By RUSSELL JONES
Otter Valley’s field hockey team began its season with a 4-0 win in Brattleboro on Sept. 6. It’s a tough opponent to start the season with, but it is also a good test of the team’s grit, skills and determination.
“It’s an exciting team this year,” head coach Stacey Edmunds said. “We have five seniors who make up the core of the team and a big group of freshmen.”
In addition to those seven freshmen, the Otters also have six sophomores and a junior. This year’s team will field a lot of talent, Edmunds said.
“We have talent from the front to the cage,” Edmunds explained, and “we have a good versatility in our attack that gives us options.”
Many of the incoming freshmen also played middle school field hockey and while Edmunds said it is a big jump from middle to high school, they are working on developing the younger talent.
“We have a lot of scoring potential,” she said. “We also have a ton of speed this year, which is something we haven’t always had.”
Goalkeeper Elinor Ross is a four-year starter and will be key to the team’s success. Morgan LaPorte, Livia Bernhardt, Alia Edmunds and Isabella Falco are the other seniors who make up the core group that will drive the team’s hope of being a playoff contender.
They lost only three seniors from last year’s team that was knocked out in the semifinals by eventual state champion Mt. Abe. This is Edmunds eighth year as the Otters coach. She won a state championship in her fourth year and now, four years later, she’s hoping there is some magic in the fours.
Regardless, Edmunds said this could be a special year and how far the team goes depends on them.
“It depends on how much they want it,” she said. “Barring injuries, I have no doubt that they can go at least as far as they did last season.”
Many of these girls on the team were on the OV softball team that went to the state finals in the spring. Edmunds believes that could propel them to succeed.
“I believe in this team, they have something,” she said. “Getting a taste of late-round playoffs is something you don’t forget. It gives them a drive and for the seniors this is their last chance for field hockey.”