Think­ing big

North Point field hockey fo­cused on 2017 sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

A sea­son ago, the North Point field hockey team proved they were among the top teams in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Po­tomac Divi­sion.

How­ever stand­ing in its path was its Charles County neme­sis La Plata, which took the divi­sion matchup over the Ea­gles in a 2-1 re­sult and fin­ished as the even­tual divi­sion cham­pi­ons with a 6-0 record.

With the 2017 sea­son vastly ap­proach­ing, North Point is hun­gry to get back in prime po­si­tion to con­tend for a divi­sion ti­tle once again when the reg­u­lar sea­son be­gins Sept. 5 at North­ern.

“The girls have been work­ing hard and we want to take it this sea­son,” said North Point head coach San­dra Fair, whose team fin­ished 6-8 over­all, 5-1 in divi­sion play in 2016. “Last year all we needed to do is beat La Plata in that game [last Sept. 27]. So our goal is to win the Po­tomac Divi­sion ti­tle and be more com­pet­i­tive against the St. Mary’s and Calvert County teams in SMAC.”

De­spite los­ing sev­eral key se­niors to grad­u­a­tion, North Point brings back seven starters from last sea­son’s team.

North Point’s Olivia Bell, one of seven se­niors on this year’s ros­ter, will be

in the cage. Bell was the backup goalie last sea­son be­hind starter Ju­liana Rosasaco, who grad­u­ated, and hopes to bring that same ag­gres­sive­ness and lead­er­ship as the last line of de­fense.

“We’ve been prac­tic­ing for the last [three] weeks and I’m so ex­cited that the sea­son is about to start,” Bell said. “The first half of our sched­ule is a lit­tle hard, we play some of the dif­fi­cult teams. But we have some young tal­ent and play­ers that are ready to learn. The se­niors are go­ing to take the lead­er­ship role and as long as we do that the sea­son should go pretty well. Our team is ex­tremely close. Friend­ships are al­ready formed and we bring in on to the field and have great chem­istry.”

On some of the stiff com­pe­ti­tion that the Ea­gles will face this sea­son, Bell said: “La Plata al­ways gives us a run for our money within the county and in SMAC, North­ern and Leonard­town are al­ways tough. It is go­ing to come down to ex­e­cut­ing. We are go­ing to give those teams the best fight we can and it comes down to play­ing to­gether.”

North Point se­nior for­ward Ayanna Bell was one of the team’s top scor­ers and of­fen­sive weapons from a sea­son ago and has high ex­pec­ta­tions for 2017.

“Right now are work­ing on un­der­stand­ing each other’s strengths and weak­nesses and get­ting along and grow­ing as a team,” she said. “Some of my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties is that I have to com­mu­ni­cate with the mid­field, look to score and make sure ev­ery­one is in the right spots on the field so that we can be ef­fec­tive.”

Af­ter a long sum­mer break, Bell said that she and the team are get­ting back into the swing of things with a few weeks of prac­tice un­der their belts.

“When we first started prac­tice it was a bit of a cul­ture shock be­cause of be­ing off for the sum­mer break,” said Bell, who will be a two-year starter also. “Now that we are back it I’m hav­ing a great time and I love the team. There are a lot of great peo­ple here and we are start­ing to make friends. That is what gets me through it and get­ting up in the morn­ing for prac­tice. I like that it is a fam­ily like at­mos­phere.”

Fair spoke highly of her key se­niors.

“Olivia is al­most like a sec­ond coach. She steps in and knows my mind, and if I don’t say it, she says it,” Fair said. “Ayanna is the quiet strong one and is the back­bone of our team, ev­ery­one on the team loves her. Katie [Klahr] is an­other one of our skilled play­ers and doesn’t say much, con­trols the sit­u­a­tion and when she needs to put in her in­put she does it.”

Fair added that Sydney Beall and Olivia Sim­mons will be other play­ers to watch for the up­com­ing sea­son.

“Sydney can be one of our top scor­ers this year and Olivia will take the role and be­ing our cen­ter [mid­fielder] and the quar­ter­back of the field,” Fair said.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

North Point se­nior for­wards Katie Klahr, left and Ayanna Bell bat­tle for the ball in a drill at a re­cent prac­tice. Klahr and Bell will be key lead­ers for the Ea­gles in the up­com­ing 2017 sea­son.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

North Point se­nior Olivia Bell, the start­ing goalie for the var­sity field hockey team, will be one of the key lead­ers for the Ea­gles for the up­com­ing 2017 sea­son.

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