NEWPORT–Losing one or two key players to graduation can be tough.
Losing the bulk of your starters and top reserves is almost mind numbing.
Be that as it may, that is what Chantelle Bouchard and the rest of the 2012 field hockey Falcons must contend with as they embark on this year's campaign.
"It's hard to fill their positions for sure, but as the season moves on we will be able to tell more," said the coach.
As hard as it is to reboot, North Country is going to go at it full steam ahead and could surprise some folks along their way.
Goaltending is one area where North Country is not lacking for any experience.
Danielle Gabucci played very well last season in her first year as the varsity netminder, and she believes that she will be ready for another strong one this year.
"I hope to do just as well this year, if not better," said Gabucci. "We have a great defense and we are really working together and trying to make it work. We have a lot of new faces, so we are coming together as a team and hope to come out with a lot of wins this season."
Said Bouchard of her goaltender, "She will definitely be a vocal leader for sure. She has been been working hard all summer long, so I think she’ll do pretty well."
Playing in front of Gabucci will be a mix of veterans and youngsters.
Junior Brittany Verge, along with sophomores Stephanie Tarryk and Jess Buckles will be the big three charged with keeping opponents away from the Falcon net.
"They are all really good, so I believe we have that aspect (D) filled," Bouchard said.
A more troubling part of the team is up front on offense.
Already a low scoring team for the past couple of years, the Falcons are going to have to rely heavily on Bailey Carter and Mariah Roberts, along with Stephanie Jones to pick up the bulk of the scoring.
"I still think we are going to be good," said Roberts. "We have had some freshman come up who are very fast and very athletic, so I feel like we will be able to work more as a team this year without everyone trying to be number."
With several younger players filling in the rest of the slots, it could be awhile until the team's offensive identity is known.
"The lines and midi's don't really know their positions yet," Chantelle mused. "It is hard coming in from j/v and being thrown into varsity when you are not quite there."
There is one younger player that has already made an impact on the staff, and that is sophomore Adrianna Fournier.
"She went to camp this summer and she has some "mad" skills," Bouchard replied with grin when asked about the potential for any breakout stars this season.
Fournier possess strong stick-handling skills with sneaky quick speed that should should cause a lot of the North Country's opponents to look twice.
Speaking of opponents, the Falcons have one more tune-up against St. Johnsbury before they open up their season this Saturday when they play host to Rice at 10:00 AM