2013 H.S. Field Hockey Preview: Filling the Gaps

Heading into the new season, the Johnstown and Gloversville field hockey teams share one thing in common – plenty of new faces in their lineups.

The Lady Bills lost several players, including Emma Heroth, Ashley Dona, Alyssa Pertell and Lindsey Brandt – to graduation.

Dona broke the Johnstown single-season record with 39 goals last season. She also had eight assists and was named to a first-team Foothills Council all-star and the all-state team.

Heroth also was a first-team Foothills Council all-star and named all-state after scoring 15 goals and piling up 12 assists last season.

Pertell allowed just eight goals all season a year ago for the Lady Bills, while Brandt anchored the defense.

Johnstown finished last season 17-2 after losing to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake by a 3-1 margin in the Section II Class B championship game.

Johnstown also went 12-0 in Foothills Council play to earn its first outright league title since the mid-1990s.

The Lady Bills return just four starters from last year’s team as the seek a sixth straight trip to the Class B title game.

“Clearly this year is a rebuilding year for us, but as always, we expect every player to rise to the occasion, step up and fill the gaps left by graduation,” Johnstown coach Tracy Ringer said.

Leading the returnees are seniors Hope Cerasuolo, Kelsi Barnholt, Alexis Livingstone and Mikaela Etherton.

Cerasuolo and Barnholt were both first-team Foothills Council all-stars last season. Cerasuolo, a forward, had 13 goals and 15 assists last season, while Barnholt, a midfielder, had a goal and 12 assists.

Also back for Johnstown are seniors Breanna VanValkenburg, Nicole Bentley, Emily Havlicek and Audra Gerlach, as well as junior Morgan Coons.

Rounding out the Johnstown roster are newcomers Mackenzie Rogers, Kristin Wright, Chelsea Rodecker, Christina Bridge, Hayley Mellis, Whytne Stover and Bridget Valk.

Stover, a junior, earned Foothills Council honorable mention status last season while playing for Gloversville.

The Lady Bills beefed up their non-league schedule with games against Shenendehowa, Saratoga Springs and Bethlehem from the Suburban Council.

Johnstown also has scrimmaged Niskayuna and Section III powers Liverpool and New Hartford. Liverpool was the state Class A runner-up in 2012.

“We purposely scheduled scrimmages with Niskayuna, New Hartford and Liverpool this pre-season, and non-league games against Class A schools Shenendehowa, Saratoga Springs and Bethlehem to better prepare the girls for postseason play,” Ringer said.

Johnstown opened its schedule today with a non-league home contest against Little Falls.

“Rebuilding or not, the goal for Johnstown field hockey always stays the same – win every game,” Ringer said.

Gloversville

While Johnstown is focused on continuing its tradition of success, Gloversville is scrambling to field a full roster.

“We have an incomplete roster right now. We are hoping to have 12 girls cleared and ready to go for Tuesday’s season-opener against Ichabod Crane,” Gloversville coach Jackie Davies said.

The Huskies have been hard hit by graduation and unexpected departures as they prepare for the new season.

“We had decent numbers at the start but some of the girls opted not to continue,” Davies said. “So this year we will field a young, inexperienced varsity and a modified team with no junior varsity.”

Gloversville returns few players with varsity experience from last year’s team, which went 4-12 overall and 3-9 in Foothills Council play.

Junior Bailey Pieniazek returns in goal for the Huskies after earning Foothills Council honorable-mention status last season.

Samantha Edgar, Sarah Lebel and Kacie Handy also return for Gloversville.

“Most of my team is new, some even to the sport,” Davies said. “They are working hard and have a great attitude.”

Gloversville lost its leading scorer, Jade Persch, to graduation, as well as Alysha Chamberlain. Both were named second-team Foothills Council all-stars last season. The Huskies also lost Jessica Carbone, who was named honorable mention, to graduation.

Gloversville is scheduled to host Ichabod Crane on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in its season opener.

“We need to stay healthy because our numbers are down again,” Davies said. “Everyone will have to be able to play multiple positions and be creative.”