Without big stars, Oley Valley keeps on winning in field hockey

·3 min read

Oct. 10—When the Oley Valley starting lineup is announced prior to each field hockey game, fans hear the names of a lot of sophomores and juniors but they won't hear the names of any superstars.

But that hasn't slowed the Lynx in their quest to capture a 10th straight Berks Field Hockey League division championship. Without a senior in the the starting lineup, Oley Valley has continued to be a dominant team.

"One thing that we always take pride in is working together," said Oley coach Tiffany Cappellano. "I think these girls believe in that and a majority of the time they follow the game plan."

They also have followed the script of dominating league opponents. Oley Valley's 3-1 win over Fleetwood last week stretched the Lynx's league winning streak to 82. Oley hasn't lost a league game since falling to Hamburg on Oct. 11, 2011.

The Lynx need to defeat either Schuylkill Valley on Monday or Wyomissing on Wednesday to clinch the Berks III title.

On paper, this looked like the year the Lynx might be vulnerable. Sophia Gladieux, the all-time Berks scoring leader, is now in her second year at Penn State.

Following last season, the Lynx lost to graduation a pair of All-Berks seniors and another player who was voted the all-division team. They also had their streak of four straight Berks championships snapped with a semifinal shootout loss to Berks Catholic.

Yet the Oley Valley tradition has continued during a season in which three players from other Berks schools have reached 100 career goals. These Lynx don't have anybody with the name recognition of Twin Valley's Natali Foster, Berks Catholic's Julia Bressler or Fleetwood's Casey Lynn Dewald.

Not yet anyway.

"One person doesn't determine a team," said Oley sophomore Taylor Vaccaro. "It's everyone's effort. You're only as strong as your weakest player.

"We all do the work and put in the effort. I think that's what helped us get to where we are today."

Vaccaro, junior Tetje Williamson and sophomore Morgan Snyder earned all-division recognition last season. But Vaccaro's sister, Samantha, along with last year's leading scorer, Bailee Christman, graduated after earning All-Berks honors.

This year, Mia Woodard leads Oley with a modest 12 goals and five assists. The 29 points don't rank her in the top 10 in the county in scoring.

But the more important numbers are the Lynx are 14-0, have outscored their opponents 77-5 and have the highest District 3 power ranking among Berks teams. Oley, which owns the highest power ranking in District 3 Class 1A, is in line to be the No. 1 seed for the Berks Field Hockey League playoffs, which are scheduled to start Monday, Oct. 18.

"It's a great group of girls that are willing to work hard," Cappellano said. "I'm blessed with a large, knowledgeable coaching staff as well."

The Lynx also benefit from having a tradition that includes a Berks-record 18 county championships, nine District 3 titles and two PIAA championships.

That leads many of the community's top female athletes to begin playing field hockey at an early age.

"Coming up we've been a really tight-knit group of girls," Taylor Vaccaro said. "It's just teamwork. Coming from a smaller school everyone knows everyone. It really helps. We just work really well together."

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