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Tribe Field Hockey Hoping to Complete Historic Season
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-08-31

           Upper Perkiomen's field hockey team aspires to some significant goals, including an unprecedented fourth consecutive Pioneer Athletic Conference title and

Regan Firorito, right, clears the ball on a penalty corner in 

front of Upper Perkiomen goalkeeper Emma

Lajeunesse against Radnor.

a return to the PIAA Class 2A Tournament. However, an early season priority has been making sure the players remain focused on the field.

             "We're focused on bonding as a team," said senior Jess Traynor. "The captains and seniors are trying to make sure everyone gives their best effort on the field, so we can be a strong unit."The Indians, who feature seven returning starters and eight seniors, opened their season with a pair of games against quality non-conference opponents. They suffered a season-opening 4-1 loss to Radnor on Friday, Aug. 26. Marianne Uber scored UP's only goal. Madison Conti registered one defensive save.

            "Individually, we did some good things," Traynor said. "But we struggled to connect."

            Four days later, Upper Perk posted a 3-1 victory over Twin Valley, the defending Class 2A state champions. Jess Traynor finished with a goal and an assist.

            Jade Traynor and Regan Fiorito also scored for the Tribe. Abby Rodenberger added an assist.  Emma Lajeunesse recorded five saves. Mia Schneider registered a defensive save.

            Winning a fourth consecutive conference title would be the "greatest feeling in the world," according to Jess Traynor. She said the players are aiming to return to the district title game for the first time since 2019 and make a deep run in the state tournament.

            According to Jess Traynor, the Tribe is working to redeem itself following a disappointing finish to the 2021 season. The team reached the semifinals of the District One Class 2A tournament, then lost its final three games.  "It's definitely not what we planned on happening," said Jess Traynor, a Pennsburg resident.

            Head coach Jamie Warren admitted that outside events adversely impacted the performance of some players down the stretch.  According to Jess Traynor, some girls "had some other things going on."

            She pointed to the team's struggles during the first half of a 4-2 loss to Gwynedd Mercy as the start of the issues. According to the senior, that frustration carried into a 5-3 loss to Merion Mercy in the third-place game.

            In the state tournament, the Indians lost 5-3 to Twin Valley. Jess Traynor described their performance in the initial three quarters as lackluster. She said that they gave maximum effort in the fourth quarter.  "We played our hearts out," Jess Traynor said. "What stinks is that if we had played that way the entire game, we had a chance to win."

            According to Warren, the players are working on learning to leave external issues off the field. Jess Traynor expressed optimism that the issue will be resolved this season.  "Everyone seems very focused," she said.

            Upper Perkiomen's 12th-grade class includes Traynor and Abigail Rodenberger, both of whom received first-team All Frontier Division honors last year, and Fiorito, who earned second team honors.

            Seniors Ashlynn Gatto, Sarah Steinman, Kylie Marshall and Emma Lajeunesse are also expected to receive significant playing time. Lajeunesse, a converted defender, recorded 13 saves in her first start as a goalkeeper against the visiting Raiders.

           "Emma built up some confidence today," Warren said following the game at Keeny Stadium. "She made some incredible saves."

            According to Jess Traynor, Lajeunesse has made significant strides in her new position. She said the hard work the goalkeeper put in over the summer is paying off.  "Emma is doing really well," the senior said.

            Warren is looking for more leadership from sophomores Julia and Jade Traynor, Jess' twin sisters. Both earned second-team All Frontier Division honors last season.

            "Last year, they were just figuring out the game," the coach said. "Now they have more game knowledge. There's a real learning curve."


 

 

 

 

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