The Manalapan High School field hockey team is focused on have a good ending to the season. That is the positive attitude that the Braves carry after they started off with five loses in their first five games.
Coach Janine Dowe is one of the believers.
“I’m seeing more communication from my girls, and I’m seeing good passes,” Dowe said. “They can be a lot better — a lot better than what they’re giving me right now. But we’ll just say it was a rough start, and we’ll end well.”
Dowe believes an improved offensive attack will help Manalapan rebound.
“We need to start shooting more goals in,” Dowe said. “We need more goals, period.”
Junior center midfielder Madison Pettit also sees a promising future this season.
“As a team, we all work together,” Pettit said. “Even when we lose, we all pick each other up. We all work hard.”
Pettit wants to see more of that continuity.
“As a team, I want us to continue to work together,” Pettit said. “That’s very important — work together and play hard, and we’ll be fine.”
Pettit also wants to be able to contribute on the offensive end.
“Individually, I need to score more goals,” Pettit said. “That’s what I’m working on to help the team.”
Senior defender Bianca Pisani believes the team’s continuity can result in victories over time.
“I just like how we’re very much like a family,” Pisani said. “We’re all really close. We get along really well. It makes practice and games really enjoyable, even when things don’t go your way.”
Communication among the players is a vital point, according to Pisani.
“As a team, I think we want to work on communicating more and looking up for our passes,” she said. “Things like that will make a big difference.”
Pisani said that she must be more attentive on defense.
“I think personally, I want to work more on watching out for feet calls and stuff like that,” she said. “[I want to] look out for obstructions in the circle.”
Senior left wing Melissa Brutzman said that the team’s experience will help as the season progresses.
“I think we’ve been playing together for so many years now that we’re finally really working like a team should,” Brutzman said. “We know how each other plays, so we’re really working well together.”
She is confident of a turnaround.
“I definitely want this team to win,” Brutzman said. “I think we have the potential. I think we can do it. I think we can win big.”
Brutzman still has high expectations.
“I think we can definitely be really good this year,” she said. “I think if we put our minds to it, we’ll definitely win a lot.”
Dowe agrees that the expectations need to remain high.
“I always have high expectations for my teams,” the coach said. “Even now, I still expect them to win.”
The Braves were scheduled to visit Middletown High School North on Sept. 25 and are home to Freehold High School on Sept. 27 at 3:45 p.m.