CLINTON TWP. — The return of nine starters coupled with an influx of young talent has Lackawanna Trail field hockey coach Gary Wilmet excited for the start of the season.
Senior Cali Fauquier is expected to move from forward to defense, senior Rachael Beemer returns as a midfielder, senior Samantha Baltrusaitis will switch from goalie to forward, junior Willow Burnell returns as a defender, junior Isabella Jagoe will likely move from defense to forward, sophomore Olivia Rosengrant is back as a defender, sophomore Elizabeth Litwin returns as a forward, and sophomores Isabella Coleman and Morgan Faist return in the midfield.
Freshman Lilly Rejrat is expected to take over as the starting goalie. Senior Alyssa Fowler and junior Paige Hyde will see time at forward, and junior Brianna Jenkins will be the team’s sweeper.
“We have a lot of experience coming back even though we’re still pretty young,” Wilmet said. “We have really good depth; we have a lot freshmen who are going to make an impact.”
Wilmet acknowledged the team struggled a little bit last season while adjusting to his coaching style, but feels the group is moving in the right direction.
“I think we’re ahead of where we were last year,” he said. “The girls were adapting to a new system and we had a lot of growing pains. Everybody came in with a really positive attitude since the first day and they’ve really been working hard.”
According to Beemer, several members of the team put in extra work during the offseason and it showed during a recent scrimmage.
“A lot of girls went up to Keystone during the week to practice,” she said. “I think we looked really good.”
The Lady Lions won four games last year and Fauquier believes the squad has the potential to be a district contender.
“We lost three key starters, but a lot of the younger girls coming up are very experienced with field hockey because it’s their (main) sport,” she said. “I think as long as we work hard and hustle, we can get there.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.