A season removed from finishing 9-4-2 and advancing past the opening round of the Division I DIAA Field Hockey tournament, the Dover team was anxious for more success.
Through five games, the Lady Senators have managed one victory. With plenty of time to right the ship, Dover looks to turn things around in a young and improving team.
After losing nine seniors, this year’s squad is void of fourth-year players. Dover does have a lot of players returning who, while they didn’t start, saw valuable time on the field.
“This year we have two starters returning, Chelsea Johnson, who has already scored three goals, and Ally Manifold, also a forward, who was last year’s leading scorer, moved to midfield,” said head coach Denise Kimbro. “Kendra Durrington returns with varsity experience. She played a lot of minutes last year and will anchor our defense along with Julia Ilias.”
Junior class returnees are Ashlyn Darling, Amanda Dill, Angela Poole, Nicole Rainford, Bryanna Stamas and Kyra Woodard. More than half of the Lady Senators’ roster is made up of sophomores or freshmen.
“We start five freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors. We’re young, our freshmen have speed, stick skills, heart and never quit,” Kimbro said. “Alayna Gigliotti, Kyleigh Dill, Emma Crowe, Superia Clark and Sierra Manifold are holding their own as freshman playing varsity.”
While they sit at 1-4, they’ve gone up against tough opponents, including Tower Hill, Cape Henlopen, Delmar and Indian River.
Even with the slow start, Kimbro believes they can take some positives out of their victory earlier this month against Milford.
“Getting the win over Milford was a confidence builder for this year’s young team,” Kimbro said.
With six of their final eight games at home, the Lady Senators hope to use that to their advantage to gain some wins as the season progresses.
To turn things around, Kimbro and her squad plan to work on some things down the stretch.
“Areas we need to improve on, which will come from experience, are causing fouls in the circle which leads to defensive corners,” Kimbro said, “and strengthening our reserves to be able to contribute good minutes.”
This week, the Lady Senators will host the Laurel Bulldogs Thursday at 4 p.m.