This spring's award program honored over 25 student-athletes for their athletic excellence.
Varsity Field Hockey - Girls
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Varsity Season Record: 8-7-1
Captains: Julia Gasbarre ’17, Annemarie Bobinsky ’17 and Dresden Moll ’17
Athletic Awards: Marie Fiedler MVP Award: Julia Gasbarre ’17 and Annemarie Bobinsky ’17; Most Improved Player: Erin Redlawsk ’17; Aylie Fifer Spirit Award: Tia Forsyth ’18
Filling the shoes of a group of talented and memorable graduating teammates is never easy, but with the leadership of the 2016 captains, Annemarie Bobinsky ’17, Julia Gasbarre ’17 and Dresden Moll ’17, success was their number one goal. “With their leadership and attitude, we were able to achieve that,” said Head Coach Kelsey Closen commenting on the success this season. It was another exciting season from the onset for this new and young squad of girls, with only 11 returning varsity players, stepping up, trusting each other and having a lot of fun in the process.
Facing many injuries this season, not a game went by where the entire team was healthy and on the field at once. But even with injuries, the team fought through and found the positive in most situations, making adjustments as needed. “We moved people around a lot, covering a variety of positions. Our players were flexible and able to play different positions thus allowing us to move people around to give us the best game advantages. Once the new players become comfortable in their positions, the team then learned how to play with each other,” said Closen.
The captains were in the spotlight this season, providing leadership and teaching new skills to the younger teammates, ultimately bringing the team closer together. The Marie Fiedler MVP award winners and captains Gasbarre and Bobinsky, along with captain and goalie Moll led the 2016 team. They put enormous effort in making sure this season was successful for every athlete on the team. When asked what were the team’s biggest strengths, Closen didn’t hesitate with her answer. “Confidence, and trust within our team. They never hesitated when passing to someone. Everyone trusted each other with the ball and how to get the job done.”
Adapting to changes and the ability to accept a new challenge was another strength may players had this fall. Brooke Barsella ’19 was originally a floater who turned into a varsity player just after the first game of the season and finding her final position in defense. Adjoa Tettey-Fio ’17 moved from defense to middle, making a huge impact in her new position without hesitation. Finishing her senior year career on the field hockey team, Erin Redlawsk ’17 improved with tremendous hard work, earning her the Most Improved Player for the 2016 season.
With a season of close matches, the Stow-Munroe Fall High School matchup was a good start to the beginning of the season, giving the team confidence for the remaining competitions. This particular game went into overtime, but thanks to an incredible save by goalie Julia Michel ’19 and a winning goal from Gasbarre, the team was able to ring the Victory Bell yet again on their return to campus. The game against Shady Side Academy was another successful win, highlighting the team’s confidence on the field. “It was the best game I have ever seen this team play. Our passing was amazing, and we were playing all together, everyone in the right position at the right time with everything flowing in sync,” said Closen.
Closen and the team are looking forward to another successful season in 2017. They may be losing a handful of seniors yet again, but there are many young players that are ready to step up to the challenge next season. Current varsity players Forsyth, Chloe Zampelli ’18, Abi Burner ’18 and Avery Brewer ’18 will be returning to the offense and Haley Myers ’18, Michel, Brigie Kelley ’18 and Barsella will return to defense.
Varsity Season Record: 8-7-1
Captains: Cristen Barnett ’16 and Annemarie Bobinsky ’17
Athletic Awards: Most Improved Player: Dresden Moll ’17; Aylie Fifer Spirit Award: Maddi Little ’16; Most Valuable Player and Gold Medal Award: Cristen Barnett ’16
First-year Head Coach Amy Donnelly ’90 arrived back on campus late this summer after teaching in New Hampshire. Having been a player for the field hockey program herself, Donnelly had an understanding of the importance of traditions at WRA. Yet, it was her two captains, Cristen Barnett ’16 and Annemarie Bobinsky ’17 that approached her, advocating for team bonding and establishing the precedent for the season.
“Cristen and Annemarie were both phenomenal captains,” said Donnelly. “They possessed a maturity beyond what I remember having at their age. Their willingness to lead by example, to work hard every practice, and be supportive of their teammates made this season enjoyable.”
Donnelly further highlighted Bobinsky, an All-League Honorable Mention selection. “Annemarie modeled excellent habits, and her teammates acknowledged and championed the fact that she was a leader on and off of the field. She often does not get the credit that she deserves.”
This season saw its highs and lows. After a tough defeat at rival Hudson High School in their second match of the season, the team rebounded and used the lessons learned in that match to better themselves. In a mid-season match against Hawken, the girls rallied from a two-goal deficit twice and tied the match in the closing minutes to force overtime. When facing defending state champions Shaker Heights High School, the team held Shaker Heights scoreless for almost the entire half and placed enough stress on them to cause worry in their opponent. Against Hathaway Brown, a team whom the seniors have not beaten in four years, the Pioneers battled, at one point shoeless (Julia Gasbarre ’17 played aggressively for a three minute stretch sans shoe, a hazard in the physical game of field hockey) to a 3-3 draw.
Donnelly pointed to her seniors as the reason that this season was memorable in many ways:
“Gracie Morgan gave her entire heart and body (injuring herself while playing) to her team, even playing with a broken thumb.”
“Manager Grace King devoted long hours, some in the rain and freezing temperatures to make sure we had our equipment, accurate stats and an organized coach.”
“Sierra Gibbons was sidelined with an injury, but never let it get her down or separate her from her teammates. She was devoted to being a part of all that we did.”
“Cecily White shared her humor and talent with us, impressing us with her controlled dribble and excellent stick skills (and her humor).”
“Maddi Little (an All-League Honorable Mention) has great stick skills and determination. More importantly she is a positive force on the field, keeping her teammates from getting down or giving up.”
“Cristen Barnett was a great captain and fierce competitor.”
“Kristina (KK) Kaszei was incredibly consistent and devoted to playing defense. She supported her teammates and was a pleasure to coach.”
“Marin Valentine’s warmth and dependability saved us from goals and carried the ball out of the red zone. She never complained and always approached field hockey with joy.”
Next fall, Bobinsky, Gasbarre and Dresden Moll ’17 will captain the squad.