Hammonton High School is building a contender
HAMMONTON—Hammonton High School’s field hockey team saw its 2021 season end with a tough loss to Moorestown in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals.
This year, the Blue Devils bring back much of their varsity roster and are looking to reach the sectional championship game as well as compete for a Cape Atlantic League (CAL) title.
“This is a very special group of athletes that can accomplish great things if they continue to work together and stay positive,” head coach Kristen Silvesti said.
Silvesti, who served as an assistant at Hammonton for two seasons, takes over as head coach this year for Rosie Staas, who resigned following last season.
“They’re ready to go and have worked hard to be prepared for the season,” Silvesti said.
“Last year the team played very well. They fought through some very challenging games including Ocean City, Egg Harbor Twp, and Moorestown.
Hammonton’s new head coach is familiar with the roster and was quick to praise how well her team has worked and transitioned this offseason, as well as the chemistry the team has developed from last season.
That chemistry, as well as the team’s ability to communicate on the field, will be its biggest strengths this season, according to Silvesti.
“[I’m impressed] not only with their individual talent, but the way they look after each other. A lot of these girls have been playing together for years. You can visibly see the chemistry they have together on the field. They read each other and communicate well on the field,” Silvesti said.
As was the case last year, Hammonton will face a tough CAL schedule that features perennial standout teams like Ocean City and Egg Harbor Twp.
The goal, Silvesti said, is to be competitive and also to enjoy playing the game.
“My expectations for this year are for them to play their best and to have fun,” she said.
The Blue Devils lost three key players to graduation, but return most of the roster from last season, which should be one of the team’s strengths this year.
“This year we are returning almost all our varsity players from last year—all of whom play an integral role with the team,” Silvesti said.
Seniors Maria Berenato, Summer DiPaolo, Brianna Gazzara, Sofia Grasso, Giada Palmieri, and Kaylee Ranere bring leadership and experience to a talented roster.
Berenato scored nine goals and dished out seven assists last season, while DiPaolo and Palmieri added defensive depth. Ranere played in the middle and scored twice. Grasso recorded a team-high 61 saves in goal, splitting time with Angelina Catania, who also returns this season.
Other juniors returning include Abby Goblirsch, who led the team with 20 goals last season, Chloe Communale, who found the cage nine times last year, and Gracie Donio, another strong passer who had 11 assists in 2021. Sophia Pullia scored a goal last year and adds depth.
Sophomores Madison Gazzara (seven goals) and Kiley Kozlowski (one goal, three assists) are also back this season, giving Hammonton more scoring options.
With a lot of talent and a group that knows how to win, Hammonton should be among the top squads in the region in 2022.
The Blue Devils open the season on September 10 at Cedar Creek at 10 a.m.