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Improvements are expected for Howell field hockey team

Howell’s High School’s Elissa Connell is an optimistic field hockey coach.

She pointed out the positive moments after her squad fell to Freehold Township High School, 4-0, in Howell on Sept. 11.

“I liked how the girls stuck together in the first half,” Connell said. “Obviously, Freehold Township had a lot of pressure, but we held it together and held them to the one goal. So defensively, it was a nice, solid effort for us.”

Connell, who is in her 11th year with the program, understood that improvements can be still be made.

“I would like us to move the ball up the field a little bit better,” Connell said. “We’ve been working on being able to hit the ball really hard and having someone who can really give us a nice ball down the field. I’m hoping that it’s something that we can work on and get better at as the season goes on.”

Connell still believed that Howell has the talent to compete.

“I mean there’s a lot of talent there,” Connell said. “It’s just a matter of us harnessing all of it and putting it all together as one. I have a lot of returning starters from last year. They all have the experience. They all know what it’s like to play at the varsity level. Now, it’s just a matter of us getting it all together and putting it in between the lines.”

Senior midfielders Liz Capestro and Katie Eick complimented the efforts of their Rebels teammates.

“[Freehold] Township is always a hard game because they’re such a strong team,” Capestro said. “But we were able to give them a run for their money in the first half. We kind of died out in the second half because we got outplayed by a better team.”

“Our defense really held up our own, I think,” Eick said. “We were really able to shut them down, especially in the first half. Our offense could have used a little help, but overall, we stayed tough throughout the whole game.”

The girls contended that the Howell offense must start to click.

“We definitely have to work on getting shots on goal more,” Capestro said. “That’s definitely one of our weaknesses, even transitioning from defense to offense, we have a hard time doing that and getting out in transition.”

“I think if we’re able to move the ball up the field as a team and work together, we’ll be a lot more successful,” Eick said.

The players are impressed with the Howell defense.

“Well, we have a new defense,” Capestro said. “It’s like diamonds, and we’ve been doing really well doing that.”

Howell was defeated by Freehold High School, 2-1, on Sept. 13 and by Neptune High School, 2-0, on Sept. 15. It was scheduled to face Manalapan High School on Sept. 18 and Colts Neck High School on Sept. 19.

The Rebels look for redemption against Freehold Township when they play the Patriots in Freehold on Sept. 26 at 4 p.m.

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