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Norwin field hockey begins season

| Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

Norwin's field hockey team opened its season with a pair of losses against top opposition, but for a youth-filled Knights team, that's part of the learning process.

The Knights, who have seven freshmen among their 23 players, dropped their opener on Friday to Ellis, 6-0, and fell on Saturday to Section 1-AAA opponent North Allegheny, 4-0, as they opened the season with games against last year's losing finalist from Class AA and Class AAA, respectively.

“I don't think we planned on playing someone like North Allegheny so early, but the way the schedule worked, we were forced to,” Norwin coach Laura Peery said. “I definitely think we played better against North Allegheny than Ellis, so we're going to go from there.”

Norwin returns one all-WPIAL selection from last year in senior defender Emma Dickson, and she and senior midfielder and returning captain Macy Divens are the Knights' leaders entering the season.

The team also returns one of its top scorers from last year in junior Kira Baierl, as she and senior Corinne Dally will be relied upon to put the ball in the net for Norwin. Senior defender Kylie Varga also brings experience to a back line that Peery described as the strength of the Knights.

“I think right now we're looking like a team that will play more defensively,” the coach said. “We're doing a good job of slowing the other teams, but we're looking to improve on the offensive side and how we work it up. That's our major dilemma right now is being able to score.”

One place where the Knights are having players learn on the job is in goal, where sophomore Lauren Slivka and freshman Lexi Lucas are working to help the team overcome the graduation of all-WPIAL goalie Amelia Staub.

“They're both doing very well for their first time in there, but they're both very new,” Peery said. “I look to see improvement from them, but it will be tough while they continue to work.”

Norwin had two road games on the schedule for this week, the first of which was scheduled for Tuesday at Fox Chapel, after this edition's deadline. The Knights go on the road Thursday to face another strong nonsection opponent, Peters Township, at 7:30 p.m.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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