Sports Person of the Week
Belisle Brings Her Best to the Net
Fallyn Belisle took over the starting varsity goalie position for the Valley Regional field hockey team as a sophomore this season. Fallyn showed tremendous promise and made some brilliant stops in big spots throughout the campaign. (Photo courtesy of Fallyn Belisle )
Fallyn Belisle displayed her mettle in the net for the Valley Regional field hockey team this year. Fallyn took on a starting role as a sophomore and performed admirably in her debut campaign as the Warriors’ varsity goalie.
Fallyn had already showed some potential as Valley’s JV goalkeeper, drawing the attention of Warriors’ Head Coach Beth McCabe Powers. Fallyn was initially slated to be integrated into the goalie rotation for Valley this fall, but due to challenges that stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic, she played a much bigger role than anticipated.
“I played a little bit of goalie in middle school. Last year, I played goalie the whole season in JV,” says Fallyn. “At first, I was nervous, but I was really excited when I got the position. Once I got used to it, I wasn’t as nervous.”
Being named the varsity starter was a huge deal for Fallyn, and that accomplishment will go down as one of her proudest moments as a Warrior. The fact that she earned a starting spot as a sophomore who had more experience as a defender than a keeper made Fallyn even more excited about that achievement.
“It definitely felt good being named goalie for the varsity team. I felt really proud that I got a varsity position,” Fallyn says. “I had been playing indoor field hockey with Tsunami for a while, and I just started playing goalie recently in indoor. Before I played goalie, I played defense, and it’s a lot different. When you’re out in the field, you’re playing with the stick. As goalie, you transition to kicking the ball and stopping it with your feet.”
Fallyn became interested in playing goalkeeper in large part due to her mother Mary Beth having played the position. Fallyn credits her mom for helping hone her skills as a goalie.
“What really got me interested in goalie was my mom. She played goalie for field hockey when she played. She helped me learn more about the position itself,” says Fallyn, who lives in Chester. “It would have been nice to have time before the season to be able to practice with the team, but I tried my best at home to practice with my mom.”
Fallyn feels that one of the most important aspects of being a strong goalkeeper is effective communication. While in net, Fallyn tries to leverage her prime vantage point in order to help her teammates mark the appropriate attackers. In terms of physical skills, Fallyn has a good eye for the ball and plenty of range in the cage.
“I think when the ball is in the air, those can be surprising, but I’m pretty good a stopping it. Also, I’m good at reaching for the ball. Goalie has the best view of the field. A defender might not be able to see the ball and, if I yell out something, that could be really helpful,” Fallyn says. “I think I can work on talking more to the players. I’ve noticed that I can sometimes be too quiet on the field. Next season, I want to talk more.”
Coach McCabe Powers knew that she was asking a lot of Fallyn when she named her the starting varsity goalie this season. However, Fallyn did not disappoint, and it looks as though the Warriors have a solid netminder in tow for the foreseeable future.
“Fallyn has stepped up into the varsity role with all the desire and intensity you would love to see from a young goaltender. She is fearless and she doesn’t get overwhelmed. We look forward to her continued improvement as she gains experience,” McCabe Powers says. “Overall, we are very excited about Fallyn’s future, and we’re tremendously pleased with her play this season.”
The COVID-19 pandemic created all sorts of challenges for athletes this year, especially when it came to staying fit, while also being careful when going out in public. Fallyn also missed out on her chance to play lacrosse at Valley as a freshman since all sports were canceled as a result of the pandemic this spring. Consequently, Fallyn had to take her training into her own hands.
“I’ve been staying home as much as possible and not going out too much,” says Fallyn. “My mom would hit the ball to me, so I could work on stopping it. Sometimes, I would go on runs or we would go on family hikes on the trails around here.”
When Fallyn isn’t involved in her schoolwork or athletic endeavors, she enjoys expressing her artistic side through painting. Fallyn’s family also raises chickens and ducks, which she enjoys taking care of in her spare time.
“I’m really into art. I like to paint at home. I usually use acrylic or water color, and I like to paint landscapes, sunsets, and things like that. I like to make paintings and hang them in my room. Sometimes, I’ll paint stuff for my friends as gifts,” Fallyn says. “We have eight chickens, two roosters, and we also have four ducks. I like to take care of them. At the beginning of the quarantine, we decided to get some ducks and chickens. We have a pool in there for them. They live together, and they get along.”
As the start of the Shoreline Conference tournament neared, Valley Regional High School had an uptick in positive COVID tests, causing the school to shut down temporarily. As a result, the Warriors saw their season cut short just before the playoffs. It was a big letdown for Fallyn and her teammates, although she’s proud of the Warriors for the perseverance they displayed throughout the season. Fallyn is still hoping that the Warriors will be able to cap off the year by holding some sort of event to honor the team’s lone senior captain, Lauren Wiegman.
“It was really sad. Our season just ended abruptly,” says Fallyn. “We didn’t get to have a goodbye for Lauren. We’re going to try to have a socially distanced thing in the future, so that we can do that.”
Fallyn remains excited about her team’s prospects for the 2021 season. Valley will be bringing back many athletes, and Fallyn believes that bodes well for the Warriors.
“I feel like we’ll have a better season next year. Most of our players are staying, so we’ll have more experience playing together,” Fallyn says. “Hopefully, COVID won’t be around to ruin our season, and we’ll get a longer season, too.”