Getting back into the swing of things

Norwin field hockey opens section play and gears up for October.


Norwin Field Hockey makes a comeback after a rough 2021-22 season of low roster numbers and tough opponents. 

With an early season record of 3-5, the team learned so much already and has set high goals for the 2022-23 season.

Field Hockey Schedule
The schedule for the 2022-2023 field hockey season.

On Sept. 6 the team faced off against Taylor Allderdice, winning 12-0. The success of the game can be linked to team’s offensive strategy. Rarely having the ball in their defensive half, the team was truly able to pass the ball around on offense and give everyone a chance to score. Captain Kayla Cessna (12) scored the first goal of the game and gave the team the boost of confidence they needed to dominate the field. 

The team’s momentum, however, faltered on Sept. 13 when they lost 0-8 to defending WPIAL champion Pine-Richland and Sept. 15 with a 0-4 loss against Mt. Lebanon. 

The high scoring games resulted from a series of corners throughout the game. A field hockey corner, which is a set penalty play against the defense, is a very common way to score. The offensive team stands around the edge of the sixteen yard circle, and have the opportunity to score on their opponents while having the advantage of higher numbers, as only 4 defensive players remain in addition to the goalie. Corners can result from a number of infractions, but the ball hitting the defense’s feet or hacking sticks are the most frequent.

Camden Reese - Field Hockey
Camden Reese (9) dribbles up the field. (Josh Waskowitz)

Despite the upsetting losses, the beginning of the season is looking bright, as the team received a lot more preparation for this season than in years past. 

“This season, we started up twice a week practices during the summer to prepare us for the season,” captain Kayla Cessna (12) said. “In years past, the newest players pick up their sticks when the season starts, and then we have games in a few weeks. The summer practices helped us shape up our skills before the season and help the new players begin to learn the basics.”

Not only did their summer practices help develop their skills, but they also played in an early scrimmage against Oakland Catholic on Aug. 25. The location was not favorable, as the field was not regulation size and only one field hockey net was available, but the team did their best and bettered their skills nonetheless. Click here to watch some clips from the scrimmage. 

Over the past few games, the focus has remained on the defensive line. With a majority of the game in the defensive half, the defense has worked very hard to maintain their positioning and keep up with their opponents. Some of their biggest issues have been penalties. A majority of goals scored resulted from the ball hitting someone’s foot, hacking at sticks, or trying to tackle from behind their opponent. All of these issues are constantly being addressed and worked on during practices. 

“Our defense is very powerful,” defensemen Ally Pingree (12) said. “We have strong passing and strong drives, but we really need to work on getting to the ball and having our sticks down and ready for the ball. We have been leaving the posts open on the side which doesn’t provide help for our goalie. We also have a tough time with the mental aspect of the sport. We shut down when a ball gets past us.”

Mya Matthews
Mya Matthews (12) makes a clean tackle against her Pine-Richland opponent. (Josh Waskowitz)

Having not scored during either the Pine-Richland or Mt. Lebanon games, the team has been working heavily on their offensive movement and plays. 

“The strengths we have as an offense is the speed and ability to use our skills individually,” offensive captain Chloe Lorenc (12) said, “but our weakness is putting those skills together and working as a team to enhance all of our skills into one. 

With identifying their weaknesses, the team has come up with a plan on how they want to approach the remainder of the season. They have goals, and will do whatever it takes to achieve them. 

My personal goal is to lead the defense to success and be the backbone they can rely on and trust.

— Goalie Ray Mamas (11)

“My personal goal is to score on the teams I haven’t before in previous seasons,” Morgan Smith (12) said. “There’s teams I know we could beat and the timing just hasn’t been right, this season I’m determined to change that.”

Head coach Will Kelly, who has served as the Lady Knights’ coach for three years now, is working harder than ever to help the girls master the basics and continue with their skill building. 

“We are doing well in our effort,” Kelly said. “We’re playing hard but we need to work on our fundamentals. Getting our fundamentals straight will help everything else fall into place. When we get the basics down packed we can focus on more difficult skills and make us a better team.”

The team isn’t out of consideration for the playoffs yet, as their wins against Allderdice and Hempfield have allowed them to pull ahead of some of their competitors. However, with a series of difficult games ahead of them, the team plans to take advantage of all the practice time they have left, as they still have much to work on. 

“Along with basic skills like communication and focus, we’re working on pushing our offense forward so we can try to have more opportunities to score,” Cessna said. “With our offense more forward, it gives us an advantage because they will be closer and more prepared if a midfielder or defender sends a ball up the field.”

Varsity - Field Hockey
The varsity starters stand for the national anthem before their game against Hempfield. (Josh Waskowitz)