Kittatinny High School field hockey program was especially strong this year.
“Some of the most impressive games we played this season ended up as close losses against strong, competitive teams,’’ Kittatinny head coach Emily Wisneski said. “Specifically, our Mountain Lakes and West Milford games stand out. Mountain Lakes was a team that beat us twice, decisively, last year. This year we played one of our best games against them. We scored right away in the first half and held them defensively most of the game. Although we lost in overtime, we played extremely well and I was very proud of our effort.
“Our West Milford game was very similar. Although we ended up with a loss, it was back and forth the whole time and it was one of our better games of the season.’’
The Cougars advanced to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 1 Sectional Tournament as the No. 12 seed and were defeated by fifth seeded Westwood.
“Our four wins were also very memorable this season, especially our final game against St. Elizabeth's,’’ Wisneski said. “The win was exactly a month after our previous win against North Warren in late September. Instead of hanging their heads after 10 losses in a row, the girls were determined to end the season on a high note and fought for the victory. I was very proud to see their hard work and dedication pay off.’’
Leadership on the roster helped keep Kittatinny steady throughout the season.
“Our entire senior class truly led the team-Abby Roggenkamp, Kate Sikora, Nellie Choma, Carly Rigby, Nicole Tomlinson and Tia Melvin,’’ Wisneski said. “They were crucial in many ways and were excellent captains. They did a great job of communicating on and off the field and keeping players interested and motivated. They all also excel at leading by example. Throughout the season they all worked their hardest and represented what it takes to be a successful varsity athlete.
“Junior Sarah Douglas was one of the biggest surprises this season. She joined the team for the first time as a junior with little to no prior field hockey experience. She is a strong, hard working athlete who quickly picked up the game. Because of that she earned time as a varsity sub a few weeks into September. She kept learning and developing and by the end of October she was a starter for us. I am very excited to see what she will accomplish next season.’’
The Cougars aim to keep a positive frame of mind for upcoming seasons.
“Although we are losing six crucial seniors, we have a large junior class who stepped us for us this year and are ready to take on and lead the program next year," Wisneski said. "Additionally, we had four sophomores get varsity experience and two other competitive sophomores who will be looking for expanded roles next year.
“Our freshman team developed tremendously over the course of the season and I am excited to see what they will do for us next year as well. Our JV team was also very successful, winning or tying most of their games. Overall we have a lot to look forward to next season.’’