What the Chariho field hockey team lacks in seasoning they’re going to try and make up for in aggressiveness this fall.
“I think that we will compete. I’m really hoping that the second half of the season these girls will really come together,” Chariho coach Johannah LaFountain says. “The biggest thing I keep telling them and telling them and telling them every practice is that we’re going to have to make up for our inexperience with speed and aggressiveness.
“If they can manage to be mature and do those things every game I really do think we have a good chance of giving other teams a run for their money.”
The Chargers graduated just six seniors off last season’s team but where they played on the field – particularly goalkeeper Kaitlin Dolloff, defender Jenna Flynn, center midfielder Michaela Carrier and forward Mattie Russell – has caused the team to shift most of its veterans to new positions.
“With the exception of Hollie Pryor our defense is completely brand new,” LaFountain says. “We have moved Elana Lamont who has played forward the last three years of her career is now on defense so we’re feeling pretty good with Hollie and Elana back there who have some experience.
“We’re definitely going to be missing Kaitlin in goal. Maddie Powers, she’s our new goalie and she’s a sophomore but she’s young. She’s definitely going to take her lumps this year.”
Offensively the Chargers are in much better shape though, as senior Alexis Marsella is sliding into Carrier’s spot at center mid.
“We feel really, really good about that,” LaFountain says. “She’s great at that, a natural leader and she’s obviously got the best hit on the team.”
Senior Emily Manning will join Marsella in the midfield, while junior Amanda Picozzi – who had a very strong year playing forward last season – will drop back to midfield as well.
“I was very hesitant about moving her but she actually came to me in the spring time and she had been playing [midfield] on her club team,” LaFountain says of the decision to move Picozzi. “She said, ‘I want to go play in college, I just feel like there’s a lot of forwards and I want to be in the midfield specifically for college. ‘
“I said alright, we can give it a shot. She was the one that talked me into it definitely. I was really nervous about it but now I can see I’m very happy with our decision.”
Junior Arianna Alfiero will be one of the few players not moving to a new position as she will be back at center forward this season, where she will be joined up front by sophomores Mason Jones and Emily Louzon.
The biggest surprise for the Chargers has been the play of freshmen Maeve Anderson and Ally Bobbin, as the two first-year players not only made the varsity but are in line to start.
“We were very hesitant about doing it at all but these girls the two of them are very unique. They fit in very well with the older girls, they’re very mature and they have an attitude of, ‘OK, what do I need to fix,’ or ‘what do I need to do to make this better,’” LaFountain says.
“It’s just not very often that I see natural aggressiveness like that in which they’re kind of willing to work with the other girls and be very critical and ask a lot of questions. That’s a lot of why we took them is that there’s a lot of raw talent there.
“They don’t seem intimidated by the other girls but I told them straight off the bat that I’m going to treat you like every other member of the varsity and you might not like it sometimes.”
The new-look Chargers will get their first action of the season Friday at 4 p.m. when they open the season at Warwick Vets.