Girls Field Hockey Clinches Sectional State Title

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Brian Bobal

The team celebrates their state win, holding up the official NJSIAA hardware.

Rebecca Ries, Editor-in-chief

“Historic season” and “celebrated win” are a few phrases that begin to describe our field hockey team’s monumental run this fall. Through injuries, storms, and tough competition, the team continued to work hard and succeed. In a neck and neck game, Hillsborough became sectional state champions, beating Phillipsburg 5-4. 

Important highlights of the season include beating the formidable Ridge, whom Hillsborough had not secured a win against in five years. After losing to them in a close game in the county finals, Hillsborough overcame them 2-1 in state semi-finals to advance to the final round against Phillipsburg. 

In addition, Captain and Goalie Kerri O’Donnell reached a milestone of 500 career saves this season. In her fourth year on Varsity, O’Donnell has greatly contributed to the success of the team this fall through her agile saves in the goal.

Captain and Midfielder Lauren Flynn reflects back on her time with the Hillsborough Field Hockey program, and looks ahead to playing for Stevens Institute of Technology. 

“It was awesome to be able to make a mark on the program together,” Flynn said. “Having such a great experience in high school gets me really excited to continue playing in the next four years and sets high expectations for my future seasons.”

Head coach Jennifer Puritz, who led the team to victory this year, remarked about her methods of motivating the team to its full potential. 

“We promoted a no regret mentality where the athletes left the field being proud of themselves and their team,” Puritz said. “Putting 100% effort into competitions led to wins against powerful opponents that we have not beaten in years. All of the coaches are just so proud of the accomplishments of the team this year.”

Puritz also recognized the undeniable talent of the players, and how their close comaradarie with each other after years of play strengthened their teamwork. 

Underclassmen to be noted include leading scorers junior Kaitlyn Williams and sophomore Hannah Bianchino, who scored fourteen and twenty goals this season, respectively. Junior defender Hailey Vogt is also to be recognized for her strong command of the ball and lofty aerials, which are key in moving the ball down the field.