Heading into the 2021 field hockey campaign, Deep Run coach Rachel Haislip said that the quick succession of competitive seasons left them feeling like they’d lost a mass of seniors all at once.
So this year would be a growing season for the reigning regional champions, Haislip said, where the team strove to improve with every practice and game.
But so far, that improvement has Deep Run looking as strong as ever. After 12 games, the Wildcats’ only loss to a VHSL team was a 2-1 decision in favor of Prince George. They've earned a 3-2 win over Midlothian and a 5-0 victory over J.R. Tucker in the past week.
The team’s leading scorer, Elena Sorkin, has been a testament to their approach.
“Sorkin has definitely had a breakout season,” Haislip said. “She is one of our players that has gotten better with literally every touch of the ball.”
Sorkin — the younger sister of four-time All Metro tennis player of the year Nina Sorkin — leads the team offensively with 13 goals and four assists.
Sorkin, a strong lacrosse player who has committed to play at High Point, has the athleticism and competitive nature has enabled her to develop her field hockey game and score some big goals for the team, according to Haislip.
Junior center mid Kelsey MacAleese has also greatly improved this season. As well as being a leader on the team, MacAleese’s intensity, ball handling and distribution has made her a key aspect of Deep Run’s game.
“She has become such a huge cornerstone in the center of our field and has just far exceeded all of our expectations,” Haislip said.
In the back field, Deep Run also boasts a strong defensive line and last year's Class 5B co-player of the year Ella Fallen in cage.
“Every day we’re trying to gel more as a team and improve, and I think that focus has definitely helped us be successful,” Haislip said.