Allyssa Seifert missed out on two great seasons.
She fully took advantage of year three.
Seifert is a junior on the Little Flower High School field hockey team, and she came into high school with three years of experience. The Somerton resident learned to play the game when she was a sixth grader at Baldi Middle School.
Then came the pandemic that wiped out a lot of sports in 2020, including Little Flower’s field hockey campaign.
Last year the pandemic wasn’t a problem, but the team didn’t have a coach. Athletic director Tim McCartney volunteered to take over the program, but it didn’t work out.
“The seniors on the team decided they didn’t want to play, so we didn’t have a season,” Seifert said. “It was hard. We had a coach, it was the girls who didn’t want to play. I was really upset. I just thought that if it goes away, will it ever come back?”
It’s back, and they’re working to become better than ever.
Seifert led the Sentinels on the field this season, and while they produced just one win, a 1-0 triumph over St. Hubert where Seifert scored the lone goal, it was a great season because they’re back on the field.
The team also has a new coach. Seifert’s dad, Bill, a 1991 North Catholic grad who starred on the soccer team, has taken over as the coach with help from McCartney.
He’s quickly learned the game, and has helped the Sentinels get the team back in the flow of playing against the tough teams in the Catholic League.
“He has watched a lot of it with me playing, so he figured why not coach?” Seifert said. “He’s a great coach, and he has a great assistant, our athletic director. Over the summer, we were getting everything together and we didn’t have a coach, so my dad stepped in and took the lead with our athletic director.
“They were working together, recruiting people, it was fun.
They’re very good, and because of them, we were able to have a team.”
Well, because of them and Seifert, who made sure the Sentinels would have enough depth to put together a competitive team. It wasn’t easy, but after some recruiting, the numbers were strong enough for the season.
“I was literally handing out flyers at lunch,” Seifert said. “I was doing everything in my power to get players. We had signups at every lunch. The athletic director did a really good job, too. We sent out emails. We had players come out during the summer for practice, maybe two weeks, we had preseason and a lot were there, but once we started school, we got a lot to sign up. It helped a lot. We needed girls.
“We had enough players for a varsity team, and next year we really want to have enough for a JV team, too. We’re trying to rebuild the program. It’s hard when you stop playing, you have to start over.”
While Seifert was one of the players who helped build the program, she said senior teammates Brenna Nuyianes and Glorimar Nino helped, too.
Nuyianes is an experienced field hockey player who played at Bishop McDevitt before coming to Little Flower after it closed. Nino, on the other hand, is a newcomer to the sport, but she still was a great role model for the younger players.
“Both seniors were really good leaders, they were such an important part of this team,” said Seifert, who was a Second-Team All-Catholic selection. “Brenna was a captain, too, and she was a really good leader. We tried to lead by example. I thought the seniors were a big part of having a team.”
And their legacy will continue to live on through this team.
Sure, the Sentinels were happy to post a victory this year, and they worked really hard to make sure they were prepared every time they took the field.
But Seifert and the rest of the underclassmen knew the work they put in this year will pay dividends next year.
“We wanted to win, but we knew we were building this team, and we were happy with any progress we made,” Seifert said. “This year was great, for next year, we’re trying to get better each year. As it goes on, this year was kind of like getting people out and seeing the feel of next year. Next year, we’re going to try and get better and be more competitive.”
But Seifert can’t focus on field hockey.
She also runs track and is a member of the school’s lacrosse team. She also plays club lacrosse. And soon, she’ll be writing about great athletes.
“I’m going to join the Athletic Association,” Seifert said. “We pretty much get together and write articles about girls at school that play three sports, or girls who do great. We write articles about people who play sports on our website. The history about them, how they started the sport. I love sports, I always have, I think I get that from my dad.
“We had a really great year, I’m really happy with what we did. I really hope we keep getting better. But we still have work to do.”