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Aug 27, 2021

Middletown South Field Hockey Facing a Rebuilding Year

By Les Pierce

Peyton Kenney is expected to provide leadership in 2021.

In 2019, the Middletown High School South field hockey team claimed the NJSIAA North 2 Group 3 State Sectional Championship. One year later, they compiled an undefeated 12-0 record going into postseason. However, imposed COVID-19 restrictions prevented the squad from engaging in the NJSIAA tournament and dreams of consecutive state titles were dashed.

Going into 2021, sixth-year Head Coach Jordan Hickman faces the daunting task of retooling her team. South’s loss to graduation is nothing short of devastating. Statistically, the graduated seniors accounted for 63 of the 68 goals scored last season. Falling off the starting roster are Gianna Racioppi, Lia Simoniello, Renee Lioudakis, Emily Salvadore, Madi Cigolini, Kayla Freibott, Vic Ruggiero, Sophia Raymond and Bella Unrath. 

In addition to the loss of personnel, the Middletown schedule has been bolstered with the inclusion of Rumson-Fair Haven, the perennial top team on the shore and Wall Township, the No. 3 ranked squad of 2020.

Senior defender Peyton Kenney is returning to anchor the backfield. The second-year captain is expected to provide leadership for a young squad. “Peyton is a fearless leader through and through,” stated Hickman. “I am confident that her leadership will drive her teammates to be the best that they can be on and off of the field. She has the ability to push them to the next level, and I know she won’t let her senior season pass without a fight.”

Junior goalie Leila Black and senior midfielder Kylie Doyle are key returnees. Christine Ryan played defense last season but has been converted to a forward as part of the retooling actions, she was also named co-captain. “We decided to move Christie from defense to forward for her senior season over the winter,” stated Hickman. “She really stepped up in the off season and has shown some really admirable qualities which promoted the decision to name her a captain.”

Newcomers expected to be impactful are Makenna Blozen (So. M), Dana Rohrmann (Sr. M), Caroline DeRosa (Sr. D) and Paige Derevjanik (Sr. F).  

“I’m hoping to rebuild, get some new young faces into the lineup, to build stability and hopefully win the division,” Hickman said. “It will be extremely difficult to not have so many familiar faces on the field, but four years ago when my graduates were frosh, we were in the same position and were able to build one of the best teams in Middletown South history throughout their four years with me.”

A must-see game this season is the clash with Colts Neck at home on Monday, Oct. 11. The Cougars have become rivals in recent years. In 2020, Colts Neck incurred just two losses, both complements of Middletown South.