The Berkshire League field hockey race is wide open this season and despite losing a number of players from last season’s playoff squad, the Shepaug varsity field hockey team is looking to be right in the thick of the title chase.

Nonnewaug and Litchfield will be among the contenders and Lewis Mills will likely make some noise as the season goes on but the Spartans expect to be in the mix as well.

“We lost a well seasoned group of seniors which included Berkshire League all stars and all-state players,” said Shepaug coach Jaye Stuart. “The league will be very tough this year and no one should be counted out to take the title. All veteran coaches and some talented players to boot.”

According to coach Stuart, seniors Kaitlin Stumpf and Julia Billings have played solid for the past two years. Also, stepping out of the goalie position into a field slot is senior Grace Harty and returning after a year’s hiatus is senior Emma Fishchetti.

“I'm looking to all four girls to bring their best to the team this season,” Stuart said.

Maria Ortega, a sophomore, will be in the cage for the Spartans this season.

Shepaug opened against a very tough Lewis Mills team on the road and snuck out with a solid 1-0 victory. Stumpf scored with an assist from Billings.

Last season the Spartans went 6-8-1-1 and qualified for the Class S State Tournament as the No. 14 seed. Shepaug lost to No. 3 Immaculate of Danbury, 4-1, in the first round.

Shepaug was back in action on Thursday when it hosted Northwestern and on Friday Wamogo comes in for a visit. The Spartans are at Nonnewaug for a key Berkshire League matchup on Sept. 25.

“Our goal is to get better each day and look to contend in the league and get back to the state tournament,” Stuart said.