Local travel team organization continues to grow at NEPA Sports Factory
The weather outside may be frightful, but the dedication being shown this winter by a certain group of young athletes is nothing short of delightful.
Pursuit Field Hockey, a local organization based at the NEPA Sports Factory in White Mills, is enjoying a stellar 2017-18 season on the travel team scene.
Under the direction of co-coaches Becca Maciejewski and Grace Manzione, girls of all ages and abilities are honing their skills both on the practice field and at invitational tournaments.
This past weekend, the local lasses hosted a “Play Day” at Damascus which began on Saturday morning and ran through Sunday.
A total of 30 teams from all over the region turned out for the event, which featured divisions from U10 to U19.
“I'm very pleased with how everything went,” said Coach Maciejewski. “It was another successful weekend Pursuit. For our upper level teams, it was also excellent preparation for the National Indoor Qualifiers this weekend in Lewisburg.
Saturday's action featured the U10 thru u14 divisions, while Sunday was reserved for U16 and U19.
By the Numbers
Here is the breakdown of the Divisions:
•U10: ACK Youth Field Hockey and Pursuit.
•U12: Fearless Pursuit, Hot Pursuit, Marojoka (Whitehall), Majestyx (Dallas) and Vestal (New York).
•U14: Pursuit of Honor, Trivial Pursuit, Marojoka, Vestal Gold, Vestal Green, ACK Youth, Majestyx 1, Majestyx 2, Goal Diggers Black (Pittson), Goal Diggers White
•U16: Pursuit Brigade, Pursuit Special, Marojoka, Vestal Black, AIM (Connecticut), Majestyx 1, Majestyx 2, Majestyx 3, Jakstyx.
•U19: Pursuitified, Tier Storm (Binghamton), Majestyx and Jakstyx (Hazleton).
Local teams turned in solid performances as Pursuit took second in the U10 bracket, first in the U12, first in U14, first in U16, fourth in U19.
“This event was another day of quality competition for Pursuit,” said Coach Maciejewski. “We used it in preparation to hit the road every weekend now through February for competitions stretching across the state, and possibly to Virginia if we qualify.”
Tentatively speaking, road trips are already on the calendar for: Kutztown Indoor, United Sports, Westchester Winter Frost, National Indoor, National Qualifiers and Spooky Nook Indoor tourney.
Despite myriad delays due to snow, ice and frigid temperatures, local teams have soldiered on in pursuit of field hockey perfection.
“Wicked weather hasn't stopped our girls from practicing hard and we've produced eight quality teams to compete this winter on the road,” said Coach Maciejewski.
“We saw growth, heart and obvious practice and discipline last weekend.”
According to Coach Maciejewski, 10 athletes are showing improvement in spacing and teamwork.
“Indoor is a tough game to grasp for anyone, let alone elementary athletes,” she said. “However, their basic skills are evolving and showing.
Pursuit boasts two U12 Teams whose players are showing a great deal of improvement in their execution of offense and defense on the court.
At the Damascus Play Day, “Fearless Pursuit” outscored opponents by a margin of 22-1 over the course of two days and four games.
“Hot Pursuit” went undefeated in cruising to the division title. The team consists of young group of mostly first year players. Coach Maciejewski believes they deserve some recognition for how far they've come.
“They have shown progression in passing and attacking the cage which helped them in this weekends play day,” she said. “As they grow as a group in the next few years, this bunch is really going to turn heads similar to our 'older' teams.”
Pursuit's U14 teams have evolved as distinct units.
Coach Maciejewski thinks that “Trivial Pursuit” players are becoming leaders on and off the court.
“They've shown knowledge of positioning and consistent evolvement as individuals,” she said.
“'Pursuit of Honor' was the winning U14 team at Damascus. The skills that they exhibit, are rare at the varsity level. The carry themselves with an aggressive maturity, attention to detail and trust as a team.”
U16 and U19 teams have earned high marks.
“They were just on point this weekend and continue to show maturity and that they want to learn and grow as athletes, which is what pursuit is all about,” Coach Maciejewski.
“They also do it with a great balance with the many other things they all have going on!”
Coaches Maciejewski and Manzione are also very proud of their U16 and U19 girls, which are comprised of players from Honesdale, Wallenpaupack Area and Delaware Valley.
“They're working hard emerging as a united team,” Becca said. “They are producing wins, scoring goals, tightening up their circle and pressing defenses which is yielding a high level of play.
“We're receiving so many comments from spectators and opposing coaches on the degree of athleticism and poise that they play with.”