Across the board, this past season can be deemed a success for West Milford High School field hockey. At every level - freshman, junior varsity and varsity - the Highlanders earned meaningful victories that bode very well for the future of the team.
“This year our program as a whole did phenomenal,’’ West Milford Head Coach Krista Provost said. “Our freshman team actually broke the freshman season winning record from 2009 (9-7-2) and ended 13-1-1. Coach Jessica DiNetta worked these girls at practices and had them operating like a well-oiled machine on game days. Coach DiNetta will be stepping back from coaching after completing her eighth season with the team. We are super sad to see her go, but beyond proud of what she has done for our program.
“Our JV team, coached by Michelle Paluzzi, had another stellar season. This is typical for our JV squad, as she has broken numerous team winning records in the past, JV ended 12-2-1. Varsity had a great season as well, we ended 13-7, a program total of 38 wins, 10 losses and two ties. Definitely something I am very proud of and excited to see how we will do next season knowing I am getting a well-trained incoming freshman group from the youth program (over 15 girls) and returning high school players to fill the varsity roster as we lose nine seniors to graduation.’’
Coach Provost recall some of the most memorable moments from the varsity squad.
“Our game against Old Tappan earlier on in the season as well as our Senior Night game a few weeks ago against Westwood are definitely my top two games of the season,’’ Provost said. “I just loved our team’s energy going into those games and the endless hustle that was noticed out on the field. Against Old Tappan our passes were missiles down the field and crisply placed onto one another’s sticks for a quick transition up field. The forwards scored incredible goals that were noteworthy to remember, we won 6-0.
“In our Senior Night game, all nine seniors started and played the majority of the game and their intensity was seen and felt. It was like a championship game, even though it was just a normal league game, but the girls did not make too many mistakes. We used powerful drives, beautiful aerial passes and the communication was out of this world. Truly a game I will never forget, a 3-0 shutout.’’
A number of student athletes emerged as leaders for West Milford this year.
“In addition to my three captains, Erin Harvey, Kayla Healy and Sofia Marotta, the following other players definitely emerged as leaders on and off the field this year-Kallie Moore, Abigail Weiss and Hayley Schmier, all seniors who slowly started to realize this is it and began speaking up to motivate their teammates,’’ Provost said. “Juniors Jakke Galella and Meagan Van Kirk had the realization that they will be leading the team next season as we lose nine seniors to graduation. Sophomore, Avery Vacca, really stepped up out on the field as our center midfielder.’’
Several players impressed the coaching staff with their steady improvements throughout the season.
“Senior captain Erin Harvey was amazing to watch this season,’’ Provost said. “I do not think I substituted her during games, because the chemistry and vibe would shift when she was not out on the field. She is my left back and has explosive interceptions and quick speed to block her opponents. She had seven goal line saves, a career total of 14. Sophomore Amelia Pilatowski really impressed me this season as a returning varsity athlete. She started most games as our right midfielder and game by game I saw her confidence grow and it was incredible to experience this throughout the season. As an underclassman, it is often challenging to figure out your role on the field, playing over juniors and seniors. However, Amelia had a great attitude about it and always put her team first.
“Our goalie, sophomore Samantha Krautheim played youth as a field player, however, her freshman year I could not determine where I wanted to put her, on the front line or defense. Then, I had the idea of putting her in the goal and that was a great decision. She started and played in all 20 games this season. She had 140 shots on goal, 110 saves, 22 goals allowed (six of which came from our final game in the NJSIAA North Jersey Group 2 Sectional Tournament against powerhouse Hackettstown) and 10 shutouts.’’