Replacing players like Marielle Kraft and Kerri Pallister is never easy.
The duo were the East Greenwich field hockey team’s senior captains a season ago and easily two of the better players the Avengers have had in recent memory.
If there ever was a year for East Greenwich to absorb losing such talents though, it might be this one.
“Everything’s going great,” EG coach Deb McMullen says. “We have a pretty experienced team we have a couple of players that have been on varsity for four years.”
What’s particularly rare about the 2013 version of the Avengers is the team named four captains this season in Anna Gibson, Jamie Fugere, Caroline Neupauer and Emily Karn.
“They had a good summer preparing the kids in captains’ practices and they’ve been very dedicated to EG field hockey and field hockey in general,” McMullen says. “I’m looking forward to this team.”
It’s easy to see why McMullen would go the route of naming the four players as captains as they have 14 years combined varsity experience, 10 of which as starters. McMullen has elected to evenly distribute their leadership down the middle of the field as Neupauer will play center forward, Fugere and Gibson center midfield and Karn center back.
In addition to the captains the Avengers have plenty of experience around them.
Senior goalkeeper Jill Piacitelli is back for East Greenwich and so far McMullen has liked what she’s seen.
“She worked hard in the offseason, she’s gone to a lot of camps and programs,” McMullen says. “She’s taking more charge in the circle.”
Senior Maggie Gallogly is also a returning starter at left wing, as are junior Kaley McMullen and senior Meredith Reilly. The two will start at midfield and sweeper, respectively.
Juniors Margot Formisano and Sarah Gavin are new to the starting lineup for the Avengers this season and will join Karn on defense.
East Greenwich got its first sample of where it stands this season with its home and season opener Wednesday against South Kingstown (results unavailable at press time) and will be back in action Friday at 3:45 p.m. when it travels to take on Pilgrim.
“Obviously we’re going to take it one game at a time,” McMullen says, “but I feel we have what it takes [to be competitive].”
Coming off a 12-4 season the expectation for the Avengers is once again to be one of the better teams in Division I-South but they’ll get a much better idea next week when they face perennial division standouts Moses Brown and North Kingstown.
“Last year it took us a while to get going,” McMullen says. “We open with South Kingstown and Pilgrim and then we have Moses Brown and North Kingstown so after next week we’ll know a lot more.”
East Greenwich will host both games at 6:30 p.m. next week, with the Quakers coming to town Tuesday and the Skippers Thursday, Sept. 12.