Editor’s note: This is the fourth in an eight-part series previewing the Davis High fall sports.
There’s not much pressure on the Davis High field hockey squad this season; all they have to do is not besmirch the program’s 27-game undefeated spree.
Oh, and they’ll try to replicate the Blue Devil defense that allowed just one goal total in 20 Eastern Athletic League contests.
And, don’t forget, DHS must attempt to defend its EAL championship even after losing five key seniors off last year’s roster.
No problem, right?
Sarcasm aside, third-year Devil coach Sandie Marotti-Huckins is well aware that the pressure is on, and she’s not the only one apprised of it.
“The squad knows about the winning spree we’ve been on,” she said, “and they are determined not be the team that breaks it.”
Seventeen girls in all fill out the 2013 roster; including 10 seniors, four juniors and three sophomores (who were brought up from junior varsity).
Davis graduated seven seniors, five of whom — Ariana Enzerink, Kayla Robinson, Malia Fujisawa, Emily Barber and Kylie Drexel — earned all-tournament honors after the year-end league get-together.
Marotti-Huckins, however, likes the players she still has:
“We have a good core coming back from last year. They weren’t necessarily leaders last year, but they’re slowly stepping into the new role.”
It’s going to take more experience at the helm of the team, she added, something she saw at last weekend’s preseason jamboree in Chico.
During the annual contest, the Blue Devils faced off with all of their EAL competitors, finishing with six wins and one tie. The tie — a 1-1 affair with the host Panthers — featured the lone goal DHS gave up all weekend.
“It was a good confidence builder for the key seniors, knowing that they could step out there and lead,” Marotti-Huckins said. “They were questioning themselves, I think.
“Last weekend helped (seniors like goalie Ally Weir, Elizabeth Leshuk, Kelly Ragsdale and Natalie Silver) realize that they can handle it, completely.”
It also was an opportunity for the sophomore trio (Andi Jackson, Hannah Denton and Whitney Sacramento) to justify their varsity status, something they did by starting throughout the weekend.
Both Davis’ new leaders and the new faces will remember that 1-1 tie, as Chico will be the Blue Devils’ main competition for the 2013 EAL title. The Panthers will be trying to steal back the league banner that was theirs in 2011.
Along the way, DHS has a tough nonconference schedule, including matchups with Notre Dame (Sept. 13 in Davis), St. Ignatius (Sept. 20 on the road) and Archbishop Mitty (home on Oct. 12).
The Devils open their regular-season schedule at home against Pleasant Valley on Wednesday, with the game scheduled for 7 p.m. at Brown Stadium.
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett.