New Coaching Staff has Elkton Field Hockey Undefeated in 2016
Elkton has been the surprise team in the UCBAC's field hockey division this season. After finishing 7-6 in 2015, the Elks have jumped out to a 10-0 mark this season.
The biggest change that has come with the program is the coaching staff. It's been entirely overhauled, with Renee Dunn leading the way as the new head coach.
The team's fast start began with a 1-0 victory against Perryville, which reached the MPSSAA 1A North regional title game in 2015. The win against a highly touted opponent gave the Elks confidence that it could be a special year.
"We expected to be competitive, but did not expect to be undefeated this far into the season," Dunn said.
A big reason for the team's success has been the form of its defense. The group has been as stingy as can be, only allowing three goals this season and registering eight shutouts. Six of those shutouts happened consecutively, a streak which ran from a 5-0 win over The Tome School on Sept. 15 to an 8-0 victory against Joppatowne on Oct. 5.
The group is anchored by junior goalkeeper Fallon Katz, who Dunn described as being brilliant this season. In front of her is senior Savelle Brown and a pair of juniors in Elissa Mellott and Abby Grieninger.
"Our defense has great field awareness and recovers quickly," Dunn said.
Elkton's offense hasn't been shabby either, averaging a little over four goals a game. The team's top threat has been junior forward Vanessa Dunn, who has 19 goals and 11 assists this season. Her fellow forwards have had strong seasons as well- junior Nicole Baldino has six goals and four assists, while senior Maddie Rzucidlo has scored three times and has five assists.
The midfield is led by senior Erin DePaul, who has contributed nine goals and assists.
"We are working hard on our hits and attacking the goal at each practice," Dunn said. "We're an opportunistic team, looking to capitalize when given the chance."
The Elks will close out the regular season by putting its unblemished mark on the line by facing Kent County and Harford Christian.
After those games, the playoffs will be up next. With the form Elkton has shown in the regular season, the team could be in store for just as special of a postseason.
"We hope to continue our success and improve our skills as a team," Dunn said.
|October 12th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|