Local travel teams dazzled at recent indoor tournament

Several travel teams who represent Pursuit Field Hockey recently competed at an invitational event and returned home laden with medals and trophies.

Under the direction of co-founders Becca Maciejewski and Grace Manzione, the local lasses traveled to Kutztown University for the event, which is sponsored every winter by the school's field hockey program.

On the Road

A total of 41 teams from all over the state took part in this year's edition of the tournament. It was held Sunday, Jan. 27 on campus at O'Pake Field House.

Pursuit's U14 team led the way. This dynamic group of local girls utterly dominated the bracket, going undefeated en route to the title.

“These girls have been playing together for a long time, but they definitely exceeded my expectations,” Coach Manzione said.

“It's so much fun to watch them grow up and start putting all the pieces together. If they stay on this path and keep working hard they all have very bright futures in the sport.”

A total of five Pursuit teams made the journey to Kutztown and each of them earned a spot on the dais. The U10, U12 and U16-19 squads all earned silver, while the second U14 group took bronze.

“I think it was a great experience for all the girls,” Coach Manzione said. “It was a lot of fun and I'm very happy with the way all our teams played.”

Pursuit will be hosting an invitational event of its own this weekend. A total of 14 teams are expected to gather at the Beacon Family Center in Calkins Saturday for the tournament.

Action gets underway at 8 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. All are welcome to come out and watch!

Dominance

Pursuit's U14 team (nicknamed “Vengeance”) wasted no time at all in asserting its dominance at Kutztown University.

The local lasses were never really threatened on this particular day. They powered their way to a perfect 4-0 record, piling up 24 goals and allowing just one along the way.

Chloe Rogers, who acted as team captain, and Nicole Miszler, who dazzled in the cage, paced the attack.

“Chloe and Nicole were literally unstoppable all day long,” Coach Maciewjeski said. “They consistently shut down opponent's shots with agility and strength.

“Chloe also took away precious board play chances in the midfield for opponents, while Nicole was able to react and play lifted shots on cage in a tenacious manner.”

Rozalyn Mikulak and Makayla Cobourn also earned high marks from their veteran mentor.

“Roz was a catalyst to the team offense,” said Coach Maciejewski “She ran the floor with grace and poise. Roz is very fluent and purposeful in her movement on the court.

“Makayla had her most consistent all-around day of play to date. She created and scored offensively. Her versatility gave her minutes in the midfield and at the defensive end.”

Roz Maciejewski, Jillian Hoey and Claire Campen also contributed key plays in Pursuit's drive for the tournament title.

“This was a total team effort,” Coach Manzione said. “Every one of our players contributed something to the cause.”

Cutting Edge

Pursuit covers Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack, Delaware Valley, Lake Lehman and Hazleton Area school districts.

The teams currently train in the at the Beacon Family Center, located at the Calkins Baptist Church.

Pursuit's coaching staff consists of local legends Grace Manzione, Mychaela Pritchard and Becca Maciejewski.

The 2018-19 indoor season schedule includes events with the Lehigh Valley Sparx, Viper Sports Club, Spooky Nook, Kutztown University, United Sports, Jakstyx, the Warriors and AIM Clubs.

Pursuit teams also compete at the National Indoor Tournament and related qualifying events.

According to Coach Maciejewski, the Pursuit staff works hard at helping high school-age players with the recruiting process/

“We meet monthly with our 16-19s to share dates, write letters and work on shooting skill videos of the kids,” she said.

Prior to the season, the majority of Pursuit players completed Coach Grace's Power Player, which is a conditioning program focused on the needs of hockey players.

“The girls were all amazing and their strength improvements are obvious,” Coach Manzione said.

Over & Out

For a majority of the year, Pursuit Field Hockey's home base is The Sports Factory of NEPA in White Mills. However, during the winter season, the girls train at The Beacon Family Center in Calkins.

Pursuit is a USA Field Hockey Club. Coaches are certified with Level 2 USA accreditation, which is the highest offered by USA Field Hockey.

For further information, please check out the website (pursuitfieldhockey.com) or visit them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.