When Cindi Todoroff returned to coaching field hockey for East Brunswick High School three years ago, she did so for one reason. OK. Maybe a few.
In her own words, she wanted a “top quality, competitive playing experience highlighted by skilled team play and sportsmanship.” Judging by last season’s GMC Championship, she’s succeeding.
“We have great expectations. Period. Last year we were a work in progress the whole year and then finally everything came together for us. We won 9 of our last 10 after we started out 4 and 3.”
There’s an excitement and a competitiveness around the program that Todoroff likes, and part of that might be because the hard work she puts in all year. For the past three years she has teamed with former teammate Mim Chapell-Eber of Quik-Stix Elite to hold the Annual Quik-Stix-East Brunswick 7v7 Summer Field Hockey Tournament at the East Brunswick High School.
Turn out to this year's event (held sunday) was great, she said, and has been growing every year, from eight teams the first year, 12 last year, and 18 this year.
“It’s here and it’s been here for awhile,” said Todoroff about the sport’s growing popularity. “One thing about this tournament that is that it's kind of unique. There’s not a lot of these tournaments for high school aged players that are being held throughout the year.”
Todoroff said she started the tournament to give area field hockey players that play in high school the opportunity to be competitive with their teams during the summer. Much like summer baseball and soccer leagues give athletes in those sports an opportunity to train and compete during the off-season, so does the Quik-Stix tournament.
“To have something for regular high school kids and high school teams to be able to participate in, there’s not that many of these experiences. To be able to bring this, a place for your high school team to come as a team, there’s not much of that."
Of course, high school teams can’t come as their school teams, but they can play and interact with their coaches. Two East Brunswick representatives, EB Express and EB Enterprise, were each lead by EBHS assistant coaches.
The EB Express won its pool by defeating Franklin in the semi-finals and Jersey Elite in the finals by a score of 2-1, winning the high school championship. Nikki Marzella scored two goals in the finals and was assisted by Lauren Cram on both. Emily Polinski and Tori Zaccario were both in goal.
The EB Enterprise team included Mariah Caise, Victoria Taormina, Cali McDonough, Danielle Nixon, Emily Ostrowski, Angela Costanzo, Rachel Degutz and Lili Wysiekierski. Polinski and zaccario were once again in goal. The squad didn’t advance into the medal round, but “gave it their all throughout the entire tournament,” said Todoroff, who hopes the success this weekend translates into a big year in the fall.
“We graduated a lot of quality kids,” she said. “We lost a lot of players, but with the hard work of the team we’ve made up for it one way or another. We have very high expectations. Everyone has high expectations. My kids love to play field hockey, they love to compete, they love to play GREAT field hockey, so they’re excited to get together and put on a great game of hockey. But with the great expectations everyone has to have patience. Just because you have the ingredients to be something great, doesn’t mean it will happen.”
But if her 2012-13 squad has have the passion and determination as their coach, then meeting those expectations shouldn’t be a little easier.