PREP PREVIEWS: Lady Cougars ready to reign in MTAL

Christopher High field hockey player Janelle Hernandez, left,

Seven juniors anchor young team with high expectations
First year as a varsity program – don’t think for a minute that’s stopping the Lady Cougars from setting lofty expectations.

So they are stepping into a league with veteran teams, that doesn’t mean a Central Coast Section playoff berth is out of the question. Conversely, head coach Stacy Myers expects her Christopher High varsity field hockey team to not only compete but contend for a league title in the Mission Trail Athletic League this season.

“I would like us to finish in the top three. I think that’s realistic,” Myers said at practice Wednesday. “I think it will be a hard goal to do because the other teams have been around a while. If I put it to them and they work hard, I think top three is doable.”

The two teams who finish at the top of the standings come season’s end earn a bid to the playoffs.

“Top two would be ideal,” Myers concluded.

Seven juniors, who played through the growing pains on the Junior Varsity team last season, return to anchor a varsity squad that has 16 players on the roster this season, bringing with them the needed experience and leadership a young team requires.

“I am noticing more intensity, especially from the returning players,” said junior Sophia Amelio, who served as a co-captain last year. “Everyone wants to get better and really improve.”

Knowing they are embarking on a brand new journey, the Lady Cougars have already changed their approach to handling the rigors of practice day in and day out.

“I feel like we have to live up to that level,” Amelio said. “We want to improve our skills that we learned last year.”

Aside from the increased hustle on the field, the attitude of the players has taken on a whole different level.

“There is no silliness,” junior Danielle Dias said, who also served as co-captain a year ago. “We need to be on it and really bring it to the field. We leave all the drama of school and home off the field and just play field hockey.”

A 3-2 loss to St. Francis in last year’s season finale – a contest in which the Lady Cougars led for a majority of the game – has served as a reminder that wins aren’t unreachable by any stretch of the imagination.

“I think they are still kind of feeling the hurt from losing so much last year,” Myers said.

“But I tell them that we played a lot of powerhouses last year, Mitty, St. Francis, teams that are always in CCS (playoffs). Once that sinks in I think they will get the confidence.”

Going through a season where everything was new and wins were difficult to come by has given the Lady Cougars a callousness and understanding of the ups and downs a season will inevitably encounter. With that foundation set, they have come out the otherside as a tighter unit.

“The girls are really truly friends and they are always hanging out,” Myers said. “They are enjoying their time out here. They are doing this knowing it will make them better.”

More so then anything else, the 2010-11 season will serve as another stepping stone toward an established program.

“I think the goal is to win more of our games and use the skills and tricks we have learned out on the field,” Dias said. “We have already bonded. We are pretty solid.”

CHS varsity roster

Gabriella Alvarez – sophomore

Sophia Amelio – junior

Johnna Blank – sophomore

Danielle Dias – junior

Bayle Francis – freshman

Jasmine Gutierrez – junior

Janelle Hernandez – junior

Mariah Martinez – junior

Cailin McCarry -freshman

Haylee Peterson – junior

Madeline Peterson -sophomore

Raquel Roberts – sophomore

Kyle Robinson – freshman

Abigail Smith – junior

Arianna Vasquez – sophomore

Erika Velasquez – sophomore

2010-11 League Schedule

9/16 vs. Carmel

9/21 @ York School

9/23 vs. Santa Catalina

9/27 @ North Salinas

10/1 vs. Monterey

10/4 @ Stevenson

10/8 @ Notre Dame – Salinas

10/15 vs. York School

10/19 @ Santa Catalina

10/21 vs. North Salinas

10/26 @ Monterey

10/29 vs. Stevenson

11/1 vs. Notre Dame – Salinas

11/5 @ Carmel

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