Kate Connors worked with Shelby Madden, the coach she replaces as head of the Pittston Area field hockey program, and said they share many similar coaching philosophies.
They do have strategic differences, however, that can be traced to their playing backgrounds.
Connors and Madden worked together in the junior high program for two years before they also spent the last two seasons with Connors serving as junior varsity coach and varsity assistant.
“I think we really need to focus more on offense this year,” said Connors, who played at Pittston Area from seventh grade through her senior year when the program was just starting, then went on to play four years as a forward at Susquehanna University. “We were pretty strong on defense last year, but we just had trouble putting the ball in the cage.
“I come from more of an offensive background, so I like to concentrate more on that. We’re going to be working on transitioning easily from defense to offense.”
Connors said it was natural for Madden to approach the game differently.
“She was a defensive player through college and, as a coach, she wanted to focus more on that,” Connors. “I’m going to focus more on putting the ball in the cage and going from there.”
Connors, a chiropractor working out of Pittston and Wilkes-Barre, was appointed to the position in February. She will be assisted by Wyoming Area graduate Emily Wanko, who is back in the area after spending a year as a player in Old Dominion’s program and has some experience coaching with the Electric Surge club team.
“I’m really excited for what she has to offer the program,” Connors said.
Pittston Area girls won an indoor title together in the offseason at the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome and played in the King’s Summer League. They will begin official high school practices Aug. 13 with morning and afternoon sessions daily.
“We graduated seven or eight girls last year, so we have nine freshmen coming in, which is exciting,” Connors said. “We have a lot of spots to fill.
“We’re starting at 7:15 in the morning and we’re ready to hit the ground running.”
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