Wyoming Area will turn to a senior-dominated lineup to try to continue the strides the field hockey team has made in recent seasons.
The Lady Warriors followed up their first winning season ever in 2014 by setting a school record for wins, going 13-2 and reaching the District 2 Class AA semifinals.
Bree Bednarski, one of the nation’s top scorers, has graduated, but coach Chris Comiskey is hoping experience and the potential to build a balanced lineup will make up for the loss. Bednarski, who scored a state record 67 goals last season, is already receiving regular playing time at the University of Michigan, which is 3-0 and ranked 10th in the nation.
“We actually have more seniors on the field than we did last year, which is kind of neat,” Comiskey said. “Obviously, we’re losing a lot with Bree, but I think overall we have a better attack spread out; not just one or two players.
“I think there are three or four who are really going to start putting the ball in the cage.”
Wyoming Area again has NCAA Division I players on the field with Old Dominion recruit Emilie Wanko at center midfield and Lafayette commit Grace Angelella at right midfield.
“Grace is coming off an injury; she had a hip problem,” Comiskey said. “She’s definitely back to form this year.
“She’s ready to take the next step. She’s been great.”
Wyoming Area is strong up the middle defensively.
Goalie Katie Wolfgang, center back Madison Mulhern, and cover (defensive midfielder) Madison Beppler are all seniors returning to the same positions.
Lexi Crossley is moving from right back to left midfield and Lindsey Feeney is switching from left midfielder to left back for their senior years.
Victoria Braccini, another senior, moves into the starting lineup at center forward.
Two of the three freshmen starters will join Braccini on the forward line. Lauren Parente is on the left and Kari Melberger is on the right.
The other freshman breaking into the lineup is Abby Giunta.
The experience allows the Lady Warriors to expand on the progress they’ve made.
“We have a lot of confidence in it,” Comiskey said. “The girls are smart. It took them a while to kind of get our system down, so now we can add things.
“The last few years, I felt like we were showing them the way we want to play. Now, I feel like we can critique them within our system.”
Field hockey has switched from two to three classes on the state level. Because most schools around the state with field hockey are larger schools, Wyoming Area is in Class A, the smallest enrollment classification.
The recent success makes Wyoming Area one of four Class A schools, along with Lake-Lehman, Wyoming Seminary and Lackawanna Trail, that will compete in Division 1 of the newly aligned Wyoming Valley Conference.
All of the WVC’s Class 3A and 2A schools are in the 15-team divisions where teams play each other once each for a 14-game league schedule.