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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:08:12 12:42:06

STAFF PHOTO/ALICE STUFFLE Lilly Rejrat works on her goalie skills by kicking the ball away at a preseason practice.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:08:17 13:49:44

STAFF PHOTOS/ALICE STUFFLE Emma Fowler tries to get away from Emily Beemer in a recent scrimmage.

Lackawanna Trail varsity field hockey is coming off a successful 11-6-2 record from last season and head coach Gary Wilmet is excited.

“We lettered 18 players last year, and return 14, including six sophomores,”said Wilmet. “We have a great mix of senior leadership and experienced underclassmen.”

According to Wilmet, the team made tremendous strides for a young team, and even though the team is still fresh, he expects the team to do well.

“We are coming off a season that we finished half a game behind Northwest Area for the Division II championship, and we have great expectations for this season,” said Wilmet.

With a lot of players who can play, Wilmet is encouraged by the numbers, in turn, increasing his roster size each season.

Senior back Willow Burnell is also eager to start the season with her teammates.

She said, “I think it really helps our team to have a lot of great players. Many of the younger girls are getting a lot of experience off season and it will continue to help them as they go through high school.”

Wilmet said, “This is my third year with varsity. My first year we had five wins, and last year we had 11. We are ready to win even more this season.”

Wilmet is joined by Trail grad Kelly Buck, who is in her 13th year with the Lady Lions program. She has worked with all levels from junior high up through varsity, and primarily works with the defense and keepers.

The Lady Lions are working on fine tuning and perfecting everything with focus on defense and better ball movement.

Wilmet is also happy to see the competitive drive in his players.

“We have gotten a ton of help from Keystone College coach, Ashley Irwin,” he explained. “She has worked with the girls and let us use the turf field on campus throughout the summer.”

Another way Irwin has helped Wilmet and the Lions is through the NEPA Force travel field hockey team.

“So many of us have played all through the winter and spring so I think the extra time spent together will help with communicating better and being on the same page,” said Burnell, who is a member of the Force family. “We can take what we learned and apply it to this season.”

The club held multiple clinics and camps throughout the summer at Keystone, and even offered an indoor winter clinic. Almost all of the Lady Lions have taken advantage of the Force partnership, and Wilmet has seen the benefits.

He added, “Having Ashley involved is a huge help. It keeps the girls active in the offseason, and makes them more proficient.”

“I’m super excited to have a great season with a bunch of really fun girls and continue to make memories,” said Burnell. “I’ve made some awesome friendships over the years through this sport so I feel really lucky. I’m also really excited about the possibility of playing in college.”

She added, “Coach Ashley has been so helpful by letting us use their turf during the summer and coaching us at the college level.”

Wilmet said his job now is to just find the right combination and put it all together.

“Finding the right rotation, that is the hard part now,” he said.

Roster: Seniors Willow Burnell, Paige Hyde, Bella Jagoe, Brianna Jenkins and Stephanie Kohinski. Juniors Belle Coleman, Morgan Faist, Liz Litwin, Olivia Rosengrant, Leah Levan, Catherine Litwin, Emma Oswald, and Isabella Pietrzak. Sophomores Abby Fahey, Dariane Jones, Maggie Martin, Josephine Paolucci, Lilly Rejrat, Jordan Spencer, and Isabelle Samsock. Freshmen Emily Beemer, Annabelle Demora, and Emma Fowler.

Schedule: (S) Aug. 26 vs. Abington Heights, 10 a.m.; Aug. 30 vs. Delawre Valley, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 5 at Tunkhannock, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 7 vs. Northwest Area, 11 a.m.; Sept. 9 at Hanover Area, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 11 vs. Berwick, 4:15 p.m.; (E) Sept. 14 at Wallenpaupack, 11 a.m.; Sept. 16 at Nanticoke Area, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 18 vs. Tunkhannock, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 23 at Northwest Area, 6 p.m.; Sept. 25 vs. Hanover Area, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 27 at Berwick, 4:15 p.m.; Sept. 30 vs. Nanticoke Area, 4:15 p.m.; Oct. 2 at Tunkhannock, 4:15 p.m.; (E) Oct. 5 at Wyoming Area, 3 p.m.; Oct. 7 vs. Northwest Area, 4:15 p.m.; Oct. 9 at Hanover Area, 4:15 p.m.; Oct. 14 vs. Berwick, 4;15 p.m.; Oct. 16 at Nanticoke Area, 4:15 p.m.