully, lead the group to avenge their season-ending overtime heartbreaker at the 2022 WPIAL 2A semifinals.
“Last year’s ending was disappointing, but the veteran players are bringing an intensity for a winning season,” says senior co-captain Annalese Bartolacci. “Everyone has gotten behind the idea that we have something to prove. We have been working all summer on building our chemistry and in the first two weeks of practice, have focused on teamwork, strategic passing, and scoring.”
Mia agrees and adds, “Many of us can play multiple positions, so we all have grown in terms of team chemistry, but also our skills. There’s always a learning curve whenever we shift people around to fill gaps from last year, but I’m confident in our ability to work together.
“After a recent preseason scrimmage, I noticed that our passing was possibly the best it’s ever been, and all of us genuinely seemed to have a great time playing. Right now, we’re focused on scoring more goals as well as moving the ball more effectively in the circle. We’ve been doing a good job getting the ball up the field; we just must keep it up there long enough to find the back of the cage.”
Coach Emily Humiston also is pleased with what she has witnessed so far. “Last year, we had some very talented players and then some very good players, but this year we are good all over the field, and nobody sees themselves as having to take responsibility to put the game on their shoulders,” she says. “Each year, we lose some good players, but I think we’ve done a good job of refreshing. This season’s lineup is strong and experienced, and includes many seniors and some first-off-the-bench players from last season.”
Among those returners is WPIAL Class 2A all-section keeper junior Gina Fitzsimmons and honorable mention recipients Annalese and senior Mira Busch. Also back is sophomore Emma Srodes, who started as a freshman and played almost every minute of every game, and sophomore Brooke Thiele, who also had a breakout freshman season. Other players expected to make significant contributions are seniors Camyrn Eisner and Molly Ben, and sophomore Katie Siddons, another player whose rookie year in 2022 was quite impressive.
The last time the Foxes won the WPIAL title was in 2016, but the players believe this might be the year to update that statistic.
“Even this early on, I can tell that the teamwork on the field is going to be special,” Annalese says.