What was the most memorable contest in the field hockey season just past?
It didn’t take Marielle Cavallaro, Delaware Valley High School's head field hockey coach, long to respond.
“The first game that comes to my mind is Dallas,’’ she said. “We played it early in the season, and it was our first win. Everything clicked. We studied film on them, we had a concrete game plan, we practiced everything we thought would help us beat them, and it all worked. We were prepared for the game, and we showed up to play.
“In addition, everyone did their job on the field for 60 minutes straight, which is normally really difficult to have happen. On top of all of that, our bench had incredible energy the entire game, which kept everyone on the field on top of their game. It was the perfect storm that coaches dream of.’’
Leadership favored the Warriors, who won six games this year.
“Ashley Thalassinos (senior) took on a large role as center back for us this season,’’ Cavallaro said. “She was an outspoken leader on the field who used her voice to help set up the team in many different situations. Skyler Padgett (senior) was a vital player on the field. When she showed up on her A game, the team would raise its level of play. She led with her abilities and her unrelenting competitive spirit.’’
Members of the class of 2022 were also leaders on the roster for Delaware Valley.
“Juliana Llaurado was a quiet leader on our team this year who simply filled her role to the best of her abilities, every single day,’’ Cavallaro said. “She stepped into the varsity goalie position halfway through the season and averaged over 11 saves per game.
“Gabbi Courtright, Shannon Croll and Mackenzie Olsommer were three other quiet leaders who just showed up ready to work hard every single day. They found themselves in important positions on the field and did all they could to fill the roles they were needed in with positive attitudes.’’
Llaurado was among the most improved student athletes on the team throughout the season for the Warriors.
“She was below-average goal keeper on the first day of preseason and by the end of the season she was competing with forwards and mids of opposing teams who will be playing Division I field hockey next year,’’ Cavallaro said. “Though quiet, we now realize she was soaking up all of the information we were throwing at her and learning how to convert it into how she played.
“I would also like to recognize the freshmen on our team. Grass hockey and turf hockey are very different games (they only played on grass in middle school). They had to learn new passes, shots, receptions and overall game plans. They were incredibly positive and had wonderful attitudes throughout the season. They improved so, so much from day one of preseason until the end of our season.’’
The fall 2020 season holds a lot of promise for the program.
“The younger girls on this team are extremely committed, they are excited to work hard,’’ Cavallaro said. “They want to improve their fitness, they want to work on basics and they want to work on advanced skills.
“Our sophomores filled huge roles on the team this year, and I am looking for them to step up even more in their leadership roles and in how they play. In addition, we have some juniors who got a taste of playing a good bit of varsity time and I hope that gave them reason to work hard to keep those spots or try to get even more time.’’