By JOHN NESTOR
WEST HARTFORD – There is still a lot of field hockey to be played but the Conard Chieftains are happy with what they have accomplished so far.
With a record of 7-0-1 after eight games, Conard is one of the top teams in Class L and the CCC.
Sparked by stingy defense and a great work ethic, the Chieftains allowed just two goals in their first eight games and are of to a fast start.
“We couldn’t be happier with our start,” Conard coach Cathy Callahan said. “We are extremely proud of our players discipline, and work ethic. We have been blessed with a great group of kids that love field hockey and that is the first step in winning any game. These kids know how to play with heart and we are a team that is continually striving for excellence together.”
Conard’s unbeaten start has featured balance and contributions from up and down the roster. Nine different forwards scored goals in the first eight games paced by Cassie Falvey with seven goals and Kiernan Henderson with six. Callahan also credited three of her midfielders – Mel Newton, Grace Murray and Charlotte Leyland – for making great transition plays all season to spark the offense.
As solid as the offense has been for Conard, defense has been the constant. The Chieftains posted shutouts in six of their first eight games and allowed just one goal in the other two. Callahan said the team would be no where without its three top defenders Maggie Geisler, Caroline Kane and Julia Lankin. and goalie Emma Everett, who has also played extremely well the last three games making 28 saves.
The hot start has set Conard up with the opportunity to accomplish some great things this season but a lot of work lies ahead.
“As we look forward in the season our toughest games are coming up these next few weeks,” Callahan said. “Farmington, Glastonbury and Simsbury will truly we games to see until our last game vs. Hall. We are very hopeful to play successful games against these teams. If we utilize our team tactics and positive energy we will exceed at our own expectations.”
The Chieftains went 12-3-0-1 last season and appear to be on track to be at least as good if not better this time around. As well as succeeding on the field, Callahan is equally impressed with her group’s efforts off the field as well.
“We are creating a group of wonderful, caring, passionate, student athletes, and young women, who will in turn create a great program for our future,” Callahan said. “Outside of our game schedule many players are volunteering their time as youth coaches and refs in our youth league.
“In addition to raising funds for the Conard golf scholarship, and Cancer research, in our Play 4 the Cure game Thursday. We will also be helping out with the town wide PE cross country meet and holding a free clinic for our youth program at the end of October.”