MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead girls hockey team has faced challenges during the preseason as the Magicians catch up to the learning curve that comes with learning a new system. But that hasn’t stopped the Magicians from improving on a daily basis.
New Magicians coach Marisa Maccario takes over an experienced Marblehead group and likes what she has seen thus far.
“We’ve had a week of practice and two scrimmages so far,” Maccario, a Marblehead, said. “Everything’s going really well. I think at the beginning it was an adjustment for the girls and myself. I have a whole new coaching staff adding in a new system so we were catching up to the learning curve.
“So far it’s been pretty good,” Maccario continued. “Each time we get on the ice I feel more impressed by their willingness to learn and their abilities to pick things up quickly.”
Marblehead’s captains this season are seniors Sydney Cresta (forward) and Caroline Kinne (defenseman). Senior goalie Grace Bertagna gives the Magicians an experienced netminder.
Also returning are defenseman Juliette Piersol and Abby Kalinowski and forwards Cate Delaney and Mia Salah. Amy Vytopilova, a seventh-grader, will also play a key role.
“I think we have a great group of girls, especially this core,” Maccario said. “It kind of builds our foundation up. I rely on them heavily right now. It’s cool to see how they explain things to the underclassmen. I think our captains are amazing leaders. They’ll bring this team up. They were very young when they started. I think Sydney was on this team as a sixth-grader. She’s been here for a while. She’s been very open with myself and the coaching staff so that’s good.”
Maccario feels as the team rounds itself into shape, the Magicians will begin to identify their strengths. She hopes they’ll be the better conditioned team each game.
“Right now we have three lines and three sets of defense,” Maccario said. “I think the biggest thing we need to work on is being the best conditioned team. That and our leadership is also huge. If we can continue that and we can continue our willingness to learn, I think our strengths will build and we’ll continue to improve every time we step on ice.”
Marblehead scrimmaged with Woburn and Scituate. Woburn gave the Magicians trouble but they bounced back with a much-improved effort against Scituate.
“So far, so good,” Maccario said. “I’m really excited for the season to start Saturday. We had scrimmages against Woburn and Scituate. I told them it was a like a totally different team showed up against Scituate. That was impressive because we played them the next day (after Woburn). I think the nerves were out.”
The Magicians opens the season Saturday afternoon (4:30) against Peabody at Salem State’s Richard H. Rockett Arena.
“They’re excited,” Maccario said. “They show up multiple times willing to learn and that’s huge. Not many teams would want as many coaching changes as they’ve had. They’re willing to move forward and pick up where they left off last year. The best part of the game is getting out there and competing.”