Before the season, the Seneca High School field hockey team showed they are really good people.
Then, the Golden Eagles went out and played, showing everyone they are a really good team, too.
Now, in the postseason, Seneca has proven even more.
“It was really exciting,” senior captain Abby Regn said about winning the program’s first sectional championship. “It proved that you earned your spot.”
The coveted Central Jersey Group 2 title came after the Seneca field hockey team rallied the school’s other athletic teams in August to support the victims impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The players raised over $1,500 for the American Red Cross.
So, indeed, Seneca has earned the label of being humanitarians and champions.
“We were all crying because we did it,” Regn said about the dominating 5-0 win over top-seeded Robbinsville for the title last week. “It was a really a happy moment.”
Regn, a midfielder, scored four goals in the championship game as the sixth-seeded Golden Eagles completed soaring through the sectionals with four impressive wins to earn a date in the state semis against West Deptford at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Egg Harbor Township High School.
Seneca (16-5-2) outscored its four tourney foes 32-2.
“We have been finishing, we are just connecting our passes and then connecting the passes into the goal,” said Regn, who is committed to play field hockey next year at Rutgers
Regn leads Seneca with 24 goals and 10 assists going into the all South Jersey state semifinal matchup with West Deptford (18-3-1). Seneca field hockey coach Julie Smith also has received major offensive contributions from talented senior midfielders Samantha Derkas with 16 goals and Kaitlyn Birnbohm-Kaminski with 12 assists and 11 goals.
Regn, Derkas, Birnbohm-Kaminski and Kasey Mitchell have all started for four years.
“I felt the team was peaking,” said Smith about going into the playoffs. “In the beginning of the preseason, I tried to instill the idea that every game is an opportunity to learn because we are a young team.
“I felt if we were peaking in October, we would have a shot in playoffs.”
The veteran experience and the youthful exuberance on Smith’s squad has blended superbly. Freshmen midfielders Cassidy Strittmatter has 20 goals and Olivia Quagliero has netted 16.
“We have five freshman, so it is cool we have an overlapping, which is awesome,” Smith said.
Seneca understands it will be facing a hungry West Deptford team, which nipped Delsea, 2-1, in the South Jersey Group 2 championship game. The Eagles have won four-straight sectional titles, but West Deptford’s season was stopped the last three years in the state semis.
“Each year is a different team,” said Smith. “There is something to be said for experience and being there before, but I think there is also something to be said for never having been there and the burning desire to make it happen for the first time.”
West Deptford last reached the state final in 1996 when the Eagles claimed their first state championship.
Now the Golden Eagles will be going for their first state title in their first ever meeting against West Deptford.
“We definitely want more,” Regn said. “We want to keep going all they way. We are so excited, we just want to play Seneca field hockey and show how good we are.”
Well, they have proven already how good they are – as people and players.