Field Hockey: Delco Christian Eyeing Another District Berth

Joni Calderwood, Delco Christian’s field hockey coach,  is trying to convince herself it’s not going to happen.

Neither, for that matter, are Mark Weaver and Lana Trotter, the school’s girls basketball and softball coaches, respectively.

But as unlikely as it seems, Stacey MacArthur will finally be graduating this year. Unlikely’s the word because it seems like MacArthur’s been gracing the pages of the Daily Times for what seems like the better part of the decade in seemingly every sport. Regardless of season, MacArthur has always stood out for the Knights.

Basketball is MacArthur’s best sport and the one she’s likely to concentrate on in college, but she’s no slouch in field hockey or softball. A year ago, she helped the Knights win the Bicentennial League’s Constitution Division with her 15 goals, and she earned a second-team All-Delco nod as a shortstop on DC’s district finalist team. And this year, she’s going to be expected to do even more for the Knights.

“She’s healthy this year, and we’re moving her from the forward line to midfield,” said Calderwood, the 2011 BAL Coach of the Year who’s at her third year at the Knights’ helm. “She’s our smartest player and she moves the ball better than everyone else.”

There might be a slight adjustment for the three-sport star as she gets acclimated to midfield, but Calderwood doesn’t expect too many problems from a natural athlete like MacArthur.

“She led us in scoring last year, so we hope she keeps up the scoring and takes over in ball movement,” Calderwood said. “A lot of her goals last year were in front of the net, on deflections, so she’ll have to shoot a little bit more.”

Luckily for MacArthur, she’s got a very familiar cast alongside her. Most of the team has played together for a few years, and they’re mostly basketball players, too. At a small school like DC, multi-sport athletes are a necessity, not a luxury. That, though, in turn leads to more cohesiveness and chemistry. One of those hoopsters, senior forward Anna Evans, is a player Calderwood expects to have a big, breakout season for DC as it moves to the Independence (Big Schools) Division due to an enhanced enrollment.

“I think Anna is going to be a pretty high goal scorer,” Calderwood said. “Her muscle memory is so good that she’s never going to cave under pressure. Even in the huge games, she’s going to do the same things. She’s always going to perform the same way in our big games as she does in our other games. She’s looking to play in college, and I think she can, especially if she has a big year.”

But if the Knights are to overcome the loss of Brittany Weidemann, the team’s second-leading scorer and the BAL MVP, they’ll need more scoring than just the goals provided by MacArthur and Evans, and Calderwood expects big things from junior forward Hannah Zubyk.

“We’re going to spread out how we replaced Brittany’s offense, but I really like Hannah’s aggressiveness,” Calderwood said. “I think Hannah will have a big impact in the circle. She’s got a really nice shot.”

Defensively, things revolve around the athletic Jocelyn Chavous, another basketball player. While Chavous has indicated that she’s likely to pursue a future in basketball like MacArthur, Calderwood thinks Chavous would likely receive significant collegiate interest if she were to exclusively focus on field hockey.

“She’s a wall back there,” Calderwood said. “She’s so frustrating for teams that I had some coaches ask me last year, ‘she’s a senior, right? We won’t have to deal with her again?’ But she’s back. She’s got such a natural field hockey stance, and we’ll rely on her to set up the defense and push the ball forward.”

Chavous will have to be at her best early for new goalie Rachael Pope – yep, another hoopster – to have a chance to get her feet wet. The junior never played goalie before, but Calderwood said Pope looks very good early and should have a big year.

The schedule is tougher – DC is in a division with Christopher Dock, New Hope-Solebury and Lower Moreland, and there are marquee nonleague games with Notre Dame and Agnes Irwin, among others – but Calderwood expects her team to build on last year’s playoff berth to make a deeper run this year.

“We saw New Hope last year in the playoffs,” Calderwood said. “I think that was a good way to break into districts. Hopefully we can move forward from that.”

-MATT CHANDIK

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