The J. Taylor Finley Middle School field hockey team accomplished its main goal this past fall. The Falcons wanted to introduce the sport to as many seventh graders as possible and to sharpen the skills of returning eighth graders. On both fronts, it was “mission accomplished.”
Coached by veteran sideline mentor Nancy Conlon, the 28-player team was captained by Grace Allen, Vanessa Salmon and Stephanie Wickey.
The team’s top players included eighth grader Carlee Schultz, who shined in goal with 55 saves. Wickey was the team’s top forward and Salmon excelled at halfback.
“Carlee was our only goalie this season,” Conlon said. “She is quick and agile in the goal. She allowed only 10 goals.”
Wickey was also magnificent for the Falcons. “Stephanie has great speed with strong stick skills,” Conlon said.
In game after game, Finley came to rely on Salmon, who never failed to come through for her teammates. “Vanessa is a strong defensive player with strong drives and great stops,” Conlon said.
Besides the top players and the captains, the roster also included seventh graders Adriana Abbatiello, Kathryn Barba, Jane Callery, Keira Coulter, Lily Froggatt Bale, Megan Lewis, Samantha McGloin, Ella O’Heir, Jordana Paniccia, Brooke Parks, Olivia Polinsky, Olivia Spada and Elizabeth Stair and eighth graders Gemma Cartwright, Laura Curtin, Quinn Fox, Tessie Maerz, Markella Markotsis, Kathryn Meagher, Rachel Morina, Abigail Pawlak, Maria Sabatino, Leah Sheran and Sophia Thompson.
Toppling Commack in an exciting 2-1 game was undoubtedly the highlight of the season. “We set small goals to accomplish during this game,” Conlon said. “For instance, keeping our sticks down, staying in position, using the outside of the field and getting back on defense. It all came together and we won.”
With an excellent group of current seventh graders eligible to return next fall, Conlon is expecting to Finley to have a very successful season.