The New Hope-Solebury field hockey team would like to replicate the success it had in 2018.
With that goal in mind, the Lions began the season on a high note, defeating non-league host Council Rock South, 2-0, on opening day last Friday.
The game was 0-0 at halftime but a pair of goals by Lilly Smith and Ella Czarnecki in the second half gave New Hope the victory.
Goaltender Lydia Eastburn made four saves on four shots for New Hope.
“Winning this game really did give us a boost,” said Czarnecki, a senior forward who is in her fourth year with the program. “We’re missing some key people to injuries so that was important to us.
“CR South is a good team and they have some fantastic players so this is a good win for us. When we went into halftime and it was 0-0 our coach (Gwen Smith) told us what we needed to do, what we needed to clean up in order to win and she asked us if we wanted it and of course we did.
“She has faith in us and that means so much to the team.”
Last year’s squad went 19-1-1, going undefeated until the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class A tournament. En route, New Hope won the Bicentennial Athletic League and the District One tournament. The Lions gave up just three goals all year, two in their state loss to Oley Valley.
“Our goal is to finish on a high note and that’s especially important for the seniors,” she said. “We want to leave a legacy for the program. This year we want to go farther than we have before but it’s tough to get past the state quarterfinals.”
There were no seniors on the 2018 team so New Hope literally returned everyone.
“Because we didn’t have any seniors on last year’s team, we learned early what it took to lead,” Czarnecki said. “So I don’t feel like the seniors on the team now have to step up. We were already there.
“I believe we have 11 freshmen on our team and they really want it, too. They love to play. It feels like it’s come full circle. They’re how we were when we were freshmen.”
Czarnecki is a club officer for the Model United Nations at New Hope and plays violin in the orchestra. She is also a member of New Hope’s track and field team.
But her biggest interest is horseback riding.
“I haven’t picked a college yet but I would love to ride for a collegiate equestrian team,” she said. She is considering majoring in political science and sociology.
It was not the start to the season that the Golden Hawks were envisioning.
“This was a learning experience for us,” said CR South senior Lauren Mitchell, a midfielder. “We have strong players. We need to learn to connect and that will come over time.
“We’ll be fine. We just need to grow. I think we have the right mindset. We’ll work harder.”
Now that District One uses the power point system to determine tournament brackets, losing to a Class A team is damaging to Class 3A CR South’s ranking.
“That loss hurts us of course but our season is absolutely not over,” Mitchell said. “That loss isn’t going to kill us.
“This was a good game for us because our teams matched up well. We knew a lot of their players because we play club with them so this was a good, competitive game.”
She has high hopes for the season.
“I think it’ll be very interesting to see how we do,” said Mitchell, who also plays lacrosse for CR South. “Our biggest goal is to win the SOL and I think we have a chance. We’d like to go far in districts and get to states, too. We’ve all set these goals and they’re driving us to do better.
“The team made it to states when I was a freshman and while I wasn’t on the varsity I saw them do it, so it’s an experience I’ll always remember. It would be great if we could do that again.”
CR South goaltender Kelsey McCloskey made 14 saves on 16 shots. New Hope had seven corners to four for CR South.