Huntington’s junior varsity field hockey team enjoyed its most competitive season in many years this fall. The Blue Devils won six games and showcased some talented underclassmen.
Coached by Huntington alum Ellyn Byrnes, the 14 player roster was captained by sophomores Ella O’Heir and Sophie Lange. The squad finished with a 6-8 record, which is a significant improvement over recent seasons.
O’Heir starred at midfield with Lange turning in a great season at forward. Sophomore Elizabeth Stair was a standout on defense. Freshman Sophia Weiss was the team’s talented goalie and fellow ninth grader Rafaella Gregorio displayed superb skills at midfield.
“Ella O’Heir drove in 11 goals this season and played great both offensively and defensively,” Byrnes said. “She was a leader on and off the field. Sophie Lange netted a hat trick against Riverhead and finished the season with six goals. Sophie Weiss was phenomenal in goal, racking up numerous big saves in every game and keeping us in tight games.”
Stair and Gregorio was spectacular, too. “Elizabeth Stair was almost unstoppable at sweeper, coming up with huge stops and clears for us,” Byrnes said. “Rafaella Gregorio netted four big goals this season and even stepped up to play goalie when we needed one.”
The roster also included freshmen Ella Ackerman, Alexandra Centrone and Aine Rinkus and sophomores Landry Flynn, Natalia Hernandez, Abigail Hopson, Megan Lewis, Hannah Song and Renee Tetrault. All of these players also played key roles in the successful season.
“They were a wonderful group of girls to coach,” Byrnes said. “Everyone learned so much this season and came so far from the first day of practice. We played hard and practiced hard and left it all out on the field no what the outcome of the game was.”
The six wins and several close losses left the team all pumped up. “We played hard and kept ourselves in the game against tough teams,” Byrnes said. “We came together as a family and played as one unit.”
Since the varsity team is graduating only one senior, most of the JV roster will be returning to the team next fall. Combined with current Finley eighth graders, the 2022 team could be quite formidable.
“We have a lot of potential to be amazing next season,” Byrnes said. “We have a lot of talent coming up and ready to play.”