South Jersey High School
Coach Danyle Heilig Notches Her 500th
Career Victory in Just 21 Seasons! (And
Her Loss Total is Only 14 . . . )
This page includes three stories, all-star
lists, records, championship breakdown and results/scores
for Coach Heilig's 20 seasons at Eastern Regional in Voorhees, NJ (She also coached for one season,
1998, at Haddon Heights.). . . . To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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On Nov. 1, 2018, Eastern Regional High, which draws its students from Voorhees, Berlin and Gibbsboro, in South Jersey, defeated visiting Kingsway, 8-0, to win a 20th consecutive South Jersey Group 4 championship and give coach Danyle Heilig for 500th career win -- 486 in 20 seasons at Eastern, 14 in one at Haddon Heights. The story is here . . .
VOORHEES – Danyle Heilig never passes up an opportunity for a coaching
SEASON BY SEASON
SJ Group 4
NJ Group 4
This story was written in 2003 when the Vikings claimed a national record . . .
|By Sam Carchidi
Over the years, there have been numerous South Jersey athletes who have reached the national spotlight.
Olympic hero Carl Lewis, the pride of Willingboro High, heads the list. Rancocas Valley's Franco Harris, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, also would be high on the list. Ditto Orel Hershiser (Cherry Hill East), who may one day reach baseball's Hall of Fame, and Heisman Trophy winners Mike Rozier (Woodrow Wilson) and Ron Dayne (Overbrook).
By their individual accomplishments, those athletes - and dozens of others - brought fame to their high schools on a national level.
As the sun set yesterday, there was a group of Eastern athletes who stood on a national stage.
That's what made the Vikings' record-setting 2-0 field hockey win at Cherokee so special, so memorable. It was a team, not an individual, that was celebrating.
This was a win for the Eastern teams, past and present. This was a win that was celebrated in Marlton - site of yesterday's victory - and in campuses all around the country, where former Eastern players - the ones who started the team's amazing unbeaten streak - took cell-phone calls spreading the joy.
Eastern had set a national record by running its unbeaten streak to 107 games - 105-0-2 with 84 shutouts - with yesterday's hard-earned win over a Cherokee team that brought its 'A' game.
To put Eastern's national record in perspective, consider this: Paulsboro's 63-game football winning streak used to be considered the most famous streak in South Jersey history. Yet, Paulsboro's streak doesn't come close to the national football record - 145 and counting - by a California team.
"The buildup to this was just unbelievable," said relieved Eastern coach Danyle Heilig as tears of joy streaked down her face. "I'm so glad it's over because now they can just play and enjoy themselves."
Food for thought: The last time Eastern lost a game, back in 1998, Bill Clinton was in the White House and in the middle of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bobby Hoying was the Eagles' starting quarterback, and 16-year-old Britney Spears' claim to fame was that she had been a member of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Before yesterday's contest, Cherokee coach Sharon Tinucci said her team had to play a "perfect game" if it was going to upset Eastern. Well, the Chiefs weren't perfect, but they were scrappy and they did push Eastern to the limit.
"I was worried because I knew we'd have a lot of nerves today," said Heilig, whose teams, incredibly, have trailed in just three games during the 107-game unbeaten streak. "And give Cherokee credit. They played hard and gave us a very tough game. "
Eastern dominated the action. If this was ice hockey, the Vikings would have looked as if they had a game-long power play as they kept the ball buzzing around the Cherokee net. Only an outstanding performance by Cherokee goalie Chantelle McCormick, a senior who made nine saves, some of the acrobatic variety, kept the game from being a blowout.
Eastern finished with 19 corners, while Cherokee had none. That reflects the type of swarming attack the Vikings threw at McCormick, who had all the answers until junior Missy Walls lifted a penalty stroke over McCormick's left shoulder with 25 minutes, 53 seconds left in the second half.
Walls is a triplet and, along with sisters Lauren and Ashley, played a leading role in the win. With 3:28 left in the game, Ashley Walls fed a pass to her cousin, sophomore Meghan Bain, whose 8-yard shot locked up the historic win.
When the final seconds ticked away, Eastern's joy-struck players jumped atop senior goalie Caitlin Gregory and formed a massive pileup in front of the goal. This was their moment. This was their legacy. After a five-year climb, they had finally reached the top of the mountain.
"I've never seen anything like it in the 22 years I've been involved in athletics," Eastern athletic director Jim Talarico said. "The work and the commitment these girls put in is something special. And people forget that these are 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kids, and they've been under so much pressure the last year. "
Pressure to keep the streak alive and put their school in the national record book.
They seemed immune to the pressure. Despite playing one of the state's most demanding schedules, they kept the streak alive and seemed to thrive on the pressure.
"We not only did this for us, but we did it for all the past players," Missy Walls said. "A lot of them called and wished us good luck yesterday. The players from the past brought us up to this point, and we had to carry it through. "
"We did this for Lori Hillman and Shaun Banta and Rachel Dawson and Amanda McGuckin and all the players who came before us," Bain said. "We did it for them because they're the ones who inspired us. "
Well, Heilig also did a little inspiring of her own.
Known as a disciplinarian who runs tough practices, Heilig could be heard barking out orders as she sucked on a lollipop during yesterday's action.
"Some people think she's too hard on us, but that helps us get through things," Missy Walls said. "She has a very intense way about her, but that just pushes us. "
With shrieks of joy echoing and a few hundred fans applauding, the demanding coach and all her players carried victory flowers and shared hugs and kisses as they celebrated the win. Relatives snapped dozens of photos, and no one - not the players, not the coaches, not the family members or friends - seemed to want to leave Cherokee's soggy field.
You couldn't blame them.
This story was written in 2006 when the
Vikings captured the
crown in NJ's first field hockey Tournament of Champions . . .
|By Bill Iezzi
In a perfect display of poise and patience yesterday at the College of New Jersey, Eastern's Meghan Dawson and Stephanie Carney combined to score the goal that defeated West Essex, 2-1, for the title in the NJSIAA field hockey Tournament of Champions.
Right in front of West Essex goalkeeper Noell Gomez, Dawson calmly pushed the ball from left to right and Carney slapped it in with 6 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in the first half, giving Eastern a 2-0 lead. The play followed up a corner shot, one of nine the Vikings had in the first half.
Carney also scored about four minutes earlier on an assist from freshman forward Kelsey Mitchell in the face of intense pressure by West Essex.
The Knights scored in the second half on a goal by junior forward Giovanna Monaco, but it wasn't enough.
"Poise and patience is representative of our team, but it's even more representative of Stephanie Carney," Eastern coach Danyle Heilig said. "She is a very poised player, not flashy, with a great stick and is somebody who stays in control no matter the situation.
"One of her goals today was to score off that corner, so when it went to her and she scored I know that she felt good. "
Even though both teams were undefeated entering the game and both have reputations for miserly defenses, it was fitting that Eastern, ranked No. 1 by The Inquirer, and seeded first in the tournament, won the first Tournament of Champions. The Vikings had the best record in the state at 24-0 when they won their eighth consecutive state Group 4 title on Nov. 12, and they maintained it in both rounds of this tournament to finish 26-0.
Happy to end their scholastic field hockey careers as part of the first team to win the trophy, seniors Carney, a midfielder, and Dawson, a defender, were just as poised and patient in recounting their goal as they were in scoring it.
"We've worked on that [play] for so long and it was finally coming together, and we knew that it was going to work," Dawson said. "I knew that all I had to do was to give her a good pass and that it would be in. "
Carney added: "You have to be patient, you have to be relaxed but intense at the same time. [Dawson] is a very good defender and she did that really well. "
They did it very well against team with a rich tradition of 15 state titles. For the first 15 minutes of play, the Knights (22-1) took it to Eastern, pushing the Vikings back on their heels.
"One of our goals was to set the tone immediately, and I felt like we felt them out for the first 15 minutes and kind of got a feel for what they were doing," Heilig said. "That's not what I wanted to do, because I think that they're dangerous. We gave them too many opportunities in the first 15 [minutes] and we tried to say, 'OK you know 'em now, let's play. Lets set the tone. ' And I think we did. "
West Essex coach Jill Cosse said that she told her players at intermission to continue working hard because they were getting their opportunities to score but were not capitalizing. The Knights outshot Eastern, 7-4. Eastern's team defense was the difference.
Results of Eastern's Playoffs Through Coach Heilig's 500th Win . . .