Lancaster High School girls field hockey coach Crystal Schunke isn’t too sure what to expect out of her Legends team that has just six seniors on the 20-player roster. But she does know that her girls will be ready to compete every day regardless of the opponent.
The season opened with a hard-fought tie at rival Clarence – and the Legends coach expects the opening nail-biter to be a prelude to a season of back-and-forth battles for Lancaster.
“I’m excited about this year with my young team,” Schunke said. “I’m expecting a lot of exciting games like this but with us on the winning side. I think we should be competitive in every game this year.”
The season started a little ominously for Lancaster in the season opener as the rival Red Devils were on the board just three minutes into the game on a goal by Alyssa Andres. But Lancaster kept battling back and eventually tied the game with a little less than 20 minutes left in regulation on a crash-the-net goal by senior Ally Dirschberger.
Lancaster had some chances later in regulation and in overtime – as did Clarence. But after the regulation and overtime periods and a shootout, the Legends were left to settle for a tie.
“I’m very happy with coming back and finishing it with at least a tie,” Schunke said after the game. “Obviously we’re disappointed we couldn’t get a win there in the shootout but we played well. “After giving up a very early goal, I was proud to see my girls fight back to tie it up. We wanted to win but we battled back and I’m happy with the tie.”
The Legends are led by senior goalie Alexia Kaplan, a fourth year varsity player. She serves as a tri-captain along with Dirschberger and Briandra Mercado, two seniors that will be seen on both attack and defense.
Entering the season, there were just five Lancaster players on the roster that had previous varsity field hockey experience. So it was tough for the Legends to be able to figure out who the standouts were going to be.
But early on, the Legends showed signs of being able to work well together – and without a true superstar on board, Lancaster expects to see everyone step up to fill a role and contribute.
“I don’t really have set players that are going to be the dominant force for us,” Schunke said. “That’s going to help us. They work well together.”