CANTON, Sept. 9 — There is a legacy in Canton with its field hockey program and it can be an intimating legacy to live up to. Previous teams have won eight Class S championships and played in the finals 13 times.
In the past two seasons, Canton has won a combined total of 10 games. They qualified for the state tournament last fall thanks to the CIAC’s 40 percent qualification rule and were prompted bounced in their first game by North Branford, 3-0.
There is a different attitude in training camp this year.
“The girls have said they want to restore the strong, proud tradition that Canton field hockey has had,” first-year coach Jodi Petrozak said. “We asked are you willing to do the work to make that happen? I’m real happy to see that they’re doing that work. I’m confident we’ll be competitive.”
Petrozak is a long-time field hockey player. She played at East Strousburg (Pa.) State and led her team into the NCAA Division III tournament. After graduation, she coached at Rhinebeck Central (N.Y.) into the state finals her first year. Recently, she has been an assistant field hockey coach at Killingly High and the school’s head basketball and softball coach.
Canton (6-10-0-1, 6-9-0-1 NCCC) graduated just five seniors but four of them accounted for 26 of the 31 goals that the Warriors scored a year ago, including 14 from Kassie Grecula.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth, which is exciting,” Petrozak said. “And we have room to grow.”
Seniors Kiersten Kronschnabel, Meghan Davis, Miranda Jurras, Kayla Fournier and Suzi Rush return for the Warriors. Kronschnabel will anchor the defense at center defender with Davis at midfield, Jurras and Rush playing defense and Fournier in goal.
Juniors Leigh Fitzgerald, Sarah Allen, Leanna Yost and Emily Nedderman are expected to play forward with juniors Emily Beck and Lacey Sullivan at midfield. Sophomores Kylie Delos, Deirdre Kronschnabel and freshman Maggie Bidwell round out the varsity roster.
Canton has night games at Norwalk, Conard and Farmington. They’ll play a pair of games on artificial turf at Norwalk and in Agawam, Mass.