Re­turn­ing starters key for Golden Elks

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS - By KYLE RUS­SELL

Spe­cial to the Whig

Re­nee Dunn takes over as the third head coach in three years for an Elk­ton High School field hockey team that fin­ished 7-5 over­all and 5-2 in the Susque­hanna Divi­sion in 2015. Dunn — a 2013 grad­u­ate and 2012 All-County se­lec­tion (and two time hon­or­able men­tion) her­self — re­turns seven starters from last year’s squad.

Among the returners is three-time All County se­lec­tion Erin DePaul, who tal­lied nine goals, and four as­sists in 2015. Lead­ing scorer Vanessa Dunn, a two-time Al­lCounty se­lec­tion and Re­nee’s younger sis­ter, is also back in the fold af­ter rack­ing up 11 goals and six as­sists in her sopho­more cam­paign.

“Vanessa and Erin are def­i­nitely our two big work­horses,” coach Dunn said. “They work so hard. They are the kind of play­ers that give 110 per­cent, no mat­ter what I ask of them in prac­tice.”

Other key returners in­clude se­nior Ju­lia Mat­sen, ju­nior Ni­cole Baldino, se­nior Mad­die Rzu­cidlo, sopho­more Han­nah Moore and se­nior Savelle Brown. Both Brown and Rzu­cidlo have earned hon­or­able men­tion All-County nods in the past.

Ju­nior goal­keeper Fal­lon Katz is also back to mind the cage.

Fresh­men Ri­ley Ester­ling and Brook­lynn Rau have also im­pressed in the early prac­tices, and should be con­trib­u­tors to the Golden Elks success this sea­son. Dunn cred­its the in­clu­sive team cul­ture with help­ing some of the younger play­ers get up to speed so quickly.

“That’s the one good thing about this team, we are a very tight-knit group,” she said. “We don’t have a JV, so the var­sity really is our en­tire team — they all just treat each other amaz­ing, and they are all great girls.”

All-in-all, Dunn be­lieves that Elk­ton has the fire­power to push for the lower divi­sion crown, and be com­pet­i­tive in ev­ery con­test.

“We hope to take the new drills and stickwork and skills that we have been work­ing on and just ap­ply them to the game,” she said. “We will give it ev­ery­thing we have, that’s for sure. This team does not give up. Our goal is to be in ev­ery game, and hope­fully take some wins.”

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Three-time All-County se­lec­tion Erin DePaul, right, is one of seven re­turn­ing starters for the Elk­ton field hockey team.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Goalie Kait­lyn Ste­wart, right, is one of eight re­turn­ing starters for North East.

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