The Gloversville and Johnstown field hockey teams head into the new season with plenty of questions to answer.
Gloversville will look to improve on last season’s 2-14 overall record with a group that includes plenty of returnees, while Johnstown will try to find a way to replace eight players from last season.
The Lady Bills also have a new coach, as Christine Krempa steps in to replace her sister, Tracy Ringer, who went went 59-13 in four seasons as Johnstown coach.
Under Ringer, the Lady Bills won the Section II Class B title in 2011 and reached the Class B title game in 2009 and 2012. Last season, the Lady Bills went 12-6 overall and 10-2 in Foothills Council play, losing to eventual Class B champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the Class B semifinals.
Krempa, who was Johnstown’s junior varsity coach for five seasons inherits a group that lost three first-team Foothills Council all-stars to graduation. Hope Cerasuolo (16 goals, 15 assists), Kelsi Barnholt (10 goals, 10 assists) and Bre VanValkenburgh were key contributors to last year’s team. Cerasuolo and Barnholt also were named to the all-state team.
“There is no doubt that we are a young team this year after losing eight seniors to graduation and only returning four starters,” Krempa said. “Despite the youth of the team, the expectations remain the same as every year – take the season one game at a time and win every game we play.”
Johnstown returns to four starters from last year’s team. That group includes senior goalie Kristin Wright, senior defender Morgan Coons, senior midfielder Mackenzie Rogers and senior forward Bridgia Valk. Wright and Coons were named second-team Foothills Council all-stars last year, while Rogers and Valk earned honorable-mention status.
Newcomers include seniors Jessica Manno and Hannah Chamberlain; juniors Victoria Belknap and Alex VanAernam; and sophomores Anna Heroth, Kaitlyn Serpa and Casey VanValkenburgh.
“We have seven players who have dedicated themselves during the offseason by playing with the ADK club team out of UAlbany ,which is undoubtedly to our advantage,” Krempa said. “We will look to Kris Wright, in goal, and Morgan Coons to anchor our defense along with newcomers Hannah Chamberlain and Alex VanAernam. Mackenzie Rogers, Christina Bridge and Hayley Mellis return to the midfield along with newcomers Jessica Manno and Kaitlyn Serpa. On the forward line, will look to a whole host of sophomores including Anna Heroth, Chelsea Rodecker and Casey VanValkenburgh to spark our offense alongside returners Bridgia Valk and Victoria Belknap.”
The Lady Bills opened the season with a 2-0 non-league loss to Shaker on Friday at Knox Field. The Lady Bills will host Queensbury in their Foothills Council opener Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
While Johnstown looks to replace several players, Gloversville lost just one player, Kacie Handy, to graduation.
Handy, a defender, was a first-team Foothills Council all-star last season.
The Huskies, who went 2-10 in Foothills Council play, return several players from last year’s team.
That group includes senior goalie Bailey Pieniazek, who was a first-team Foothills Council all-star last season, as well as senior Whytne Stover and sophomore Katelyn Zarrelli, who were named second-team Foothills Council all-stars.
Senior Sarah Lebel and junior Willow Carey also return after earning Foothills Council honorable-mention status last season.
Also returning for Gloversville are seniors Samantha Edgar and Michelyn Oare; juniors Olivia Danise and Marissa Strait; and sophomore Glorianna Young.
“We would like to be able to squeak out two wins like last year,” Gloversville coach Jacquie Davies said. “I told the seniors that they have to create opportunities for themselves. I’m looking for our senior goalie [Bailey Pieniazek] to keep us in control, and for Whytne [Stover] and Sarah [Lebel] to get our offense going.”
Rounding out the roster for Gloversville, which won’t field a junior varsity team this season, are newcomers Ashanti Decker, Brittany Johnson, Ckailea Kewley, Riley King, Madison Paul, Mckenzie Paul, Virginia Person, Casondra Robinson, Alyssa Rocas and Jordan Siarkowski.
Gloversville will host defending league champion South Glens Falls in its opener Thursday at 4:30 p.m.