New coach, same excellence so far for KHS field hockey

Brooke Gastin moves the ball down the field in the game against Rhinebeck. (photo by Phyllis McCabe)

The Kingston High School varsity field hockey team has a new coach for the first time in nearly two decades, but they’ve started the season pretty much how they always do — outscoring their opponents over four games by a combined score of 26-1.

Deb Eaton retired from coaching last spring, leaving behind perennially successful field hockey and girls’ lacrosse programs. A year ago, the Tigers’ field hockey team went 14-1-1, winning the Section IX title. The team’s sole loss came in the Class A regional finals against Section I champion Scarsdale, but rather than start this season in a similar funk, Head coach Samantha Ward has Kingston firing on all cylinders, drawing inspiration instead from a team that came to dominate Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association foes and non-league opponents alike.

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On Monday, Sept. 18, the Tigers hosted Rhinebeck at Dietz Stadium, sharing the wealth in their most dominating win of the season. Seven players scored at least one goal in the 9-0 victory, with Riley Fitzgerald and Meghan Gavis each scoring a pair. Meghan Gavis also dished a pair of assists in the win.

Also factoring into the scoring were Brooke Gastin (goal, assist), Abbie Mayone (goal), Alex Lettre (goal), Norah Prizzi (goal), Tori Quick (goal), Madi Beiswenger (assist) and Jalynn Davis (assist).

Lizzy Smith and Analiese Amato combined for one save in a relatively quiet afternoon in goal for Kingston.

“We played well as a team and it was nice seeing everyone get touches,” said Ward. “We worked like one unit. It was a fun game to watch both teams came out and played very competitive and aggressive.”

The season’s closest battle came on opening day, with the Tigers traveling to Pine Bush and coming away with a 3-1 win. Gastin, Gavis and Fitzgerald all scored for Kingston, with Smith and Amato combining to turn away five of six shots on goal. Pine Bush’s goal — the only score so far against a stingy Kingston defense — came from Helen Deretchin.

“We played very well and played as a team,” said Ward of the season opener. “We looked and sounded like a family. The girls took what they’ve been learning and applied it to the game. They did a great job implementing new tactics on the fly. I’m beyond proud of them and I look forward to keep working with a talented, mature and fun loving team. Pumped to start the season with a win and on a high note.”

By the home opener on Monday, Sept. 11, the Tigers were already in mid-season form, beating an overmatched but determined Onteora squad 8-0. Gastin (two goals, assist) and Gavis (two goals) led Kingston, with Bridgie Loughlin (goal), Davis (goal), Quick (goal), Kelsey Fairley (goal), and Beiswenger (assist) all contributing.

Smith and Amato again combined for a clean sheet, recording a pair of saves between them.

“Kingston started out very slow but picked up the pace,” said Ward. “Once again it was a team effort to get the win and to get us motivated. The girls rallied well and implemented the coaching advice and came out with a win. They are showing great maturity and growth and I am very proud of their progress.”

Despite the lopsided final score, Ward said Onteora was no pushover, challenging long after the effort might have yielded a win.

“Onteora played very well and is a very competitive team they did not let down,” Ward said. “They kept us on our toes, knocking on the door till the end.”

Rounding out a week-plus of sheer dominance, Kingston traveled to Red Hook on Friday, Sept. 15, winning 6-0 on what is looking to be a trademark of the Tigers in 2017: Total team effort. Gastin (two goals, assist), Fairley (goal, assist), Loughlin (goal, assist), Gavis (goal), Fitzgerald (goal) and Mayone (assist) all pitched in on offense. Smith and Amato again seamlessly split time in goal.

Though they’ve looked unstoppable thus far this season, the Tigers will be tested by a pair of road games as they visit non-league opponent Lakeland on Friday, Sept. 22, followed by a trip to take on Mid-Hudson Athletic League foe Rondout Valley three days later. Kingston returns to their home field at Dietz Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 27 when they host Pine Plains.

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