A Year of Change for the KO Hockey Team
After being placed in a different division and finding themselves under the leadership of two new coaches, the Keystone Oaks hockey team has been struggling to maintain the continuity and close-knit relationships that make a team strong. The team has played six of twenty games so far this season, with a record sporting two wins and four losses.
The last win was a “hard fought victory” according to senior Andrius Petrauskas, as the boys took on Ringgold, skating by with a score of 10-9. The team had, however, been up 5-0 at the end of the first period, losing the lead 6-5 to Ringgold by the end of the second, though managing to bring it back in the third. This lack of consistency, reflected in the score, Petrauskas attributes to the numerous changes that have taken place within the last year.
Despite being placed in a lower division with teams more on par with Keystone Oaks’s skill level, the new coaches, Mark Kostosky and Michael Hoffman, head and assistant respectively, have found it difficult to engage with the boys on a deeper level, eliminating the sense of familiarity and guidance most teams develop over time. In addition, head captain Tanner Malia and assistant captains Conor Tokarsky and Connor Hoffman have found it tough to evoke a sense of optimism or authority inside the team, especially following the news that Malia will be out for most of the season with a broken ankle. The team is a melting pot of players from three different schools, which include numerous members from Seton and Cornerstone Prep, further adding to the feeling of disunity. Despite these challenges that Petrauskas refers to as “messy politics,” he hopes to see improvements, especially in a matchup against tough competitor Carrick on November 19. He also predicts the team’s next win to be against John Marshall on December 3, and encourages students to “come out and support the boys” as “it means a lot.”
As for the future of the KO hockey team, Petrauskas believes the “younger players, which are the majority, could be really good in years to come as long as they work hard.”