Long trying to continue tradition
bob ford/times news Lehighton field hockey coach Lamar Long meets with players after being named coach in the Spring. Long is inheriting a program that is loaded with tradition and used to success.
At Lehighton High School there is nothing short of a winning season expected for the Lady Indians field hockey program, and just because first year head coach Lamar Long has taken over the reigns doesn't mean that stance has changed.
Long takes over a unit that lost some key components from last year's AA state silver medal squad, but as usual Lehighton faithful anticipate their team to be highly competitive.
The Lady Indians have some holes to fill with the impressive one-two punch of Jordyn Homyak and Echo Bretz moving on to the U of Albany. Homyak was a first team all-state selection, first team All-MVC selection and was also named MVP of the conference. Bretz earned 2010 Times News Player of the Year while also being named a first team all state selection and All-MVC first team. Also moving on is Kacey Beck and Courtney Berger. Beck joined Bretz and Homyak on the All-MVC first team while Berger earned All-MVC second team honors.
Although, this is Long's first head coaching position he brings experience to the table formerly coaching at the excalibur indoor field hockey club in Pottstown, PA and serving as a student assistant coach at Muhlenberg College.
Long also agrees that the Lady Indians lost some fire power but the expectations still run high for his team.
"We pretty much have a brand new team this year", said the first year coach. "I don't want to say it's going to be a rebuilding year because we have some great athletes that are ready to play."
One of those talented athletes is Rachel Werley who is expected to be the anchor for this year's Lady Indian group. Werley was a vital part of the Indians success last year and was a member of the All-MVC second team.
A crop of four seniors join Werley to see if they can keep the Lehighton winning tradition alive. That cast includes Steph Slaw (Sr., Mid), Lauren Michalik (Sr., Back), Kaycie Andrew (Sr., F), and Sarah Keer (Jr., F).
Long's main goal in his first year at the helm is to maintain the high-level of competition that Lehighton has sustained over the years.
"I just want to do the best job I can to keep the team as high-caliber as it has been", said Long. "I'm excited to see who steps up and becomes a leader for us and also how far they go this year."
It would be a small surprise to few if the Lady Indians once again continued their regular and post season dominance and Long believes that once game time arrives his kids will perform.
"I'm the kind of coach that likes to teach and motivate at practice", added long. "Once it's game time though I believe it's their time to show what they've learned and showcase their abilities. I want them to learn how to fix things with their game during a playing environment."
Even with the uncertainty looming around the Lady Indian camp this year it's hard to imagine they won't be ready to compete come the start of the season.
"We will be ready", said Long. "I believe in our kids and I know they want to continue the winning tradition here."