Although the situation was difficult at times for the developing hockey program of St. Paul, freshman coach Julie Cross does not mince words when asked about playing a COVID-19 delayed fall sport in the spring with many rules changes, while also mentoring a group of dedicated, passionate athletes who attended and played at Holy Name and St. Peter-Marian a little over a year ago.
“My goal this season was to give these kids what they deserve, what these seniors deserve a season,” said Kreuz. “Many people in our community have worked very hard to make this possible, and we appreciate all their support.”
“Our goal this season is to make a name for ourselves and lay the foundation of our Knights program to be respectable in both hockey and sportsmanship,” added Kreuz.
Fueled by a dedication to team play and a strong support system, St. Paul started his Fall II season in style, finishing last week with an impressive 4-2 record. Freshman goalie Nariah Horton anchors the defense and has posted three shutouts. The Knights have benefited from balance for fouls and have scored in all six games.
“From the moment we got together, these girls were one team,” said Kreuz. “They support each other, they stand up for each other, they enjoy each other, and most importantly, they wear the black and gold with pride. They exemplify the persistence, dedication, leadership and values we have at St. Embrace Paul. “
Not surprisingly, Kruez and her players are excited to be on the field, especially when you consider that they haven’t played hockey in high school since the fall of 2019. to repeat.
The merger of St. Peter-Marian and Holy Name was announced in December 2019. Not surprisingly, the merger intrigued high school sports fans, as both schools have enjoyed a rich athletic tradition and produced numerous standout athletes. In terms of hockey, the schools have built a solid, cross-city rivalry, full of talented hitters in both programs.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 threw an unexpected curve ball into the fusion process. A few months after the schools agreed to become one, the pandemic struck, the closure followed, and high school athletics went into a holding pattern. Games and exercises were out, virtual learning was in.
On the way, Kreuz, who previously coached hockey at St. Peter-Marian, got the main job at St. Paul. Challenges awaited, but Kreuz managed to keep the hockey ambitions alive.
“After being named St. Paul coach, I contacted four hockey leaders from St. Peter-Marian and three from Holy Name, and we started meeting once a week above Zoom,” said Kreuz. “Our primary goal was to get to know each other, set goals for the coming season and make plans to bring our two teams together.”
“Soon, Hannah (Nordahl, ex-SPM), Sarah (Bowe, ex-SPM), Marissa (McNally, ex-SPM), Rory (Hughes, ex-SPM), Alex (explained, ex-HN), Jillian (Reynolds, ex-HN), and Kaylee (DeSiata, ex-HN), began planning icebreakers and meetings above Zoom with the rest of the girls interested in hockey in the fall, “said Kreuz.” As the weather cleared and things opened up a bit in the summer, the girls kept socially aloof captaining practices and got to know each other in person. “
However, COVID-19 reared its ugly head last fall, and after several delays, autumn sports were wiped out in the city. St. Paul was scheduled to play in a pod with the city schools, so the season was canceled as well. Fortunately, there was a plan to start hockey (and other sports) in the spring in a Fall II season.
“At first we were not sure if this season would ever come, but we have kept the confidence and are extremely grateful, despite the shortened and chaotic season we are playing,” said Kreuz.
Everyone is used to masks, but a real challenge has been the adaptation to the changes in the rules, especially the transition to seven-on-seven hockey, a concept quite different from the normal 11-on-11 line-up.
“The girls are used to 11 to 11, so we had to practice a few times with formations and plays that would be suitable for seven to seven,” said Kreuz. “The girls have adapted well. It takes a lot of stamina to play a 60-minute field hockey game on a full field seven-on-seven.”
St. Paul has resilient, dedicated athletes who just want to play, have fun and hopefully win a few games. Most impressively, a merger, pandemic and rule changes have done little to affect team spirit. Captains Nordahl, Reynolds and Selvitelli can vouch for this.
“I’m a senior so I want to play, and it’s great to do it,” said Selvitelli. “The weather was okay, except for one cold game, and it seems like the virus is getting better since the vaccine came out. The games were good, but with the seven-on-seven, there is more play all over the field. “
“I was worried for a while if we would ever play, but it worked out,” said Reynolds. “And even though you have two different programs together here, it has all been super easy. We know each other and get along well. Hockey is still a lot of fun. My mother introduced me to the sport, and I” I’ve enjoyed it ever since. “
We all really like positive reinforcement and we encourage each other no matter what, ”said Nordahl. It’s all about teamwork, offensive and defensive. And it has been fun. Who would have thought that the three captains of this team, who played hockey together in elementary school years ago, would ever play together in high school. “
The Knights’ dedication to team play has led numerous players to stand out.
Selvitelli controls the defense and is stimulated by stamina, good posture, a strong stick and quick thinking. DeSiata, Hannah Nordahl, Emma Nordahl and Kylie Barbour patrol the midfield and are adept at directing the transition game, offensively, while recovering to assist defensively. Reynolds, Bowe and Molly Lynchuse their tenacity to successfully transfer the game to St. Paul’s offensive zone.
Other contributors are junior Natalee HortonSophomore Olivia Colby, Taylor Coonan andKeira gentilucci, and freshmen Liaidan Van DykeThe team manager is senior Valerie mensah
Please contact Craig Holt at [email protected]
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