A challenge the Weston High varsity field hockey team has faced since the start of practice could ultimately help it when the 2012 season starts.
Faced with such a large turnout, the Trojans have to sort through their numbers to find the right players for the right positions. They will soon find out if they have the right combination for success.
“We see some good potential,” said first-year head coach Nicole Pidgeon, who has 47 players out for the program, which includes varsity and JV teams. “We’re still figuring out the numbers and who’s playing where.”
A few pre-season scrimmages, such as the New Fairfield Jamboree this Friday and Saturday, will serve as good tests for the Trojans. They officially start the season on Tuesday when they host Masuk at 6:30 p.m.
A special education teacher at Weston High, Pidgeon was co-head coach of the team last year with Christina Donigian, who led the team for three seasons before stepping down due to work commitments. This marks Pidgeon’s second tenure as head coach, having also led the team in 2004-05.
So far the Trojans have devoted much time to working on speed drills, which could help them score more goals and in turn improve their record. A year ago they finished at 2-13-1 overall, getting shut out a number of times.
They did graduate a number of experienced players since then, including former captains Hannah Goodman, Kelly Quinn and Erin Ackerman. An All-Patriot Division selection, Ackerman was on defense, as was Quinn. Goodman, an All-South-West Conference honorable mention, was a center forward.
Weston also graduated midfielders Tess Fagan and Maggie McCusker, forward Carleigh Scher and Lucy Hazan (defense).
Weston will count on a large senior class this season that includes captains Anna Mahony, Ana Babinec and Shawnee Sloop, all starters last season. Mahony (All-State, All-SWC) will give the Trojans experience in goal while Babinec is in the midfield. Sloop will be back on defense.
Also back is classmate Julia Armijo, who was a forward last season. Catherine Kimberly and Sarah Levin also saw varsity time last year. Other seniors include Claire Cook, Lily Cook, Bridget Johnson and Liz Lepore.
Weston will have only five juniors this season. Some will play varsity and some JV according to Pidgeon.
“They look good right now,” she said. “We’re working on speed and getting together as a team.”