Valley Field Hockey Celebrates a Memorable Senior Night
Junior Grace Haskins and the Valley Regional field hockey team went 1-2 in their three games last week. After two tough losses to North Branford, the Warriors grabbed a 5-0 win against Haddam-Killingworth. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior Mia Alio scored two goals in the Warriors’ win over Haddam-Killingworth on Oct. 23. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Lauren Wiegman picked up a goal in the Warriors’ 5-0 win over Haddam-Killingworth in their Senior Night celebration. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Valley Regional field hockey team moved past the midway point of the season over the course of three contests last week. The Warriors lost a couple of tough games against North Branford, but bounced back with a win over Haddam-Killingworth to close out last week’s slate.
At 2-3-1 on the year, Head Coach Beth McCabe Powers’s squad is looking to finish out the rest of the campaign strong over the next two weeks.
North Branford is always a tough matchup, and the Thunderbirds have yet to lose this year. McCabe Powers would have loved to come away with a win in one of the games the teams played this week, but she takes some solace in the fact that the Warriors looked better and more comfortable in each quarter they played.
“The scores are not really indicative of the up-and-down play on the field in those games. North Branford is well-schooled and disciplined. If you breakdown on defense at all, they will score on you. They have some wicked corner shots that some college kids probably can’t even stop,” said Coach McCabe Powers. “I thought that as we went on, we got better each quarter as each game progressed. Even in the game on Wednesday we got a little better over the game on Monday. We got more opportunities and shots.”
On Oct. 19, Valley played North Branford on the road and took a 5-0 loss to the Thunderbirds. Two days later, the Warriors hosted North Branford and dropped a 4-0 decision. Coach McCabe Powers thought that perhaps the biggest advantage North Branford has—besides its potent offense—is its experienced roster.
“They have a bit more seasoned group than we have. That always helps,” said McCabe Powers. “Seniors tend to play confidently. Hopefully, we can build that confidence, too.”
The day after the Warriors’ home loss to North Branford, they hosted a Senior Night contest against Haddam-Killingworth. Valley only has one senior on the squad this year in captain Lauren Wiegman, and she received a treat as Valley prepped the football field known as “The Hill” to host the game.
“We were very excited. For first time in many years, we played our senior game on the big field down the hill,” McCabe Powers said. “Tip of the hat to the administration for letting us do it. It was a morale booster after the last two games. We got to play on the football field, and it was all fancied up for Senior Night.”
Valley Regional scored a 5-0 win against Haddam-Killingworth. The Warriors posted one goal in the first quarter, a pair in the second, and a goal apiece in the third and fourth quarters. One of the highlights of the game was Wiegman’s goal in the second quarter. Wiegman was set up by junior teammates Abby Amara and Margaret Jacaruso.
“Abby laid a beautiful pass to Margaret at right wing,” McCabe Powers said. “Margaret centered it to Lauren, who was floating around the stroke mark, and she put it right in.”
Coach McCabe Powers has been proud of Wiegman’s leadership and dedication to the team this season. McCabe Powers thought it was only fitting that Wiegman should choose her spot in the game and get a pretty goal to boot.
“Lauren handled Senior Night great. She’s a studious, level-headed kid, and she was super excited to get a goal in that game,” said McCabe Powers. “I was half-teasing her that it was going to be her day, and she was just super focused. She’s done all the right things and led the team in her own way. I asked her where she wanted to play because it was her day, and she wanted to play floater. It resulted in a great goal for her.”
Junior Mia Alio scored a pair of touch-in goals—both assisted by Amara. Valley’s other two goals in the victory came from Jacaruso, who scored on rebounds off of the goalie. Fallyn Belisle didn’t have to make a save in the contest as the Warriors’ midfield and defense had stifling games against the Cougars.
“There wasn’t much play in the backfield. I don’t think H-K had a shot on goal because the midfield played so well,” said McCabe Powers. “Abby was playing drop center forward, which is essentially in the midfield. Grace Haskins played right midfield in the first half and left in the second half. Lily Grow did a great job in there, as well. They did the lion’s share of the work in the midfield, and the outside defensemen played well, which kept them from getting any shots on Fallyn. Brooke Levine had an outstanding game on defense.”
As for the rest of the season, Valley has four more games on the schedule. One of those games will be against Westbrook, two more are against Morgan, and the final game will be versus Old Saybrook. Coach McCabe Powers knows that the rest of the way won’t be easy, but if her team plays well, they should grab a nice seed in the Shoreline Conference Tournament.
“I expect the same robust, low-scoring game—possibly ending in a tie—we normally have against Westbrook. There will probably be a lot of midfield play. Everyone knows everyone, and there are no secrets,” Coach McCabe Powers said. “We’re expecting those games against Morgan to be competitive. Their goaltender Abbie Gordon is outstanding. She can shut us down if she’s having a great day. Old Saybrook will be a very difficult. On grass might be more advantageous for us. We’ll have to work our hardest. It’s definitely doable.”