When Chambersburg was searching for a coach for field hockey, it was hoping to find a candidate who would inject some new ideas into the program.
CASHS athletic director Jeremey Flores believes the person hired for the post can deliver on that.
Makenzie Magnotta, a 2018 graduate of Shippensburg University, was named as the Trojans’ new coach this summer. It will be up to her to try to turn around a program that has struggled to be competitive in recent seasons. Chambersburg was 0-16-2 in 2018 and again in 2019, and scored only five goals in each of those seasons.
Flores said, “When Makenzie interviewed, she had a lot of great ideas on how to get our female athletes interested in playing sports. For example, she suggested a field day for junior high kids where they can meet the high school coaches. I think she gets the big picture — not just field hockey. I think she’ll build relationships with the other coaches.”
Athletics have definitely played a big role in Magnotta’s life. In high school in New Egypt, N.J., she played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. She played four years for Shippensburg as a starter on defense for the lacrosse team.
“I was born into a field hockey family, and I probably could have played that sport in college,” Magnotta said. “But I chose to play lacrosse at a young age, so I went with that.”
Magnotta majored in exercise science at Ship, then moved to Chambersburg and began taking classes at Wilson College, hoping to earn a degree in heath and physical education so she can be a teacher and coach.
“I missed coaching so much, so I started coaching in the Chambersburg Youth Girls Lacrosse Association,” she said. “I was also an assistant for Wilson last spring. I’d been wanting to coach at the high school level and I saw this position opened up.”
Flores said, “Her personality and passion for athletics was impressive, and the fact that she was a team captain at Ship for three years speaks to her leadership abilities.”
While Chambersburg had only two seniors on last year’s team, numbers are still a big issue. The team has only 19 players on the roster, and for that reason there will be no junior varsity schedule in 2020.
“That’s our biggest challenge,” Magnotta said. “But in some ways that can be an advantage, because the girls are getting double the reps on drills, especially when we’re working on the fundamentals. We’re playing three games in most weeks, so we just didn’t think we could do varsity and JV with only 19 girls.”
“Our biggest challenge in field hockey has been low numbers,” Flores said. “Whoever we hired would have to inject some fresh ideas into getting those numbers up.”
Once again, the Trojans will have only two seniors playing this year.
Magnotta said, “With our seniors, Ashlyn Barton is a real stud; an impact player for us, and Emma Moschetti is our goalie. Our junior class is our biggest, with eight or nine girls, and they have a passion to play and are dedicated to the sport.”
Chambersburg, which opens the season Monday night at State College, held its own in a scrimmage last week against Bishop McDevitt, which impressed Magnotta.
“I want to build a program that people in town will want to be a part of,” Magnotta said. “We need the girls to look up to it. That will drive the numbers to where the program needs to be.”