The Louisa Lions’ field hockey team is getting their season underway, boasting a roster of 19 players for the season, including six returning members of last year’s varsity squad.
Four of the team’s six seniors are back for the 2022 season, including goalies Adriana Watkins and Ashleigh Wheeler. Seniors Alexis Fickes and Kelsey Williams also return as do juniors Mallory Greslick and Nikki Chenault.
Greslick will be back in the midfield for the Lions this season, and coach Meredith Williamson says she is glad to have her back.
“[Mallory] is going to move the ball for us really well,” she said. “She’s a junior so the more she can play and develop those leadership skills, she’ll be even better next year.”
Williams and Fickes return to the Lions’ defense, bringing some solid continuity to their positions.
“Kelsey is a solid rock for us on defense,” Williamson said. “She can command the defense without being overly vocal, and Alexis gives it her all every single time. She’s been a really great leader for us, with her consistency and maintaining the demeanor of ‘I work hard when I’m in the drill, I have fun when I’m on the field.’ It’s been really fun to watch.”
This year’s team boasts a number of players moving up from the JV squad, including freshman Lorelei Choi, whose sister Gracie was a senior on the varsity team last season.
“I’m really excited about her skill and what she can bring to the game,” Williamson said. “She’s going to be a nice addition to the middle of the field.”
Also moving up from the JV team are sophomores Gracie Stone and Rosalyn Young, and juniors Alura Ackerman, Grace Hobbs and Tessa Smith.
Among the new players to the Lions’ squad are senior Nicole Creel and junior Lauren King. While neither have played field hockey before, both bring athleticism to the table, which Williamson said she’s excited about.
“You can’t teach athleticism, but you can teach field hockey,” she said. “I’m excited to have them contributing to what we’re going to do on the field.”
Rounding out the roster are senior Janie Smith, juniors Gladys Escorza, Maggie Feagans and Christina Plaza-Arias.
The biggest challenge for the team so far has been the weather, which has forced the team to practice inside the metal gym instead of outside due to either rain or high temperatures.
“We can’t have late night practices or early morning practices, so I have to take advantage of the times I have the players, me and my coaching staff all in the same place at the same time, and that’s from 3:30 to 6,” she said. “We’re doing the best we can ... I know the girls are really frustrated, but it’s been so muddy the times we have been outside or so unbearably hot. We work with what we’ve got and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re trying to keep a positive attitude.”