Honesdale's varsity field hockey team is led by four battle-tested captains
Local fans finally caught a break this week as Mother Nature relented and favored the region with fair weather.
And so, Honesdale played its long-awaited home opener on Wednesday afternoon against Delware Valley in Wyoming Valley Conference field hockey action.
The match took place at the Daniel J. O’Neill Sports Complex under sunny skies before a big, enthusiastic crowd. Unfortunately, the Lady Hornets couldn't take advantage of the conditions.
Coach Carly Propst's girls played well in the early going, battling the Warriors to a 2-2 tie at intermission. However, DV dominated the second half en route to a 4-2 decision.
“I'm pleased with the effort,” Coach Propst said. “We played really well, especially in the first half, but then we came out a little bit flat after halftime and they took advantage.”
With the loss, Honesdale's overall record fell to 1-4-0 on the season. The Red & Black are still searching for that elusive first WVC win, currently sporting an 0-3-0 mark.
“We're struggling a little bit, but I think the future looks bright,” Coach Propst said. “We have a very talented, young team and I like the direction we're headed in.”
Weather permitting, the Lady Hornets will be back on the field Tuesday at Holy Redeemer. Action gets underway at 4:15 p.m. in Wilkes Barre.
This year's edition of the Red & Black varsity field hockey team consists of an intriguing mix of talented youngsters and battle-tested veterans.
Coach Propst will be looking to her four captains to provide leadership both on and off the field.
Brooke Gardas, Nicole Longman, Amanda Gunuskey and Chloe Nicolini are experienced players. Each brings something special to the table for Honesdale.
Gardas is a senior who anchors the midfield and dominates along the right side. She's quick, tough and absolutely fearless.
“Brooke gives everything she has every time she steps on the field,” Coach Propst said. “I can always count on Brooke. She's by far the most aggressive player on the team. And, she's great as a captain. Brooke is a very strong leader.”
Longman is a returning starter who works in tandem with Gardas on Honesdale's right side.
“Nicole likes to take charge out there,” Coach Propst said. “She's in great shape and can just run for miles. As a captain, Nicole does a great job at keeping our morale high.”
Gunuskey is a junior who also plays in the midfield, but on the left side.
“Amanda is tenacious,” Coach Propst said. “She just never gives up on the ball. She has great stickwork and she's a very smart player. Amanda is quiet off the field, but really takes charge once she gets out there.”
Nicolini is another junior who's carved out a niche for herself in Honesdale's line-up. She plays the left back position and leads the team in defensive saves.
“Chloe is one of those kids who'll do anything to help the team,” said Coach Propst. “She started off as an offensive player, but we moved her to defense last year and she's just doing a phenomenal job.
“In all my years of coaching, I've never seen anyone take it all the way down the left side on a reverse stick the way Chloe does.”
Honesdale jumped out to an early lead Wednesday against Delaware Valley.
Nicolini fired the opening salvo, rattling DV's cage at the 22:08 mark to give the Lady Hornets a 1-0 lead.
Leah Krol was credited with the assist.
The Warriors retaliated quickly, powering home a pair of goals to briefly take the lead. Skyler Padgett tied things at 1-1, then Grace Conselyea made it 2-1 with 9:55 remaining before intermission.
The Lady Hornets refused to roll over, though, and rallied to even the score. Gardas did the honors this time, hammering home an unassisted goal that sent both teams to the locker room locked in a 2-2 stalemate.
While DV had its way in the second half, Coach Propst was quick to point out three talented freshmen made their presence felt in no uncertain terms.
Nicole Miszler is the team's starting goalie. She was credited with a dozen saves on Wednesday.
“Nicole is very, very aggressive,” Coach Propst said. “She looks like she's played varsity field hockey for a long time, but she's just a freshman. Nicole has a bright future.”
Katy Corcoran is the team's center-mid and is already drawing comparisons to Clayre Smith, a Lady Hornet who is currently playing at Rutgers University.
“Katy is such a smart player even though she's still young,” Coach Propst said. “She has a great attitude and such a strong work ethic.”
Rowan Murray is quickly emerging as one of the WVC's elite defenders.
“Rowan is so good at that center-back position because she's tough and fearless,” Coach Propst said. “Rowan is working very hard and improving every single day.”