The Highlanders stand at the ready

West Milford High School field hockey team opens the season Sept. 10; first home game is the next day.

| 29 Aug 2021 | 01:40

With positive traits such as enthusiasm, confidence and team work in their favor, the West Milford High School field hockey program is set to begin the 2021 season.

The Highlanders are scheduled to face Lakeland in the regular season opener on the road on Friday, Sept. 10. Their first home game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, versus Hackensack.

‘It’s about being a team player’

Key returning student athletes to the varsity roster for West Milford includes Sofia Marotta (senior, captain, center forward), Erin Harvey (senior, captain, center back), Kayla Healy (senior, captain, right wing) and Meagan Van Kirk (junior).

Newcomers looking forward to making a strong impact at the varsity level include Avery Vacca (sophomore, center midfield), Amelia Pilatowski (sophomore, right midfield), Hayley Allwood (sophomore, forward and midfield) and Samantha Krautheim (sophomore, goal keeper).

“In addition to the captains setting the tone, Emmy Hearn, Kaity Kymer, Kallie Moore, Hayley Schmier, Gracie Syme and Abigail Weiss (all seniors) have truly impressed me so far and it’s only a week into the season,’’ West Milford head coach Krista Provost said. “They want what’s best for the team and are demonstrating that team first attitude for the rest of the program to see and take note of. They are making it known that it’s not just about playing time and scoring goals, it’s about being a team player and doing your part to help the team. Injured, waiting to get substituted in, it doesn’t matter, being a part of the program is what makes them happy.’’

The Highlanders completed yet another successful season in 2020 with an overall record of 12-5.

’An intensity like no other’

“I am very confident that this upcoming season will be a strong performance from West Milford,’’ Provost said. “I only lost four players to graduation this spring and have nine seniors (most are starters) returning and a handful of returning varsity sophomores. While our goalie is new (Sam Krautheim), she brings an intensity like no other and is driven to do her best and get her team just as pumped up.

“Some team goals would be going back to the Passaic County final championship game. We won Counties in 2016 and 2017, then went to the final round in 2018, but unfortunately lost 1-0. Did not make it to the finals in 2019 and of course last season 2020 we did not have the Tournament. So we are very eager to do some damage in our County.’’

The competition

The Highlanders compete in the Big North Conference Independence Division along with Wayne Valley, Passaic Valley, Fair Lawn, Lakeland and Wayne Hills.

“Definitely our county rivals Lakeland and Wayne Valley [are top teams to beat],’’ Provost said. “In our (Big North Conference) League, Ramsey is always a solid program that we strive to match out on the field. They are a powerhouse.’’