Lackey field hockey aims to re­gain mo­men­tum

Lackey field hockey ready for an­other strong run

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Last sea­son, the Lackey High School field hockey team cruised to a first­place fin­ish in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Po­tomac Di­vi­sion with a per­fect 6-0 mark, earn­ing a berth in the in­au­gu­ral con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game.

How­ever, af­ter 10 wins in 15 over­all games a year ago, head coach Sa­man­tha DeNardo and the Charg­ers are look­ing to re­gain mo­men­tum en­ter­ing the 2016 sea­son.

“As a young team we are us­ing the ti­tle of di­vi­sion cham­pi­ons as our mo­ti­va­tion,” said DeNardo, en­ter­ing her fourth sea­son at the helm of the Charg­ers. “We are not tak­ing any­thing for granted, our motto is still, ‘One team, one goal,’ and we are work­ing as a fam­ily to re­build and strengthen all the skills that we have and all the skills that we need to work on. This is a mo­ti­va­tor for us and we are go­ing to do what we need to keep it.”

Though los­ing sev­eral se­niors to grad­u­a­tion, the Charg­ers re­turn seven starters from last year’s di­vi­sion ti­tle squad, in­clud­ing their top two scor­ers in ju­nior for­wards J’lah Wat­son and Amanda Wik­ert.

“My role on the team will be to score,” said Wat­son, who will en­ter her third year as a starter. “Me and Amanda work re­ally well on the field usu­ally, so be­tween us we have to com­mu­ni­cate be­cause we are one of the lead­ers and our team is very young this year. We have to mo­ti­vate ev­ery­one else, and the new play­ers on the team are catch­ing on real fast.”

“Our team is very young this year, but we’ve worked very hard and I think we got it,” Wik­ert said. “We have to stay fo­cused and come to­gether no mat­ter what. Our team is based on fam­ily and we feed off the each other.”

Lackey is also re­turn­ing ju­nior start­ing

goalie Katie Wil­lett, who was the an­chor on de­fense a year ago.

“This will be a more re­build­ing year for us. We are a lot younger this sea­son and there is noth­ing wrong with that,” Wil­lett said. “We are try­ing get as strong as we were last year, but we have to fig­ure each other on the field. We will have to get into the groove in the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.”

With no se­niors on this year’s team, DeNardo said the ju­niors will be counted on to pro­vide the lead­er­ship to a team that will be very young this sea­son.

“We had some eyes on the field last year that were se­niors that I could rely on, but this year I have that same level of mo­ti­va­tion and some girls still have to get to know me and learn about the game,” she said. “But we have some girls that have var­sity ex­pe­ri­ence and they know me. I think we are ready.”

Lackey will kick off its sea­son next week with back-to-back home games ver­sus Chop­ti­con and McDonough, both con­tests sched­uled for 5 p.m.. Then, on Sept. 12 for an­other sched­uled for 5 p.m. start, it will hit the road to take on Patux­ent, which knocked them out of the play­offs last sea­son in Class 1A South Re­gion Sec­tion II cham­pi­onship game.

“It’s al­ways great to have our top scor­ers back,” DeNardo said. “The key to our suc­cess will de­pend on how well we work to­gether on and off the field. That said, I be­lieve we will work well to­gether. I’m proud of these girls so far they are ex­cited about the sea­son. It should be a lot of fun.”

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

Ju­nior for­ward J’lah Wat­son, left, bat­tles with ju­nior team­mate Jene Brooks in a re­cent team prac­tice. Wat­son is one of seven re­turn­ing starters com­ing back this sea­son for the Lackey field hockey team, which won the SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship a sea­son ago, go­ing 6-0 ver­sus county teams.

Ju­nior goalie Katie Wil­lett will be a re­turn­ing starter and an­chor of the de­fense for the Lackey field hockey team in 2016.

STAFF PHOTOS BY AJ MA­SON

Lackey ju­nior for­ward Amanda Wik­ert, one of the lead­ing scor­ers from the team last sea­son, will be one of the lead­ers en­ter­ing the 2016 sea­son.

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