The Allentown High School field hockey team feels like it is hitting its stride.
That attitude is a result of Allentown’s 5-0 victory over West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South on Sept. 25 in Allentown.
“I like how they’re playing together as a team,” Allentown coach Mary Ellen McCarthy said. “They’re moving the ball as a unit.”
Senior forward Mary Bellotti registered four of Allentown’s five goals in the match, but she credited the discipline that her teammates provided.
“In the beginning, we had some post issues,” Bellotti said. “After that, I think we all settled in, and everyone was holding their positions really well. That definitely makes it easier. The mids were really sending the ball in really well.”
“Again, everyone was holding their positions. Our free hits were positioned really well. We were hitting open girls, and we were talking a lot, so our communication was really good.”
Senior midfielder Sydney Pado scored the other goal for the Redbirds. Senior goalie Katie White made six saves.
Despite the dominant victory, both McCarthy and Bellotti are looking for improvement.
“We still need to work on our post work,” Bellotti said. “We missed a few on the posts, and we need to improve on our corners.”
“I’m always looking for improvement,” McCarthy said. “[We want] to be more crisp. I want crisp passes, better stops, better movement in the offensive circle [and to] capitalize more in our shots. That’s me, though. I’m always asking for more.”
Belloti and senior center midfielder Sierra Wojcik, who had three assists against West Windsor-Plainsboro South, love that their coach is never satisfied, always looking for improvements and pushing them to be their best.
McCarthy coached the team for 20 years before retiring in 2014. But after current coach Dana Wells left on maternity leave, McCarthy decided to guide the team for the year until Wells returns.
“She’s great,” Belloti said about McCarthy. “I get a lot of pointers in practice, and that helps me so much during the games. She yells at me during the games but not nearly as much as she yells at me in practice. I get a lot of position work during practice. It’s really helpful.”
“It’s so great,” Wojcik said. “I had her my freshman year, and she definitely pushes you to be the absolute best player you can be. She pushes you hard, but you know that she only wants the best for you.”
Wojcik also loves that the team is playing with a lot of confidence in each other.
“I like how we’ve been moving the ball more,” Wojcik said. “We’re using each other on the inside and the outside to where we’re just passing and moving the ball to create space out there.”
The team isn’t shy about its goals.
“The team set an expectation of wanting to win their division,” McCarthy said. “Right now, they are doing that. They’re first place in their division. They have an expectation, and a goal, of making it to the finals in the Mercer County Tournament — getting a good seed, getting in and playing well. Obviously, that’s yet to be told, but they’re working hard to get there. Our two losses were against really good programs (Shore Regional High School, 1-0, on Sept. 9 and Toms River High School North, 3-2, on Sept. 16), and they were each by a goal. I think we’re working hard and bringing some good hockey to the field.”
“We want to win everything,” Bellotti said. “We’re really passionate. Our whole team is. We’re a family. We want to win it all together. It’s not just a senior thing. We’re really coming together.”
The Redbirds added another win then they visited Robbinsville High School on Sept. 27, picking up 5-2 victory to improve to 7-2 on the season.
They were scheduled to host Hightstown High School on Oct. 2 and travel to Princeton High School on Oct. 4. They will make a trip to Notre Dame High School on Oct. 7 for a matchup at 2 p.m.