Change to 7-on-7 play suits Silver Lake field hockey team just fine.
KINGSTON – With six starters returning, including two Patriot League All-Stars, the Silver Lake field hockey team is hopeful it can post a winning record in the pandemic-shortened 11-game regular season and then make some noise in the double-elimination league tournament that will replace the state tournament this fall.
Senior Caity Hazley and junior Toni Irerdi will lead the Lakers. Both were named league all-stars last season and figure to spearhead the attack in the new 7-on-7 format. Irerdi is coming off a season when she led the team in scoring with seven goals and five assists, while Hazley directed the offense from midfield.
“[The 7-on-7 format] definitely suits Toni,” Head Coach Erica McGhee said. “We leave her up front, above the 50. She and Caity work great as a team. They kind of feed off each other.”
Irerdi got off to a great start in the team’s opener on Oct. 1, scoring both goals in the Lakers’ 2-1 win over Whitman-Hanson.
Still, McGhee said there are adjustments to playing 7-on-7. “It’s going to be a very different game,” she said. “It’s much faster. You don’t have people who they normally would be to pass to, and we will be putting a lot on our defense. In 11-on-11, it’s natural for them. In 7-on-7, they don’t know where to go or where their teammates will be.
“But we’re fast and we have good stickwork. I think we’ll score a lot this year.”
With so much open field, fatigue will also be a factor. “I will have to sub frequently, probably every five minutes,” she said.
The Lakers also welcome back starters Calleigh Nolan, Paige Nally, Natalie Bohmbach and Allison Dahlen. Nolan, a senior midfielder and defender, scored three goals last season. Nally and Bohmbach, also seniors, will be on the backline, and Dahlen, a senior, returns in goal.
“Allison has worked really hard in the offseason,” McGhee said. “She played club and worked on her conditioning. She is doing really well and being very aggressive in net.”
First off the bench will be senior forward Ava Mirisola, junior forward/midfielder Hailey Beatrice, junior forward Abby Powers and senior forward Jordan Bucherri.
“Beatrice and Powers will be interchangeable. I can put them at any position on the field,” McGhee said. “They will be an integral part of the team.”
Although the season will be over quickly, McGhee said none of her players are complaining. “They are just pumped to be playing,” she said. “None of them have complained about wearing a mask. They are just happy to be on the field.”