Eastern again wins Group 4 field hockey title

Austin Cuneo (30) celebrates her first of two goals with Eastern teammates Emma Johansson (left), Jade Dixon (partially obscured), and Karlee Spirit (right). CURT HUDSON / For The Inquirer
Austin Cuneo (30) celebrates her first of two goals with Eastern teammates Emma Johansson (left), Jade Dixon (partially obscured), and Karlee Spirit (right). CURT HUDSON / For The Inquirer
Posted: November 19, 2012

Eastern captured its 14th consecutive Group 4 field hockey championship Sunday with a dominant 9-2 victory over Bridgewater-Raritan at the College of New Jersey.

The Vikings might have sealed the title run by bonding at pasta parties throughout the season.

"This team is your family," said Karlee Spirit, who scored a pair of goals. "I wouldn't want to share this with anybody else."

"Our biggest thing this year was 'We are family,' " said Emma Johansson, who scored twice. "There's not one person I don't love on this team."

On a squad teeming with Division I recruits and players with lofty field hockey dreams, Eastern, which finished 25-0, set aside personal goals to earn another state championship.

"They were more concerned with Eastern than they were with themselves," Vikings coach Danyle Heilig said. "When you have a lot of strong, talented players, the group has to be focused on a goal. Our goal is to play a team game."

Eastern will not have the opportunity to play for total state supremacy, since the Tournament of Champions was canceled because of the scheduling effects from Sandy, but it did match Moorestown on Sunday for most state titles with 16. Bridgewater-Raritan finished at 23-2.

Especially with the school's recent success, the Vikings players were united in the goal of maintaining the school's dominance.

"You never want to be the team that breaks that record," said Austyn Cuneo, who scored two goals and finished with 68 this season, one short of the state record. "We go into every game saying, 'We're going to work for each other, we're going to win - we need to win.' "

Even though most Vikings players achieved significant personal goals and earned the chance to play at the next level, Eastern's family bond is most memorable for the girls.

"The moments with the team are what I remember most," Carly Celkos said. "Going to somebody's house to get pumped up before games - those are probably the most memorable things."

"I feel like I have 30 sisters because of my team," Cuneo added.

Bridgewater-Raritan 0 2 - 2

Eastern 7 2 - 9

Goals: BR–Emily Miller, Catherine Caro. E: Austyn Cuneo (2), Emma Johansson (2), Karlee Spirit (2), Carly Celkos (2), Kimi Jevic.

Saves: BR–Christen Piersanti, 12. E–Melanie Humphrey, 3.


Contact Nick Carroll at ncarroll@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.

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