During her tenure as the head coach of the West Milford High School field hockey program, Krista Provost and her team have realized many goals. Now, together, they are about to reach a milestone.
Provost is just one win away from her 100th career victory at the helm for the Highlanders. Several returning student athletes to the varsity roster are hoping help guide West Milford toward an abundance of triumphant moments this season.
Three team captains lead the way
“My top returners are senior captains, Amanda Finke (forward) and Amanda Gerold (defense), junior forward Sofia Marotta and junior midfielder Kayla Healy,’’ Provost said. “My newcomers on varsity are senior captain (goalie) Darianne Perez, Avery Vacca, Amelia Pilatowski and Hayley Allwood. My three team captains have set the bar high this off season, starting back in November (of 2019), to prepare for this season. The team held weekly conditioning practices throughout November-March (until schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic) and senior captain Darianne Perez attended all sessions to help get her team excited and focused.
“Captains Amanda Finke and Amanda Gerold attended and led the team in their winter training session and summer preseason camp,” the coach added. “The captains also structured weekly practices on their own, providing drills and skills along with team bonding activities and provided athletes with tips and suggestions on foods to eat before and after practicing. These girls want to do well this season and lead by example. They are energetic on the field and that same energy transitions off of the field. They have done an outstanding job creating a positive energy and vibes throughout all three levels (varsity, JV and freshmen).
“Anything that I need assistance with,” Provost said, “these girls are right there to help the coaches.”
‘That sense of family and team’
The Highlanders are scheduled for a road game at Wayne Valley on Saturday, Oct. 3.
“This season my goal is to continue to develop that sense of family and team,’’ Provost said. “I actually finished my Master’s Degree and my thesis was focused on team-building and how to develop strong bonds with students and athletes to promote success-in school and on the field. My thesis ended up being 90-plus pages and I look forward to using all of the methods I discovered in my research and applying them.
“I know how important these bonds off of the field are with regards to success on the field,” the coached added. “The team was sad to hear that the Passaic County Tournament was cancelled due to COVID, and while they were upset, they just want to play; together.’’
Last season, West Milford tallied a strong overall record of 11-7-2 and advanced to the semifinal round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament before losing to eventual Sectional and State Group 2 champion West Essex.
‘At any moment’
“Due to COVID the league has been restructured and now we are only playing local teams,’’ Provost said. “I feel as though we will definitely be a top contender in our county and look forward to playing against competitive and well-coached teams. Wayne Valley won the county title last season, so we have them on our radar.
“Athletes and coaches fully understand that at any moment the season can be cancelled and we take each practice together very seriously,” Provost said. “The girls leave the field knowing that could be the last time they are standing on it. As a coach I play my practice plans knowing tomorrow may not come for us, and I want to make each session memorable, especially for my hard-working seniors-Amanda Finke, Amanda Gerold, Riley Lane and Darianne Perez.’’