EAST GREENWICH—For seniors Hollie Pryor, Elana Lamont, Emily Manning, Alexis Marsella and Haley Wilcox there’s no way around it; last Wednesday’s loss to La Salle stung.
After a strong regular season the Chariho field hockey team’s run came to an end with a 2-0 loss to the Rams in the Division II semifinals, marking the final game for the Chargers’ five seniors.
“Alexis I’ve had since she was a sophomore [and she was] here two years ago on this field in the six overtimes [against South Kingstown],” Chariho coach Johannah LaFountain said after last week’s season-ending loss. “Emily Manning she came in where her sister was such a strong player here and she came in with this big shadow and she really held her own and developed herself into such a fine player.
“Elena she didn’t start and play at all at varsity and now this year [she was on] defense. Same thing with Hollie, Hollie got benched halfway through last season because she was just having some confidence issues and this year she was a solid center defender back there. Haley didn’t get a lot of playing time but she had a goal this season, she came to every practice and worked really hard.”
Now even with all the Chargers are losing though, they could be in store for greater heights next season given what they accomplished with a roster loaded with young players.
“I’m hoping. Normally my reaction to losing [players like] Alexis and Emily would be ‘oh god, next year’s going to be a building year,’ but seeing what can happen when you take young girls that are very motivated the sky is the limit,” LaFountain said.
“I’m upset about today’s loss. I’m obviously disappointed. As a competitive person, as a coach I don’t ever want to lose, however, A this was supposed to be a building year and B it shows that overall as a program we can take a young team and still show overall as a program we’re improving.
“This is the second time in three years we’ve made it into semis so I’m very pleased and happy with the way this year turned out.”
Aside from its seniors, only juniors Amanda Picozzi and Ari Alfiero saw extended minutes with the varsity and Picozzi – potentially the team’s most talented player – was moving from forward to midfield.
The Chargers found answers in their youth, however, as sophomores Maisie Jones and Emily Louzon – even freshmen Maeve Anderson and Alexa Bobbin – played major roles in Chariho’s success this season.
Each game the Chargers got better but there was no greater example of that than the play of sophomore Maddie Powers in net.
LaFountain – as she rarely does – doesn’t sugar coat it when she talks about how things were in the beginning with the sophomore taking over for one of the best goalies the program has ever had in Caitlin Dolloff.
“I have incredibly high expectations of the goalies and I was very hard on her at the beginning of this season – I mean very hard – to the point where she almost quit,” LaFountain said. “We came to a really good understanding where we said, ‘alright, this is the expectation and this is what you need to do.’
“She has just been such an amazing player and steadfast for us all year and has met every one of my expectations and exceeded them.”
That was certainly on display last Wednesday against the Rams as at times Powers flat out kept her team in the game en route to making 22 saves.
If the Chargers can continue to build upon what they started this fall, next season could be a very special one.