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Fauquier field hockey preview: Offense looks potent with Diehl, White, Scott, Markell

Thursday, Aug. 28 | By Fred Hodge
Fauquier seniors, from left, Elle DelGallo, Megan Diehl, Kendall Scott and Allie White hope to rejuvenate their team in 2014. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
The Fauquier Falcons hope their 2013 season was an aberration.

After a run of Group AA state tournament success in 2011 and 2012, Fauquier suffered its worse season in recent memory. A batch of close losses led to a 4-13 overall record, and an unusual defeat in the opening round of post-season play.

Coach Brooke Settle has 10 full-time varsity returnees in the fold this fall along with several other girls who played in a smattering of varsity games, as Fauquier seeks to to use a more potent offensive showing to climb back above the .500 mark.

"We're offense heavy," Settle said of the current edition.

"We are going to have a lot more goals than we did last year," she predicted, citing some of the points of emphasis this fall.

"We are focusing on shooting more. The more times you shoot, the more goals you will have,"

Settle noted there were many instances last fall when the Falcons were too slow to take advantage of opportunities on the field.

"We need to react more quickly with the ball. Last year we were looking for the perfect pass or shot," the Falcon coach recalled.

"You're not always going to get a perfect pass or shot. There were too many touches. Now, we are working on one or two touches," Settle said.

Quicker ball movement should allow the Falcons deeper penetration with the ball rather than allowing the defense to make adjustments to thwart the attack.

"This year, we have more fluid transition between the off offense and the defense," Settle said of the experience level. The midfield crew is deep this fall, Settle said, providing the coaches with flexibility at both ends of the field.

"You'll see some midfielders move to the front line. Some will drop back on defense to give people a break or be ready in case on an injury," she said.

The starting front seven will come from a large unit that includes seniors Megan Diehl, Allie White, Kendall Scott and Savannah Markell. Also in the mix are juniors Lyndsy Smarrelli, Micensie Barrett, Katie McCoy, Victoria Kroencke and Laura Newbill and sophomores Maddie Martin, Erin Jones and Peyton Evans.

Only three Falcons have appreciable experience in the defensive sector, as senior Elle DelGallo, junior Ivy Olinger and sophomore Brenna Chappelle are key cogs.

Settle said McCoy and Evans recently have begun working more on the defense, drawing the coach's praise as they join the original trio;

The important goaltending position has junior Lauren Canard back in net, but coach Settle said sophomore Caiti-Adele Slater is in the running as well.

"We're going to play this one out. I would be happy with either one of them in goal," the coach stated.

Diehl is the season's head captain with other captains selected on game-by-game basis.

Settle noted making predictions on any postseason successes are difficult at this stage because of the lack of information on teams on the schedule, so she is limiting her thoughts to the Falcons for now.

"I'd like to have a winning record," she began, emphasizing the need to increase goal production and limiting the number of opposition scores.

There is a need to remain focused for the entire 60-minute game, as several of last fall's losses came when the Falcons controlled play for 45 minutes or more only to fall when teams took advantage of lulls in the Fauquier intensity.

One concern is not having a scheduled scrimmage so the Falcons can test the new points of emphasis versus a foe. A scrimmage also would allow the Falcon unit to ply their skills on a full field basis against an opponent.

This fall's schedule provides the opportunity for a strong start, as the first six games will be played at Falcon Field. The regular-season campaign commences Aug. 25 when Courtland comes to town. Two days later, two-time defending state champion Chancellor will be the visitor.

"I think we have the ability to compete with anyone we play,' Settle said hopefully.

The 2014 Fauquier junior varsity squad has Emma Symanski, Madison Strum, Caroline Diehl, Megan McCoy, Jo St. Ledger, Kaylee Janickey, Mindy Hale, Nina Hilling, Katie Johnson, Madeline Granger, Katlynn Bardiscini, Elsabeth Sutton, Leah Nascimiento, Hannah Cherundolo and Abigail Allen as members.

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