Raritan High School field hockey team pointing to a bright future

first_imgBY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer It’s been a rebuilding campaign for the Raritan High School field hockey team, but the Rockets have played much better than their 3-9-2 record might indicate. Despite its youth and a spate of injuries, Raritan has been competitive, earning ties with St. John Vianney and Red Bank Regional, and in losing by one goal to both those teams. The Rockets also lost a pair of one-goal games to Manasquan. “The girls have worked hard and their attitude is excellent,” coach Janet Citro said. “They’ve shown that they can pretty much play with anyone, but our inexperience really hurt us. On the other hand, what they learned this year will help us next season.” Citro was pleased with the play of her seniors, whom she credited with bringing along the newer players. Captain Kristin Langan is battling through a groin injury and has remained a presence in the middle, where she has scored a goal and added three assists. Maria Oliverio, another midfielder, also did a strong job despite a painful hip injury and also contributed a pair of goals. Forward Jean Coppola leads Raritan in scoring with eight goals and two assists, and Jamie Kosmoski has two tallies. Hard-working fullback Lauren Piro is a leader on defense. The Rockets have been without midfielder Michelle Rotella and fullback Lauren Gaudenzi, both of whom were injured during the summer while attending field hockey camp. Meanwhile, several talented juniors are gaining valuable experience, including forwards Allison Darakjy, Jackie Castro and Jackie Gerhardt; midfielder Adrienne Pannullo; and fullbacks Carleigh Dufford and Michele Steiner. Versatile sophomore Jess Sanchez has shown promise in the backfield, and goalie Jackie Wood has been a pleasant surprise. Wood came to Citro prior to the season and volunteered to play goal. The athletic sophomore has been outstanding. “Jackie Wood is a great competitor,” Citro said. “Jackie has kept us in games with her play. She was a forward who had never played goal before and she stepped in and has done a great job. She stopped 25 shots against St. John Vianney to keep that game tied. She’s just going to get better and better — the whole team is. We have a lot to build with for next year.” Raritan still has at least two games left, against Neptune and Howell, but the Rockets are hoping to add a few more matches. “The girls want to keep on playing. That’s a good sign,” Citro said. Round-up… While Raritan will not be seeing any postseason action, a number of local teams are looking for solid runs in the upcoming state tournament. Meanwhile, in Shore Conference Tournament play, Middletown North, who improved to 10-3-2 with a 3-0 blanking of Rumson-Fair Haven on Saturday, was set to travel to Manasqaun for its quarterfinal round game on Monday. The Lions have put together a stellar season despite facing a challenging A North schedule this year, and are certainly battle-tested now that the postseason has arrived. While North was hoping to challenge for the SCT title, the Lions will also have their eyes on the Central Jersey Group IV tournament, which will start next week. Among the other local teams to qualify for the state tournament (the deadline was Saturday — teams needed a record of .500 or better to qualify) were Middletown South, who at 7-6-1 is in a similar situation as its cross-town rival after playing in A North this fall; St. John Vianney, who just got in at 6-6-3; Holmdel, another close call at 7-7; and Keyport, who has impressed on its way to a 10-6-1 mark this fall.last_img read more