The Kingsway field hockey team has a tremendous tradition and, under the guidance of Head Coach Dana Ott, has flirted with undefeated seasons in recent years. The last two years, the field hockey took an undefeated record into the South Jersey Group 4 championship game where they ultimately fell to perennial national powerhouse Eastern each time.
Well, in this COVID-19 shortened season, the Kingsway field hockey team did end the season undefeated with a 11-0 record, mostly against more local competition. Simply being happy just to complete this season, especially in light of the fact that many college field hockey seasons were cancelled, Coach Ott was thrilled with what they were able to accomplish.
“It was frightening to think we wouldn’t have a season with this talented group,” said Ott.
Not knowing how they would be restricted in practices, let alone games, going into the season, Ott did have a few primary goals.
“My goal was to take each day, keep our kids safe while having fun, and continue to build from the previous year,” said Ott. “Also, with our brand-new turf, my biggest goal was for our kids to adapt and to believe in themselves that they can use different turf skills that they were not able to use on grass. It was fun getting to see my players adapt to a faster-paced game on the turf.”
The team was able to accomplish quite a bit during this season. Led by seniors Morgan Klaiss, Alisyn Fink, Meghan Bennett, Emma Turner-Rogozin, and Devin Harkins, the team won its third-straight Tri-County Conference Royal Division Championship.
“The mental toughness our players displayed on a daily basis was something unlike I have ever seen,” said Ott. “They didn’t dwell or complain. They just accepted any change and moved on with appreciation that our team was healthy and still had a practice or a game in the future.”
Individually, junior Tori Griffiths broke the school’s record for career goals (81), which previously was held by Coach Ott, when she was known as Dana Ramsden. With one final season left in her career, she currently has 83 career goals.
“It was special to see her break that record, and I cannot wait to see what her final goal count will be next year,” said Ott.
Going into the season, they only had one proven goal scorer in Griffiths. They ended up having four total players score in double digits- Griffiths (21 goals), sophomore Colleen Finnan (14 goals), freshman Sabrina McGroarty (12 goals), and senior Morgan Klaiss (10 goals).
Junior goalie Madison Ferry had another stellar season, allowing only four goals the entire season. She now has 50 career wins, 2 losses, and 2 ties with 35 career shutouts.
Unfortunately, the season was halted before they could make a playoff run.
“The playoffs mean everything to us, but it’s important to keep our situation into perspective with what is going on in the world around us,” said Ott. “We are still extremely grateful to have had the time we had together and to honor our seniors this year.”
Now, the field hockey program and Ott are looking to future possibilities.
“Each year, our program gets stronger and stronger, because our players want to continue the legacy the class before them has left,” said Ott. “They work hard in the off-season and push each other, so they can be the best they can possibly be for themselves, individually, and for the team. I am excited to see what our players do next season. With this added ‘COVID’ chip on their shoulders, I am already excited to see what kind of team shows up next year!”.
By Christian Lynch