North Allegheny field hockey looking to reclaim WPIAL crown

Thursday, September 20, 2018 | 9:30 PM

After finishing second last season, the North Allegheny field hockey team (5-2 overall, 2-1 in Division I) hopes to reclaim a title it has won more than any other squad.

The Tigers have been WPIAL Class AAA champions in 13 of 21 seasons. They last won in 2014.

They reeled off five straight wins before losing to Peters Township, 1-0, in a division tilt Sept. 18.

“Our goals are the same as any team in the WPIAL — win as many games as we can and take home the title,” Tigers second-year coach Trish Herbert said. “With the new structure in the WPIAL divisions, it will prove to be a challenging schedule for any team.”

Senior midfielder Bridget Russell (five goals and two assists) is among top players. She gave a verbal commitment to Kean University for the 2019 season.

The Cougars ranked 14th in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III Preseason National Coaches Poll. They placed second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament last season.

Russell said she considered Juniata.

Herbert believes Russell will do well.

“She is a player (who) faces challenges down with intense game play and great stick skills,” Herbert said.

Senior midfielder Laura Schwendemen (three goals and two assists), junior forward Hailey Wachowiak (six goals) and sophomore forward Marisa Hess (four goals) add to the attack.

Senior midfielder Amy Genter and senior defenders Trystan Laughrey and Kayley Cooper are other proven competitors.

Genter, a captain, said the Tigers have a strong group of skilled players, which will allow them to better control the play.

Laughrey, a captain, believes the Tigers are playing up to their ability.

“Whether it be customizing our strategic formations game-by-game or bonding, we’re making it work,” she said.

The Tigers came in second to Pine-Richland in Section 1 and the WPIAL championship last season. The two are scheduled to meet Oct. 17 at Pine-Richland. The Tigers lost in the first round of the 2017 PIAA playoffs.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.


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