THE HORNET field hockey team gained some valuable state tournament experience in Ashland as they will look to return to the tourney next season. (File Photo)



NORTH READING — The North Reading High field hockey team qualified for the Division 3 state tournament this season. They ended up losing at Ashland, 3-0, on Nov. 7 in the first round to finish 6-11-2 overall.

In the Cape Ann League, they went 4-10-1 as they finished in fifth place in the CAL Kinney division.

“We came together at the right time,” said Hornets head coach Andrea Slaven, who just finished her fifth year with the team. “We play in a very competitive league and it took a while with the youth we have, but the girls came into their own.”

The team will lose four seniors to graduation, Kiersten Fortin (forward), Lindsay Keller (midfielder), Emma Mini (goalie) and Emily Sonia (defenseman). Mini and Sonia were co-captains.

“This was one of the smallest classes I have had,” pointed out Slaven. “Each player played a vital role, even Lindsay who missed the year due to injury but she was like a player-coach for us.”

Slaven also pointed out how the seniors had to play a 7-on-7 shortened year last fall due to the pandemic with no post-season which held them back on their development.

Next September, the Hornets are slated to have 14 veterans return. The two cornerstone players coming back for the team are all-stars Mary Majeski and Karleigh Budny.

Majeski, a captain, made the CAL First-Team All-Stars as the forward led the team in points with six goals and nine assists. Meanwhile Budny, who played midfielder, was a CAL Kinney Division Second-Team All-Star.

“One of the advantages we will have next year is our experience with all of the players who saw action this year,” said Slaven. “I hope the girls work hard during the off-season so we can get off to a good start in September.”

The biggest question for the Hornets going into 2022 is who will replace Mini in net as she finished with a record of 6-10-2.

Slaven recently gave out five individual awards at the team’s post-season banquet.

Majeski was the Hornets MVP while Budny was the Unsung Heroine. Sophomore forward, Kelly Hannon, received the Coaches Award.

The Defensive Effort Award went to freshman Lily McTeague while the Offensive Effort Award went to fellow ninth-grader Alyse Mutti.