Patriots optimistic about 2016 season
BENNINGTON >> There is some old and new things brewing up for Amber Cottrell in her third year as head coach of the Mount Anthony field hockey team.
On the returning side, the Patriots bring back three core seniors from last year's team in Alex Cross, Whitten Coyne and Taylor Hayes.
All three players are now playing in their fourth year with Cottrell as their coach and are the foundation of the Patriots team this season.
"We definitely have a core group of players coming back in Alex, Whitten and Taylor," Cottrell said. "It's been really fun watching the develop into key players for us the past four years and I'm very excited to see what they can accomplish in their senior years."
Cross will be at the center of the action for MAU as their center midfielder, while Cotten will be one of the Patriots top scores as a forward and Hayes will be the team's top defender on the back line.
All three players are also the team's captains this season and Cottrell said that will be huge for the team having leaders at each part of their lineup.
Also returning for the Patriots is goalie Savannah Rogers.
After a very impressive freshman campaign in net last season, Cottrell said she expects Rogers to be even better this year with now having a year of varsity experience under her belt.
From the returners, there will be also be some new faces filling in key roles under Cottrell this season for MAU.
Starting at the forward position, sophomore Ciarra Raetz is expected to be one of the team's top offensive threats this season after playing well in limited time as a freshman last year.
Another fresh face joining Raetz on the front line is freshman Chloe Rogers.
So far in the first two games of the season, Rogers has really impressed the Patriots coaching staff with her speed and stick skills.
On the back lines, junior Ashlee Billert is expected to be a top nose defender for MAU this season along with senior Hayley Richmond who is a very versatile player for the Patriots, being able to be a midfielder or a defender for the team.
Junior Morgan Martocchio will also see her playing time increase this season on varsity, playing either as a forward or as a midfielder for the Patriots.
"We have a lot of girls that are stepping into bigger roles this season for us," Cottrell said. "Some have some experience on varsity from last year and some don't, but I think all them have proved throughout camp that they have really improved from last year and are ready for the challenge."
The biggest thing the team will focus on now to help them win games this season is defense, said Cottrell.
Even if players are forwards, Cottrell is preaching to her team that everybody on the field is a defender.
"You're not just a forward, defender or a midfielder, you're a player on this team," Cottrell said. "We're not looking to have run and gun scoring games all the time, we want our team to a play a complete game and that means everybody who is on the field, needs to play defense when the other team controls the ball."
Because of the team tenacity and relentless pursuit to the ball, Cottrell said the team has a defensive mindset already and that their offense will build off from their great play on defense.
As for what she foresees the team doing this season, Cottrell said she is very optimistic about what the team can do after their 0-0-1 start to the season, but believes that the team has the ability to be a very competitive in the league.
"I'm very optimistic about what our team can do this season, but I think we a chance to a .500 team for sure," Cottrell said. "Will have to see how the season plays out, but I'm very excited to see how this team jells and plays throughout the season."
The Patriots will next play rival Burr and Burton today at 4 p.m. They battled them to a tie in the two teams' season opener this past Friday.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.