It makes a great story or, perhaps, a movie.
Man takes over field hockey team, a sport about which he knows little. In five years, man turns around program to challenge the perennial power.
That's what happened in 2012, when Delone Catholic, directed by John Henn, posed the biggest threat to the title gripped tightly by Bermudian Springs.
It would be a great story, that is, if Henn were to take the credit for his designation at this year's All-Area Field Hockey Coach of the Year.
"This award would go to Julie Kuhn," Henn said about his assistant coach. "What she brought over the past two years ... those details helped progress a bunch of girls who don't begin to play the game until the ninth grade."
Regardless of the credit, the Squirettes produced a 13-5-1 record, including a 7-3 YAIAA III record. Delone advanced into the District 3 Class AA Tournament, in which the Squirettes fell 3-0 to Hamburg.
However, the shutouts were few for these Squirettes, whose offensive improvement was special for Henn.
"We normally could keep close games with the majority of teams, but we had never been able to score," he said.
That changed this fall. Emily Kaehler tallied 11 goals while Brianna Sadler added nine and Victoria Corbin posted six. At the same time, Delone allowed only 18 goals all season.
The production was the result of a veteran team, featuring 13 seniors, which stayed together through its development.
"Our team motto
That team battled Bermudian Springs to a pair of one-goal losses. Delone Catholic also fell by one goal in overtime to Biglerville.
Yet Henn again went back to Kuhn, a former standout at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who offered a counterpoint to Henn's own coaching style.
"Julie brought a lot more technical skill and really held them accountable to it," Henn said.
On the other hand, Henn said he coaches a more physical style of play, something which he said he will continue even as Kuhn's future role with Delone's team is uncertain.
"I will constantly be working on the finer technical points, but I will still push for the ability to play strong and use your body in a legal sense," he said.
Those are ideas which he will teach to a young team in 2012. The seniors' graduation also will deplete the program's numbers.
"It's really going to be difficult. It's not just the field hockey numbers, but enrollment is way down, so that's a big challenge," he said.
However, the success of the Squirette field hockey program offers its own attraction if the families involved are devoted to developing their girls' skills.
"It takes a lot of commitment from the kids and the parents to get them to the activities that are not in season," he said. "It's playing indoor hockey and, this year, we got the girls involved in strength training ... "
Henn hopes his younger players realize such commitment will bring added success.
"I think the girls learned, especially the juniors who will be seniors, that they have become accustomed to winning," Henn said.
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