Field hockey team earns first ever Division Championship

Freshman midfielder Jamie Hazel fights for possession of the ball near the sideline in the win over Matawan.


            The Knights field hockey team, with a record of 10-4 overall and 6-0 in the division, won the White Division regular season championship. The team has won seven of their last eight games with strong play from the whole team, including senior leaders and outstanding freshmen.

            This accomplishment rates as a ground-breaking achievement for the program. “Winning the white division has been an honor as the first field hockey team to get a banner put up in school,” explained outstanding freshman Laila Vaughn, who leads both the team and the entire county in goals with 17.

            The team’s success is all the more impressive considering the team finished last season with just three wins. “Having a successful preseason gave us the confidence we needed going into conference play,” said junior Karina Cracchiolo, who is tied for the team lead in assists with seven. “In our first three games we had more combined goals than we did all last season, and that was just due to pure determination.”

            According to sophomore goalie Erin Parrett, who has logged 92 saves and shut outs in seven of the team’s 14 games, every player has contributed to the team’s success. “All of our players are great, but one person to really help the team with goals is Izzy Duval, and our defensive players, Gaby Malanga and Julia Testa, have also saved us from many goals and helped get the ball up the field,” said Parrett.

Junior defender Gabriella Malanga moves the ball upfield after taking it from two opponents in the team’s 4-0 win over Matawan on October 12.

            The team enters the post-season hot off of another dominant win against North Plainfield with a score of 9-0 in tough conditions. “When it started raining it added fuel to the fire, making all of us want the win more,” explained senior captain Isabel Duval, who has 16 goals and 5 assists this season.

            The contributions of underclassmen have helped the team rack up wins. “We are also lucky to have such a talented freshman class. They have significantly impacted our play, and make us work extra hard,” said Cracchiolo.

            Vaughn, who has also contributed seven assists this season, credits the team’s preparation for her early-career success. “The summer practices, captain practices, and regular practices have helped grow relationships with all my teammates,” shared Vaughn.

Senior captain Isabel Duval, who has 16 goals and five assists this season, takes on two defenders as she dribbles the ball upfield.

            That practice has helped the girls learn to play as a team. “We feel more comfortable together on the field,” expressed Parrett. “Even when we lose or have a bad game, we make the best out of it.”  

            With the regular season championship already in the books, the team has set their eyes on the next prize. “Our main goal right now is making it to GMC finals,” said Cracchiolo. “We’ve worked so hard, and it would be an amazing end to our season.”

            Tomorrow at 4pm, at Fred Cole Field, the Knights will take on South Brunswick in the first round of the GMC tournament.

Posted on 10/17/22

Freshman standout Laila Vaughn leaves a defender behind her and looks upfield and controls the ball.

Photos by Natalie Goldberg

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