Field hockey starts the season right where they left off

The+EHS+field+hockey+team+starters+enter+the+field+under+an+arch+created+by+their+teammates.+THe+heat+beat+Hazelton+Area+High+School+on+Sept.+9+10-0.+Photo+by+Alice+Adams.

The EHS field hockey team starters enter the field under an arch created by their teammates. THe heat beat Hazelton Area High School on Sept. 9 10-0. Photo by Alice Adams.

Maximus McGrath, Deputy Sports Editor

This previously ran in our September 2021 print issue.

The Emmaus field hockey team started the season undefeated — as usual — as they begin their push for yet another successful year behind some new and untested players.

As the defending state champions, the team must protect their title while also chasing their own.  This year the team not only is expected to make another run in the state tournament, but also push for Coach Sue Butz-Stavin’s 1,000th career win.

Making their way past Pocono Mountain East, Becahi, Hazleton and Easton, the girls are already beginning to find their groove for the 21-22 season. The expectations have always been sky high, as the successful reputation of the program has been maintained for decades leading up to this season.

Rachel Herbine, a junior who has committed to play field hockey at the University of Iowa, talked about how the history of the team continues to affect them every season. 

 “It really motivates us to keep up with the standard,” Herbine said.

Senior Kyleigh Faust, who has committed to play field hockey for Liberty University, built off of what Herbine had to say.  

“It motivates us, but it also comes with a lot of pressure,” Faust said.

Some big questions were also being asked as many key players graduated last year, leaving many holes in the starting lineup. Former starting goalkeeper Bailey Tietz, who now plays at Georgetown University, is succeeded by sophomore Emma Cari who has done nothing but impress through the first three games of the season.

Former midfielder Annika Herbine, now a University of Iowa field hockey player, left a gaping hole in the midfield that has been filled by Cornell University commit, Jenna Villeneuve. Villeneuve has showcased her ability through the early parts of the season that look to play a big role as they make their way through the schedule.

When asked about the promise of the new team, the players were all on the same page.  

“I think it’s different,” said Herbine. “But we will be fine. The spots got filled really well.”

Villeneuve also said, “We play differently. We don’t dribble as much in the middle. We do more passing so we don’t rely on as many individuals. It’s more of a team effort.”

Villeneuve continuously expressed the amount of confidence that she has for her teammates. 

“Our strengths come from our teamwork and unity,” Villanueve said.   “Our passing and ball movement is what allows us to play together, but without our team chemistry that does not happen.”

At the end of the day, the girls have the utmost confidence in each other to get the job done. With the reigning state champions’ target painted on their backs, Faust stopped any concern over what was running through the minds of the team going forward into the season.  

“We want to win states again. That’s it,” said Faust.

Villeneuve summarized the team mindset that she believes will carry them to another successful season in everything they wish to accomplish.  

“We try to take one game at a time and not worry about the end result,” she said.

A lot is expected to come out of this season for the Emmaus field hockey team as they focus on continuing to chase trophies.  Coach Sue Butz-Stavin is also chasing a milestone of her own.  She is approaching her 1,000th win with Emmaus’ team; she already holds the title of the most wins of any high school field hockey coach in the nation’s history.

The milestone game is approaching quickly as all eyes are on the team to follow in the footsteps of the teams before them, but also continue to pave their own road and put this year’s team on top.