In just her second year as the field hockey coach at Greenhills, Coach Liza Ruggiero took the Gryphons to the state semifinals last year – the furthest the team has gone in the state playoffs. Greenhills opened the season on Friday at home against Hartland and despite a 4-2 loss to the bigger school, there was plenty of positives to help build on moving forward.
“It was a strong start for us,” said Ruggiero. “We were able to stay in it the whole game and competed well. It was a back-and-forth game. They scored two goals later in the second half.
“It was our first game and we learned a lot about ourselves and gives us something to build on. It wasn’t the result we wanted but we played well. It was good competition for our first game.”
Junior Karis Ewing and senior Sophia Kinnard both scored goals in the game for the Gryphons. Junior Annie Wang earned an assist on the team’s second goal.
Junior goalie Jade Gee, in her first year as a starter for Greenhills, played well in goal.
“She’s doing a great job and working really hard,” said Ruggiero.
The team is led by senior captains Juliet Krajcik and Jane Vaillant.
“We have some strong senior leadership and a strong junior class with a nice mix of new players,” Ruggiero said. “It’s a nice balanced team. We have some players who have never even held a field hockey stick before to some who want to play at the next level so we have the whole mix from beginner to experienced club players.”
The Gryphons have plenty of strengths to build from, especially in the middle of the field where at times they dominated Hartland on Friday.
“We have an experienced midfield and backfield,” Ruggiero said. “We have some strong players who can feed the ball to the forward line. We have strong communicators and kids who are really invested into helping build the program.
“We have a really smart team and they learn from every experience and I expect us to learn from the Hartland game and get better. This team has a lot of potential ”
Big upcoming games include Sept. 4 at Father Gabriel Richard and Sept. 10 at Skyline.