Last fall is in the rear view mirror for the Chambersburg field hockey team.
“This team … they don’t want a repeat of last year,” Trojan coach Danielle Clutter said. “Most of this group went through last year and they have worked hard to change it.”
A year ago, Chambersburg was young and inexperienced and had to settle for a record of 0-16-2, including two ties against Carlisle.
The team lost three players to graduation and several others did not come out, but the players who did have put in the work to be better.
“We’re a small team (numbers-wise), but we have done a lot of work in the offseason,” Clutter said. “It makes a difference when you pick up a stick in the offseason. Some of them played for club teams and we had 11 regulars for an indoor league and we won some games.
“I wanted to see improvement with their stick skills and they are a lot better. Now we can focus on improving their game sense and game play.”
The program is handicapped by two things: there is no youth program in field hockey, and, although there are two teams for the middle schools in the fall, a lot of those girls choose to play soccer when they reach high school age (middle school soccer is played in the spring).
Clutter said, “We’re the only sport at Chambersburg that doesn’t have a youth program, and we’re competing for girls with four other sports in the fall. We only have three or four freshmen and we need to do a better job of getting more to come out.”
Chambersburg shows its most strength in a veteran midfield, led by sophomore Adyson Finkle, who was a Mid Penn Commonwealth second-team all-star a year ago.
Joining her are the team’s only seniors, Alexis Schooley and Jayden Seilhamer, plus junior Ashlyn Barton and sophomore Kenzie Boyd.
The group of backs will include Barton, junior Alexis Peres, sophomores Meaghan Gibbons and Amber Pyne, and freshman Taylor McNamara.
Either junior Emma Moshetti or sophomore Katelin Secrist will play in the goal.
Clutter had not yet settled on her forwards, but they will be frequently rotated.
“I’d like to have a more attacking hockey mind set than we did last year,” she said. “We want to move the midfield up and push the backs up, too. We have to be better at our play in the circle and focus on getting corners — we didn’t get that many last year.
“What I want is for us to have either a corner shot or a shot on goal every time we get in the attacking circle.”
Clutter believes her team will do better this year, but it’ll be a process building the program.
“Winning the games that are winnable is important; we didn’t do that last year,” she said. “I’d say the goal is a .500 season, but going from zero wins, that’ll be tough. Our motto is, ‘All practice, all game, all season, all in,’ and we hope that shows.”
NOTES: The team’s new assistant coach is former Trojan player Tia Pattillo … Chambersburg scored just five goals last season and suffered 14 shutouts … The team’s season opener is Wednesday at home vs. Cedar Cliff at 7 p.m.