The Lehigh field hockey team has a diverse roster, but a certain group of women all hail from the same powerhouse high school — the kind of high school that produces top athletes.
Lehigh field hockey coach Stacey Eversley managed to snag five athletes from nearby Emmaus High School, located just southwest of Allentown. The Emmaus alumni consist of two seniors, two juniors and one freshman: midfielder Zoey Pacheco and forward Caitlin Bryan, midfielders Kassidy Green and Aislinn Bryan, and forward Teresa Carotenuto, respectively. Carotenuto has seen playing time in her first season, while Pacheco and Green have seen considerable time on the field as well.
Emmaus is well known for its athletic programs all around, but its field hockey team is one of its best. Sue Butz-Stavin, the head coach, was recently named the winningest scholastic field hockey coach in the country with her 840th win Sept. 9. Eversley is fully aware that Butz-Stavin leads a strong program.
“(Butz-Stavin) is legendary and her program is incredible and speaks for itself,” she said. “I recruited these girls because they had talent and came from a powerhouse high school. I wanted them to bring their work ethic, championship mentality, success and to help impact our program.”
Green said the Emmaus field hockey program was and still is all about hard work and mental toughness. She said Butz-Stavin stressed hard work above all else.
“Playing under her was tough, but definitely instilled good principles in us and helped us to be successful,” Green said. “It was very much about hard work and winning. Winning was important.”
This makes sense coming from one of the most successful field hockey coaches in the nation. She is also a coach who sends most, if not all, of her players on to play collegiate field hockey.
Along with her successful high school program, she runs a club team by the name of Firestyx, which is made up of mostly Emmaus players as well. So while most high school teams only practice together during the fall season, her players are exposed to one another year round, playing for Emmaus in the fall and for Firestyx in the winter and the spring. The players said this extra playing time with each other is a clear advantage, as they are able to grow all year together rather than in just one season.
Aislinn Bryan thought that Firestyx was definitely beneficial for the team, for high school and beyond.
“Playing on Firestyx was nice because we were able to play together as a team all year, and to practice her coaching style all year made it easy going into the next fall season,” Bryan said. “She helped me a lot with my college search, trying to find schools that would be a good fit for me. She was a tough coach to play under, her intensity higher than other high school coaches’, but we did so well it was worth it. I trusted her.”
Coming into the Lehigh program that has seen little success, the women definitely want to make a difference. However, they said they did not necessarily decide to come to Lehigh together.
Bryan’s older sister, Caitlin, was already on the team when she came in for preseason, and she admits that it was nice to have her sister at school when she was just learning the ropes. Carotenuto agreed that it was helpful knowing team members when she got here in the fall.
“I stayed with (Green) for my official visit, and she made me feel so welcome and it felt like such a good place to be,” Carotenuto said. “All of the Emmaus girls were leaders and mentors in high school, and it feels good to be playing with them now in college.”
All of the women hope to improve their record this year, and the Emmaus-to-Lehigh tradition will allow them to strengthen the team and push it closer to that goal.