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Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — The Tioga field hockey team is coming off a 1-win season, but that win snapped a 33-game losing streak, and coach Aubrey Worthing is looking for experience and an infusion of young talent will lead to improvement in 2023.

Worthing, now in her second season, is the first one to admit she gained valuable experience last year.

“There was a huge learning curve,” she said. “Not only coaching, but all the extra stuff you have to prepare for as well — offseason, and during the season.

“It was difficult getting to know a new group of girls to start with, but coming back they know my expectations,” noted Worthing. “A lot of them told me they did a lot of work over the summer because they knew what to expect.

“Coming in as a first-year coach it was hard to set those expectations right away, you’re given what you’re given,” she continued. “They knew what to expect of me this year, and I gained a lot of knowledge of them as players, and what we needed to work on during the offseason. I learned how much I could push them, and how much work needed to be done to get where we want to be.

“And, we’re already talking about winter work, figuring out whose not playing winter sports, and who’s going to get into lift, and do the extra work,” Worthing added.

Senior Chloe Gillette will start in net for the Lady Tigers, with 8th-grader Kyah Nelson as her back-up, and “training for the future.”

Senior Abby Johnson will anchor the defense, with Abby Kithcart, and Anna Decker also on the defensive line.

Junior Mackenzie Williams, sophomore Abby Englebert, junior Erin Luther, and sophomore Corrine Hale will play in the midfield. Allie Creller will also see time in the midfield.

“We’re really strong in the midfield, with Mackenzie Williams and Abby Englebert leading the way,” said Worthing.

Junior Kameron Joyce wii start at high forward.

“Cameron Joyce is speedy, he can beat anybody I think he’ll be a good asset to the team.”

Freshman Jessie Councilman, and 8th-grader Cora Semanski will start at forward.

“Chloe Gillette was fantastic in goal last year, and she is going to be a standout for us again this year,” said Worthing.

“Abby Johnson is leading the defense, and she’s really strong back there,” noted Worthing. “She knows she to be more vocal this year.”

Worthing said the mix of veterans and young players is a positive, but it does cause a bit of concern.

“We have a lot of young players, including two 8th-graders and a freshman who have never played varsity.

“I think trying to get them up to speed is a concern,” said Worthing. “Varsity play is different than modified, and without having JV, they don’t have that in-between year, so it’s right from modified to varsity — it’s a much faster game, so that will be tough.

“And, meshing the seniors and upper classmen with the younger players could be difficult, but I think we’ll be fine” she added.

Section IV has streamlined the field hockey divisions in 2023, from a three-division format to two divisions.

Tioga will compete for a division crown against Maine-Endwell, Vestal, Newark Valley, Owego, S-VE, Marathon, and Moravia.

“We’re playing against a couple big schools regularly,”said  Worthing. “It’s going to be a challenge.

Another challenge will be going from turf, which M-E, Vestal and Owego (and now Tioga have) to a natural surface.

“Going back-and-forth between grass and turf is going to be really hard,” said Worthing.

“The girls are excited about playing on the turf,” she noted. “We have a couple travel players who are use to it, but we have several girls who have never played on it.

“It’s different, it’s a faster-paced game. There are less bounces, which is good, but it’s fast, so we have to change our game a little bit,” she added. “In the long run, playing on the turf is going to be good for us.”


IN PHOTO: Tioga’s Chloe Gillette. ... VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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