The girls ice hockey team opened its season with wins over Summit High School and The Pingry School. With two wins, the team has matched its total number of victories from last season and is one short of its total for the last four seasons combined. Co-Captain Isabelle Sohn ’16 hopes that this winning form will continue.
“We’ve gained some valuable players and have a strong group of returning players so overall we are hoping to be better than last year,” she said.
Some of this experience lies in the girls’ defense, with Julia Ditosto ’15 and Allie Callaway ’16 as returning starters, as well as newcomer Alexa Zammit ’18 and Co-Captain Brittney Coniglione ’15. “There is not really one place that we have our skilled players, but our defense is very strong this year … so we’re pretty excited about that,” Sohn said.
“[Callaway and Zammit] being a part of the team this year has really improved our defense because they really know the strategies of how you’re supposed to go about defending,” said Maggie Herring ’17, right wing. “Julia and Brittney are also really strong on defense, and they’re really aggressive.”
The team practices a couple times each week before school from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Due to the limited time on the ice, the girls have to make sure that they use their practices wisely and target their weaknesses. Maggie Herring said, “Ice hockey is one of those sports where you’re constantly moving, so an hour is really all you need to skate and do your drills and get what you need to get done.”
In order to keep improving, the girls have kept their drills from last year that they benefitted the most from and have also added some to their arsenal. “We do a drill about breaking into and out of a zone with the puck and that’s pretty helpful because then you’re in the mindset of what you will be trying to do in games,” Sohn said. “We also do a drill called the butterfly, which works on both passing and shooting, which are two very important skills, so that one is definitely extremely helpful as well.”
Maggie Herring added how the girls have been working a lot more on the fundamentals. “Everyone’s developing a lot more because Herzog is having us skate a lot more. I think that’s helping us improve because skating is one of the main factors of hockey, and that’s really what you need to improve on first.”
In addition to some changes in players and practices, the girls team has also gained a new assistant coach, Dominic Capuano. “I think everyone is excited to have Mr. Capuano on board this year and hopefully we’ll win some games this season with him and Coach Herzog,” Sohn said. To complement leadership from the coaching side, Sohn is one of three captains this year, joining Coniglione and Lucy Herring ’15.
“I absolutely think that this season will be stronger than the last; we’ve gained some valuable players and have a strong group of returning players so overall we are hoping to have a good year,” Sohn said.
“Starting off this season 2–0 is really exciting. I think since we already have that lead, we’re going to have a very successful season. And I can already see improvement in our new players, in their skating, stick handling, and knowledge of the game,” Maggie Herring said. “I think everyone will improve a lot this year and that it will be a good season.”