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PEABODY — First-year Bishop Fenwick girls hockey coach John Kasle says he’s simply building on the forward progress made by former coach Doug Anderson.
So far, so good for Kasle and the 3-0-1 Crusaders, who’ve defeated Arlington Catholic (twice) and Cambridge Rindge and Latin this season. Fenwick tied Marblehead in its second game of the season, before successfully defending its crown at the St. Joseph’s Christmas Tournament earlier this week.
“It’s kind of a continuation to the start we had last year,” Kasle said. “I was the assistant coach here for the past seven years before taking over as head coach. I think over the last few years we’re getting some better players into the school. They’ve seen what the program has to offer. We’re off to another good start this season.
“Doug helped build the program up for the past seven years. He left us a great foundation. We’re trying to build upon the foundation that he helped establish.”
Fenwick, which finished last season at 13-8-1 with an appearance in the Division 2 state tournament, has built this year’s team around senior goalie Cailyn Wesley. With two shutouts, Wesley has been rock-solid in net.
“One of the main contributors to our start this year has been our goaltending,” Kasle said. “Cailyn returned after missing all of last season with an injury. She broke her ankle at the end of the field hockey season. She’s back and she’s only allowed one goal in three games. She’s a great leader. She always wants to succeed and do well. She doesn’t want to allow a single goal. She’s always challenging the opposing shooters.”
Fenwick’s offense is driven by junior Gabby Davern and sophomore Emma Perry. Davern has netted a team-best seven goals and dished one assist. Perry has recorded six assists and scored three goals.
“Emma showed a lot of potential last year,” Kasle said. “She worked very hard and came back this season really ready to go. She’s really stepped up her game through all aspects of the ice. She’s on our power play and one of our main penalty killers. Gabby’s one of the best goal scorers in the area. She’s very confident. She has a great shot.”
Sophomore Lauren Diranian, in a new position at center, has also given the offense a boost.
“Lauren’s still adapting to that role,” Kasle said. “Along with Emma, she’s one of the kids on our power play and one of our penalty killers. She’s a very strong, defensive center. She’s always in the right place. She makes a lot of plays that you might not notice but we as coaches notice them and we appreciate that.”
Defensively, junior Allison Countie leads the charge along with sophomores Catherine Salvo and Grace Morey.
“Last year we played three freshmen and a sophomore and Grace was one of those freshmen,” Kasle said. “I actually watched her play field hockey this year and she improved tremendously in field hockey. She’s the quarterback of our defense. She’s really grown in terms of her knowledge and skill level from last year to this year.”
Kasle applauded Fenwick’s captains for setting a positive example from the start. Wesley captains the team with assistants Countie, Davern and junior Shannon Nagy.
“Shannon has really stepped up this year,” Kasle said. “She’s been a pleasant surprise. She’s shown a lot of leadership. She’s grown into the role right from the beginning. Cailyn’s a great leader. She’s also captain of the field hockey and lacrosse teams. She really takes charge, all the girls look up to her. She has that natural ability to say the right thing at the right time.
“Gabby and Allison are a little more on the quieter side. But they work hard and lead by example. Allison’s always willing to reach out to the younger girls and show them how we do things.”
Fenwick’s road ahead is a competitive one, with trips to Oakmont Friday (11), Wilmington Saturday (12) and Lexington Monday (11).
“I think in the upcoming stretch, particularly against Wilmington and Lexington, we’re going to match up against some really good competition,” Kasle said. “What we’re stressing right now is getting the puck to the net and having a second girl there ready for the rebound. We rely on that and we preach playing solid defense. And that will have to continue.”
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Bishop Fenwick’s Gabby Davern is one of the Crusaders’ top offensive players this season. (Item File Photo)
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