Lady Jaguars: young but determined

JOHNSBURG - The Lady Jaguars set the bar high for themselves going 8-0 in the league last year and bringing home the league championship.

"We had a successful year, giving Johnsburg a season that they had not seen in a few years," said head coach Jill Toney.

Following their successful season, the team graduated seven seniors, leaving a relatively young team to face this year's competition.

Graduated players include Kelly Blackhurst, Emily Burns, Samantha Burns, Keri Cleveland, Margaret Welz, Kelsey Williford and Brittney Allard.

Toney attributes last year's success to the hard work and talent of those players.

"These young ladies have worked so hard for so long to get last year's titles," said Toney of her seniors.

This year, Toney expects her new seniors to step up and lead the team both on and off the field. Seniors include Stephanie Ovitt, Cortina Greene, Emily Smith, Hailey West and goal keeper Casandra Prouty.

They bring experience, leadership and a taste of victory back to the field this year.

"The returning varsity players want to repeat the success they had last year," said Toney. "And the new girls who were with us on our ride to the sectional finals want to ride that road again."

Toney had been at Johnsburg for 20 years and has coached varsity field hockey for all but three of them.

Despite last year's success, Toney is not underestimating the challenges presented by league play this year. The Lady Jaguars will face rival Warrensburg this year and hope to come out on top. They were able to beat Warrensburg three times last year.

"Everyone in our league is tough," said Toney. "But warrensburg has become our rival over the years and, after beating them last year, I think that is a victory that everyone wants to repeat."

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