They may be young and inexperienced, but the Lady Hornets are also aggressive, explosive and entertaining.
On a sun-drenched late summer afternoon here in the Maple City, Honesdale's varsity field hockey team unleashed its relentless offensive attack on archrival Paupack.
Coach Becca Maciejewski's squad is now a year removed from the District Two Class AAA championship game and looking to forge a legacy of its own ... which a tall task considering the star players lost to graduation.
However, after suffering season opening losses to perennial powerhouses Wyoming Seminary and Hazleton Area, Honesdale has now posted back-to-back wins.
The Red & Black defeated Lackawanna Trail in its home opener, then followed that up with Monday's 7-1 thrashing of Paupack.
"We definitely got off to a fast start, which was one of our goals," Coach Maciejewski said. "Then we faded off a little bit. It was very important for us to get things going again in the second half and we did."
With this convincing victory over its archrival, Honesdale evened its regular season record at 2-2-0. Next up for the Lady Hornets is a road trip to Abington Heights.
That Wyoming Valley Conference clash is slated for 4:15 p.m. Wednesday at Clarks Summit.
On the Attack
Honesdale has lost Desiraye Mack and Mary Martin, two of its all-time top scorers, to graduation the past two years.
This fall, a talented but still largely anonymous group of youngsters is stepping up to fill in that void.
On Monday, Stacey Hart and Janie Murphy paced a Red & Black offensive assault that unleashed 24 shots on Paupack's cage.
Murphy got things going less that three minutes into the match. Janie took a pass from Megan Benson and blasted it past Paupack keeper Laura Bibbs.
Page 2 of 3 - She would add another goal midway through the second half, her fifth of the young season.
"Janie is truly a competitor," Coach Maciejewski said. "When we need someone to get down and dirty in front of the cage, Janie's right there. I challenged her to be our top scorer this year and Janie is well on her way."
Hart was even more impressive against the Buckhorns.
A multi-sport standout who also plays varsity softball and basketball, Stacey closed out the first half with one goal (22:37), then opened the second half with another (18:24).
Bailey Martin was credited with an assist on each.
"Stacey has the ability to be all region and maybe even an all-state candidate this year," Coach Maciejewski said. "She's doing a fantastic job in the midfield and showing a lot of urgency to the cage."
Hart sealed the deal on her first Hat Trick of the season late in the match. Martin once again provided the assist as Stacey notched her third goal with 3:15 left in the match.
Honesdale took a 2-0 lead into the lockerroom at intermission, then came right back out and dominated the second half.
Co-captain Jamie Rosencranse led the way, hammering home a goal at the 15:03 mark courtesy of a pass from Clayre Smith.
Heaven Houck also got into the act, tallying a goal of her own just three minutes later. Rosencranse was credited with the assist.
"Paupack always brings it in the second half, so you always have to be ready to counter that," Coach Maciejewski said. "They're a very young team, but I knew they wouldn't quit."
The Buckhorns finally did get on the board as time wound down.
Page 3 of 3 - Courtney Stevens did the honors, scoring and unassisted goal with just under a minute remaining in regulation.
Despite losing the shutout, Mackenzie Jackson turned in a superb outing in the cage. She stopped all but one of the shots Paupack sent her way, earning high marks from her veteran mentor.
"Mackenzie is brand new to the varsity, but she acts like a veteran out there," Coach Maciejewski said.
"One of the things I like best about Mackenzie is that she's a game day player. She really rises to the occasion."
Score by Half...
HON (2-2-0) 2 5 - 7
WAL (2-3-0) 0 1 - 1