showing improvement from recent past
days work is done and equipment is being packed. Watercoolers are dumped
out, leaving a pile of ice cubes in the grass.
A player walks over to the pile
and extends her days workout. She tosses a cube in the air, her left hand
then joins her right on her bat as she literally crushes one with
the sweet swing girls from Nanticoke are known for.
Ice goes everywhere. She
reaches down for another ice cube and hits another home run. And another. And
Finally, a coach tells the player that her practice is over. A field
hockey stick isnt for hitting home runs, anyway.
Nanticoke is known for
its championship-caliber softball. And exceptional girls basketball. And stellar
But field hockey?
Ive got to get them into
the gym and show them the banners, Nanticoke coach Lori Dennis said of her
teams knowledge of past Trojans glory. This group, they are competitive
and aggressive. You cant teach that. They know where they come from and
they want to bring the program to the next level.
It hasnt been
the best of times for Nanticoke in recent years. A 3-12 season in 2011 is the
best campaign among the last three, where the Trojans have won just six of 45
But it was just in 2009 when the Trojans won the WVC Division 2 championship
with a 9-5-1 record, led by former Old Dominion standout Kati Nearhouse. In 2007,
Nanticoke was 13-2 and won another division title with Gabrielle Malischak (Slippery
Rock) helping lead the way.
They like being part of something positive
here, Dennis said of this edition of the Trojans. Theyre out
here working hard. They are excellent with each other. They pick each other up,
give each other a pat on the back when they need to.
going on in Nanticoke than whats found in the standings. The program has
been reborn after losing a couple of large classes and facing the challenge of
soccers relocation to the fall.
The returning players gained key experience
last season Amber Grohowski scored the winner against district-semifinalist
Wyoming Area on a set-up by Carly Grabowski, Becca Morgis set up the winner against
Abington Heights, Maddy ODonahue left the backline to post two shutouts
in her first seven games as a goalkeeper.
Crestwood has 60 come out,
and 25 are competing for starting spots, Dennis said. I have 30 (come
out) and Im out of my mind. If you cant get numbers, you cant
compete. Were like Cinderella. We played with 17 last year and dropped the
junior high team. We were able to resurrect it this year.
wont mean a division title this season, but there has been improvement.
Nanticoke forced overtime in two of its first three games against Wyoming
Area and Delaware Valley, teams which reached the District 2 semifinals a season
ago. Players like Kayla Gronkowski, Savannah Oliver, Sarina Kinlaw, Jennifer Lopez
and Liz Colemire, as well as others, have helped the Trojans become more competitive.
Garvey gives you everything, Dennis said. Kara Voyton never played
before last year and plays varsity. Shes tough as nails. Our goalie, Maddy
ODonahue, moved there last year and is just a natural. Shes a catcher
(in softball) and shes got all the angles down. You cant count these
girls out until the games over.
In the WVC, competitive is an accomplishment.
Theres powerhouse programs everywhere on the schedule state champion
Crestwood, 2011 state champion Wyoming Seminary, Holy Redeemer, Wyoming Valley
West, Coughlin, Dallas, Lake-Lehman
well, nearly everyone. Being competitive
is the first step into maybe making Nanticoke a field hockey town as well.
have the best conference on the East Coast, Dennis said. Being a former
official, Ive seen a lot of good teams around the state. These players know
that. You play your schedule and you play as hard as you can.
the WVC, could there be a degree of parity coming to the league? The upper echelon
of the league remains some of the elite programs in the country. There is a next
level, made up of quality teams that are competitive, and then the rest. The early
results say more teams are competitve, as there are eight unbeaten teams in early
play, but only three winless squads and they have been in position to earn
Teams not in the national picture are trying to move themselves toward
It is evening out more, Wyoming Area coach Lunda Comiskey
said. The club system is allowing more players to play all year long. Other
teams are rising toward the Sems and Crestwoods. Scores are a lot closer this
year. When you go outside of district in scrimmages, thats when you notice
just how strong our entire district really is.
The WVC regular season
is scheduled to end Oct. 18. Its not outrageous to expect to see at least
one local team playing on Nov. 16. Well keep you posted.
Coach: Lori Dennis, sixth season
record: 2-12 in WVC, seventh in Division 1-2A; 2-13-1 overall
players lost: Kayla Benjamin, Sarah Carne.
players: Samantha Garvey, Sr/D; Amber Grohowski, So/M; Kayla Gronkowski, Sr/D;
Becca Morgis, Jr/M; Maddy ODonahue, Jr/G.
newcomers: Liz Colemire, So/F-M; Carly Grabowski, So/F-M; Sarina Kinlaw, So/F-M.
outlook: Our girls have generated a great deal of energy into the program;energy
that I havent seen for some time. Our numbers are up drastically, but with
increased new players comes inexperience and youth. The success of our team will
depend on how quickly our inexperienced players develop and adapt to the strength
of this conference.
Lori Dennis2012 RESULTS: 2-12, 5th in Division IAA
RETURNEES: Seniors - Kayla Gronkowski def; Sam Garvey def; Juniors - Maddy O'Donahue
GK; Becca Morgis mid; Sophomore - Amber Grohowski fwd.
Outlook: "I am very proud of the effort the team has put in during the offseason
and during the preseason. We have some hard working, tough players who have developed
nicley since last season. Our strength lies in the middle of the field with Sam
Garvey and goalie Maddy O'Donahue anchoring the defense. She stepped up for us
mid-season last year to take over as keeper. Our forward line will be led by Amber
Grohowski and Becca Morgis and Kayla Gronkowski controlling the midfield.