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Lucky Number Seven

August 23, 2012

Senior class well prepared to lead Crimson Knights into the 2012 season

WALL TOWNSHIP — The senior members of the Wall Field Hockey team have been eyeing the fall of 2012 for a very long time.

“We could not wait to be seniors,” said defender Courtney Boland during a team practice at Wall High School on Monday morning. “This is our team and we want to go really far. We have been working really hard for it.”

The time is now for the group of seven players, who currently are preparing for their final season with the Crimson Knights. Along with Boland, the 2013 senior class includes Katlyn Cusack, Rebecca Mattia Dayna Nesta, Alex Oldock, Bev Perkins and Morgan Durkin.

The Wall Field Hockey team will be led by a talented senior class this fall season. The seven seniors include: Rebecca Mattia [from left], Katlyn Cusack, Dayna Nesta, Alex Oldock, Courtney Boland, Morgan Durkin and Bev Perkins.     

Durkin shared her teammates sentiment that the seniors are geared up and motivated for their final year in crimson and white.

“We are coming back to win it this year — we have seven strong seniors and this is what we have wanted since our freshman year,” Durkin said. “We have the will and drive to succeed and win and that is what we are trying to do.”

Having a talented, veteran class leading the Crimson Knights onto the field this fall has head coach Nancy Gross excited and hopeful for another successful season at Wall.

The Crimson Knights are coming off a year in 2011 in which the group went 14-3-2 and won the C Central Division title, while also earning a runner-up finish in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Central Group III Tournament.

Gross feels the seniors are the nucleus of an overall talented team which carries a ton of weapons on its roster.

“We are working hard and the talent that we have is good,” Gross said. “They are ready to go.”

The coach added that, like any good team, the Crimson Knights can only go as far as the leaders will carry them. She is relying on each member of her senior class to step into the leadership role this season.

“We tell them when they become senior they all have to become leaders,” Gross said. “They are the mentors — the players that have to get the team going.”

Wall’s appears to have a balanced unit in 2012 with the base comprised of a sturdy defensive unit.

Boland, Durkin, Mattia and Perkins — the team’s starting goalie over the past two seasons — make up the core of that unit and are extremely familiar with each other.

Working with assistant coach Cathy Gallagher, the defensive unit has looked sharp, according to Gross.

“We have a lot of strong defenders back,” she said. “Cathy has worked hard with them. It is really coming together.”

Though many faces return to the field for Gross, including junior goal scorers Nicole Kuerzi and Sophie Lozowski on offense, the coach is sticking with her annual policy of keeping competition open for spots on the field.

With last year’s top scoring threat Kelly O’Donnell and defensive leader Alexis Carlsson lost to graduation, Wall will have some voids to fill.

“We have open spots all over and of course nobody has a position yet,” Gross said. “Everyone is vying for one. There is a lot of competition. Everyone has to work hard to earn their spot.”

Another challenge the Crimson Knights face this season, along with finding replacements from O’Donnell and Carlsson, are the new teams the group will be paired up with during the regular season.

Wall will be in a new division in 21012, with teams like Freehold Borough and Ocean Township now competing with the group for a division title.

Boland feels the change of pace during the regular season will benefit the Crimson Knights come playoff time.

“Facing new challenges will get us more prepared for the postseason,” she said. “It is going to be a nice change up from playing the same teams over and over again.”

The pieces are in place for a big season at Wall and it will be up to the senior class to steer the ship.

Boland feels the seven friends are up to the challenge.

“Our senior class is extremely close — most of us have been playing together since we were in sixth grade,” she said. “With the sophomore and juniors I think this is one of the closest teams we have ever had.”

The 2012 Crimson Knights include Boland, Cusack, Durkin, Mattia, Nesta, Oldock, Perkins, Kuerzi, Lozowski, Erin Casner, Hannah Manson, Loren Nappi, Lauren Cefalu, Danielle Cotta, Carlye DeStefano, Mary Cate Gallagher, Sam Grigoletto, Abby Henderson, Kelly Henderson, Maria Irace, Margaret Newbury, Natasha Pomaski, Maeve Crane, Bernadette Crehan, Casey DeSarno, Jackie Gennusa, Nicolette Keale, Shannon Nichols, Sam Scire, Michaela Thompson and Shayna Tyas.

follow me on twitter: @samcostantino

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