WATERTOWN - No more trips to far outposts such as New Fairfield, Danbury, Redding, New Milford and Newtown for the Watertown High School field hockey team.
After residing for years in the South-West Conference, the program made a wise move during the off-season by moving to the more-locally based Berkshire League for the 2021 season.
Good for the Indian s, and good for coach Audrey Brown as she begins her fifth season, assisted by Danielle Ervin. “We are very lucky to have her,” said Brown.
Brown couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the move to the B.L.
“The switch will give us much less travel and play teams that are closer in school size, as well as more afternoon games and fewer later in the evening bus trips,,” said Brown. “ We’re looking forward to the move and hope to be competitive in the league. We have heard nothing but great things about the league.”
Among the instant rivalr.ies to be former with the one between Watertown and Thomaston High Schools; the teams will meet twice this season.
As is always the case at the high school level, the team will have some key players to replace, and Brown’s squad will be no different.
“That’s true,” the coach noted. “We graduated eight seniors last year, among them All-State goalie in Claire Lyman and All-Conference player Brianna Catalini.”
The 2021 Indians will be a young team but Brown and Ervin are looking for several players to move up to varsity and get used to playing at a faster pace.
Ashley D’Elia and Emma Nugai will be back on the front line, as will Blayden Koval (All-Division 2019) and Kami LaBella (out last year with ankle injury) to keep the pressure off WHS in the middle of the field. Ava Venuk (out last year) will return on defense and will take charge on the back end.
Sedona Piana, a senior, is a returning player and joined the team last year; said Brown, “She is looking good in preseason and we look to have her help on the front line and mid field.
Alex Welcome stepped up last year in goal for the Indians’ junior varsity; this year she takes over, and is in Brown’s wordes, “really working hard.”
Brown’s program is welcoming seven freshmen this year. “I have a feeling that many will see varsity time as the talent is good and they came in to start the season strong.
“If we work hard and stay healthy we are looking to make state play offs and be competitive in our new league,” said Brown. “We will enjoy and embrace each day we are on the field and hope to have a full season.”
The Indians continued with their play-day tradition at Farmington High School.
“We missed going last year and we’re so glad they hosted again this year,” said coach Brown.
“We play six 20-minute games in one day and it was a great way to get back into playing and getting a very young team ready for the season,” said Brown.
The Indians finished 2-1-3 on the day, with freshman Julianna Meglio scoring goals with assists by Ashley D’Elia and Emma Nugai.
Welcome played well in goal along with Kami LeBella on defense.
“We received so much help from many new varsity players,” said Brown. “We’re looking forward to the season and improving each game.
“It will feel so good to be back on field and get this season going.”