Last updated: February 20. 2014 11:38PM - 2593 Views
By John Medeiros jmedeiros@civitasmedia.com

From left, Wyoming Valley West field hockey seniors Danielle Grega, Katie Lipiski and Alex Gonda sit for a photo at their college signing celebration Wednesday in Plymouth. Behind the players are, from left, head coach Linda Fithian, assistant coach John Franzoni and assistant coach Diane Webster.
From left, Wyoming Valley West field hockey seniors Danielle Grega, Katie Lipiski and Alex Gonda sit for a photo at their college signing celebration Wednesday in Plymouth. Behind the players are, from left, head coach Linda Fithian, assistant coach John Franzoni and assistant coach Diane Webster.
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PLYMOUTH — There’s a special bond among field hockey players at Wyoming Valley West.

They are all on the same page, on the field and off.

That’s what made one last group interview for Alex Gonda, Danielle Grega and Katie Lipski just a final special moment together as teammates.

They took turns answering questions, each deferring to another along the way. Right up until they were asked what they would miss about being Spartans.

“Playing together,” the trio answered in unison and without hesitation — looking back to joining forces in seventh grade.

The seniors had their National Letter of Intent signing ceremony Wednesday, capping an adventure that saw three previous ceremonies postponed due to weather.

Moving on to college will be the team’s top scorer, a key defender and “the good luck charm.”

“We have one ritual where we would throw Alex in the trash can,” Grega said of a post-game celebration after home wins. “It was just our thing.”

“It started in the middle of the season,” Lipski added. “All of the other teams would laugh when we did it. It was a clean garbage can, the one behind our bench.”

Gonda hopes to be a good luck charm in other ways in college.

Gonda to Central Michigan

Mount Pleasant, Mich., a place few people in these parts have ever heard of, became the perfect place for Gonda to continue her playing days and her academic endeavors.

“They were the first school that I looked at,” Gonda said of Central Michigan. “I looked at some other places, then went back there and went on a visit. I just fell in love with it when I got there.

“Yeah, it’s a just a line (of businesses) with a whole bunch of grocery stores and such leading to the campus. It’s secluded but not like you think. It’s its own little town.”

Gonda is looking to study sports management or business, both specialties of CMU. She chose the Chippewas over Kent State, Old Dominion and Towson.

She led the WVC in assists as a senior with 14, and has 26 helpers in her last three seasons. Her 12 goals were second-best at Wyoming Valley West, and her 38 points stood tied for eighth in the WVC. And she finished her career with points in each of her last 10 games.


About Central Michigan

Nickname — Chippewas

Conference — Mid-American Conference

2013 record — 7-12, reached MAC final

WVC connections — Dallas goalie Lily Amadio also committed

In the neighborhood — 2013 non-league schedule featured stops at Delaware and Drexel.


Grega to Old Dominion

It’s a familiar place in the field hockey world.

The Hampton Roads area is a key place in the sport, thanks to everything from national youth events to the national team playing there.

Grega will see a friendly face when she attends the familiar place — legendary national power Old Dominion.

“The national indoor tournament was there one year as well,”Grega said of the Norfolk, Va., area. “(Former Spartan) Casey (Dolan) ended up going there and that opened the door a little bit. We’re good friends.”

Delaware, Providence and Ohio State were on Grega’s radar before she chose the Monarchs. She is looking into business as a potential major.

She brings a potent scoring touch to the Big East, having reached double figures in goals in each of her final three seasons. Grega has been the Spartans leading scorer the past two seasons, with seasons of 38 and 51 points (fifth in the WVC in 2013). Her 22 goals as a senior put her fourth in the conference.

Being a goal scorer means finishing, and she did just that. In her final 10 high school games, Grega had 16 goals and nine assists.


About Old Dominion

Nickname — Monarchs

Conference — Big East Conference

2013 record — 13-8, reached NCAA tournament

WVC connections — Casey Dolan, a freshman forward from Wyoming Valley West

In the neighborhood — League slate includes Temple, Villanova and Rutgers.


Lipski to Mansfield

Being the kind of player that makes those around her better, Lipski is the perfect addition for Mansfield.

The Mountaineers are looking for their first winning record since 2007 and Lipski knows a thing or two about winning.

Despite her defensive role with the Spartans, she still posted a goal and two assists. Her ability to make tackles and then start the ball in transition will make her a valuable player in the best Division II league in the country.

“It’s a great school,” Lipski said. “I am close enough to come home on weekends and my parents can come to all of my games.”

Lipski is looking into communications, specifically public relations, and found Mansfield to be the best fit among Slippery Rock, Merrimack and Arcadia.

She summed up the experience of a special day for her and her teammates, a group that made it nine Spartans in two years heading on to college teams.

“This whole day, we’ve been waiting for it,” Lipski said. “It’s special, having our families here. Taking the picture, that makes it official.”


About Mansfield

Nickname — Mountaineers

Conference — Pa. State Athletics Conference

2013 record — 5-13

WVC connections — Kristie Rollman, a senior goalie from Wyoming Valley West; Kayla Grunza, a junior midfielder from Lackawanna Trail; Kate Pfeil, a freshman defender from Honesdale; Lacey Croasdale, a junior midfielder from Lackawanna Trail; Jessi Swingle, a junior defender from Lake-Lehman.

In the neighborhood — League slate includes Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg.

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