This past Friday the Lady Knights Field Hockey team of Wheaton High School stepped onto their home field for the last time. The New Wheaton High School will break ground on Richard Riddle Stadium this summer. The Knights have struggled at Field Hockey for several years going winless in the last two. That changed earlier this season when the Knights beat Northwood. Since that game they’ve played their opponents close. Friday the girls faced Seneca Valley who has had their own struggles winning only 2 games this year. The Knights played tough and turned away many challenges but held on to win, 1-0. Wheaton’s Junior Alyssa Denikos got the game’s lone goal with just under 13 minutes left in the match. Senior Goalie Kristina Coverley recorded her 2nd shutout of the season. To just look at wins and losses would be a superficial evaluation of their progress. Knights Coach Alex Helberg said of the team, “I believe we have been working harder than in years past. We have created a family mentality in which we all work for each other and no player is above the team. They have really bought into this and it shows in how the girls are treating each other and how hard they have been work.” Many of the girls come to the school with little to no experience in Field Hockey. Coming into the new year, Coach Helberg knew before they could worry about scoring they’d have to work on stopping the other teams from scoring. “Defense has been a definite stress of mine the entire year. It obviously starts with great goaltending and after that we have three girls that have been working so hard on defense; Jocelyn Alvaraga, Julissa Juarez, and Karen Valenzuela. They have been a unit and to pick one standout would be hard. If I had to however, it would be Julissa that has become the quarterback or field general that tells girls where to stand and what to do.” The bad news is the Knights will be losing experience at Goal when Coverley graduates this year. The good news is…that’s it. The majority of the team is expected to be returning hoping to capitalize on their experience. Coach Helberg added, “Michelle Darkwa has been working really hard in practice as well as with the JV, and will be able to step in next year ready to go with the varsity girls. I have high expectations for the team every year. If Michelle is able to step up like I think she can, I think we could win 5-6 games and be a .500 team or better. I truly think if we take the right steps in the offseason (keeping in shape), preseason (working hard every day at practice), and recruiting the income freshman, our team could be one to watch for a long time in the future.” The Knights will next travel to Walkersville HS in Fredrick County in the State 2A playoffs on Thursday October 25th.
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