Last year, the Red Bank Catholic field hockey team encountered a rare experience, a losing season. It was, in fact, the program’s first negative campaign since 2016.
Fortunately, key players are returning, and a large contingent of young recruits are joining the ranks. That combination should return the Caseys to their usual winning ways and put that 2021 season in the rear view mirror.
“Currently, over half of our team consists of freshmen and sophomores,” third-year Head Coach Niki Ikeda said. “This is the largest number of girls on the team since I started as head coach. We are excited about the growth of the program and looking forward to our younger girls gaining more experience in games this season.”
Midfielder Ellie Kopec led the squad in scoring in 2021 as a sophomore and is expected to repeat in that role this season. It should be noted that Ellie’s sister, Julianne, was the top scorer for Temple University field hockey last season in her freshman year.
The offense will be also be buoyed by the efforts of Amelia Drechsler (Sr. F/M), Jenna Dziedzic (Sr. F) and Isabella Sosnoskie (So. F).
Patrolling the RBC backfield will be Allie Tiefenthaler (Sr. D), Makenna Graham (Jr. M/D) and Taylor Carlson (Jr. D).
The one area in which the squad is rock solid is the goalkeeper position. Senior Bella Hurta is a four-year starter. She posted 135 saves last season and has a career mark of 321. Haley Moran appeared in 11 games in 2021, her freshman year, as the backup goalie and collected 52 saves. A total of 187 saves in a single campaign speaks well as to the cage occupants. However, this metric also suggests that opposing teams spent much time deep in RBC territory and got off a multitude of shots. The midfielders will be working hard this season to keep the ball in the other half of the field.
“I am very excited for the future of the Red Bank Catholic field hockey program,” Ikeda said. “We have a large incoming freshman class who we anticipate playing key roles this season. Specifically, we are looking to build our team’s offensive threat. Last season, we faced some difficult opponents, but we believe those games prepared us for this upcoming season.”