Villa coach to skip season

Villa Maria's Maurene Polley is recuperating from an illness.
Villa Maria's Maurene Polley is recuperating from an illness.
Posted: September 13, 2013

The patch tells the story.

It's blue and white, nearly two inches in diameter, stitched in the upper left corner of Villa Maria's jerseys. Inside the circle are the letters "MP," the initials of Hurricanes coach Maurene Polley, who, for the first time since 1968, is not coaching Villa Maria field hockey.

Polley is taking the 2013 season off while recuperating from an offseason illness. Janet Coady, Polley's longtime assistant, said it was Polley's wishes not to disclose her illness, but said Polley was in good spirits and would try to attend Hurricanes home games this season.

The players took it upon themselves to wear patches this season to honor their longtime coach.

Coady is taking the reins as the acting coach, along with assistants Jacqueline Farmer and Claire Emplit. Coady said Polley still keeps tabs on her team.

"We talk," Coady said. "She'll always be involved in the process. She stays very interested in the program."

The Hurricanes have won the District 1 Class AA title six years in a row and are back-to-back state finalists, but as the Catholic Academies league continues to improve, the Hurricanes could need Polley now more than ever.

Mount St. Joseph is a perennial challenger to the Hurricanes' league dominance, earning a share of the league title in 2011.

Gwynedd-Mercy continues to prove itself a worthy competitor: The Monarchs beat Mount St. Joseph, 2-1, at home Tuesday, their second win against the Magic in 13 years.

Notre Dame, behind Moira Putsch, one of the area's best offensive players, won by 3-2 at Villa Maria on Sept. 4.

Villa Maria (1-2) graduated seven seniors this spring and returned six varsity starters. Senior Megan Parsons, the Hurricanes' leading scorer, has three goals in three games. Parsons is trying to lead Villa Maria after the losses of Olivia Bolles, Megan Murphy, and Maura Zarkoski - all of whom moved on to Division I colleges.

"We expect to be good, but we are young," Coady said. "We lack experience. But they're working hard."

Cancer awareness. Gwynedd Mercy raised $275 for breast cancer awareness at its home game Tuesday against the Mount.

In the third annual "pink game," the Monarchs wore pink socks and pink ribbons and the field lines were painted pink. The crowd, estimated at 300, donated baked goods and other homemade items. All proceeds from concessions went to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

The event was particularly special for Monarchs freshman Kaitlin Mccauley, whose mother, Gwen, is receiving treatment during a months-long battle with breast cancer.

"Our whole community is aware of her situation," Gwynedd coach Sue Persichetti said. "She had treatment for five hours [Tuesday] and raced to the game.

"The fans are so supportive. This is the biggest game of the season for us. We promote it really heavily because it means so much to us."

Gwynedd Mercy won the game, 2-1.

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