The Pleasant Valley/Quakertown hockey team may have struggled in the standings, but not playing on the ice. The Non-Pure Division of the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League features teams that combine more than one school, and it may be tough to coincide with different teammates.
But head coach Aaron Katyl has seen improvements in the three years he has been at the helm.
"It was hard early in the season," Katyl said. "But the guys got so much better, and gelled a lot more since then. If we had won some of our games earlier in the schedule, I think we could have made more of a push at the playoffs. I'm really proud of how well the team has come together. They got better and better with each game."
The slow start contributed to a final recored of 2-12-2 this season.
The players from Pleasant Valley include Jon and Mike Visconti, Martin Fishmark and Matt Wojtkowski.
These four players joined forces with a team full of kids they have not played with more than a full season or two. It may be a disadvantage playing against teams that know each other better, but it is not an issue they have shied away from.
"It was really rough in the beginning because no one knew each other," Mike Visconti said. "It's two different teams coming together and we didn't play well at first, but we improved."
Mike's twin brother, Jon, agreed to these statements.
"It's been really different," Jon Visconti noted. "We just needed to build trust and teamwork, and it's just the simple things that we were lacking at first."
The brothers noted that there hasn't been much time to work on these fundamentals. Besides the one or two games played each week, they would only practice at the most one day a week.
The Visconti brothers began playing hockey in the fourth grade and stated that when news about the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League came to Pleasant Valley, they decided that they wanted to give it a go. They were joined by Fishmark and Wojtkowski.
Wojtkowski's father coached a team when they were in the fourth grade and the group stuck to it ever since.
This year's team has been in a lot of the games they have lost. Five of the losses were by either one or two goals. And in a league with four Pure Division teams, and some strong Non-Pure teams, that is something to look at proudly.
"I just wanted our players to be better kids and better players," Katyl said. "There's a lot of character. Early in the year we were losing every game and they could've thrown in the towel. The fact that they didn't and came back to play each game hard is what I want."