St. Mary’s High School field hockey coach Victoria Ault was a record-setting basketball star at Drew University and is a certain future Hall of Famer at the New Jersey college. Twice in the same season she hauled down 22 rebounds in a game to establish Landmark Conference records.
It was no small achievement for the 5-foot-9-inch forward who had transitioned to center when the head coach needed a versatile athlete to fortify the Rangers’ frontcourt. The coaches knew the consistent 12 points-a-game scorer would find a way to deliver big in her new assignment, having already seen Ault excel in her role as a team captain during her senior year, one that ended with All-Landmark Conference honors for the former Mater Dei High School two-sport (basketball, field hockey) standout.
After receiving her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Drew and serving as a graduate assistant basketball coach and later teaching in the Newark school district, Ault came to Lynn and accepted teaching and coaching positions at St. Mary’s High School.
Ault, 30, has served as an assistant coach for Head Coach Jeff Newhall’s girls basketball team that reached the state finals in 2019 and won the 2020 state title in March.
Having experienced the success of the Spartans’ tradition-rich girls basketball program, Ault is now ready to establish her own coaching record as the leader of the Spartans’ new field hockey program.
Starting a New Varsity Team
After having a delayed start of the pre-season due to the coronavirus, Ault and assistant field hockey coach Farrah Parent conducted tryout sessions over the weekend at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody. Twenty-three girls attended the workouts and there was excitement in the air as the team began preparations for its historic, first-ever varsity game.
Last year while coaching a club program, Ault led the Spartans to a 6-5-1 record against junior varsity opponents. Now she begins her new year at the varsity level.
“It’s super exciting and I’m very happy with the turnout,” said Ault. “We’ve kept all 23 athletes for our mainly varsity games and a few JV games.”
Last year’s leading scorer, Pejae Parent (daughter of assistant coach Farrah Parent, Achan Wol, and Shannon Lovett received the honor of being elected the team’s first-ever field hockey varsity captains.
“I’m very optimistic about the season,” said Ault. “I told the girls after practice that they should be very proud of themselves because on Day 3 of practices this year we look way better than we did Day 3 of last year. They’re really coming together as team.”
Ault said the seniors – Pejae Parent, Janella Diowo, Achan Wol, Shannon Lovett, Makayla McGrath, Gina Palermo, and Ann Romelus – are all outstanding leaders. Romelus will be the starting goaltender.
“Our seniors are doing a great job leading the way, so it’s a promising season ahead of us,” said Ault. “The competition is going to be tougher than last year but I’m excited. We have a lot of skill, a lot of talent and great leadership.”
Asked about the challenge of launching a new program, Ault said, “I was definitely a little nervous, but the excitement outweighs the nerves. The girls are focused. They’re ready. Starting a program, especially at St. Mary’s with the winning culture, we have high expectations to live up to, but I definitely think our girls are going to rise to the occasion.”
In addition to the talented senior cast, the Spartans will also look to returning sophomores Gianna Korisianos and Jody Kirby, who bring playing experience and offensive firepower to the team. Yirsy Queliz, a dynamic guard for the state championship basketball team, will also bring her speed and athletic talent into the new program.
St. Mary’s will play its first game against Catholic Central League new entry Bishop Feehan High School. Though the St. Mary’s club team was undefeated at Manning Field last year, all Spartan games will be on the road this fall due to Lynn being in the COVID-19 higher-risk zone.
Reflecting on her Athletic Exploits
Let’s just say Victoria Ault was very humble in discussing her brilliant high school and collegiate career.
Ault was a two-sport All-Conference athlete and so- at Mater Dei High school in New Jersey. She was the basketball conference’s defensive player of the year and the field hockey MVP and record-breaking scorer. She chose basketball over field hockey at college.
“My college coach at the time didn’t really want me to play two sports,” said Ault.
She became a four-year starter for the Drew University Rangers, becoming a consistent double-double (points and rebounds) producer. Her single-game rebounding records still stand in the Landmark Conference.
“I was one of the shortest post-players in the conference,” she recalled. “I came into the program as a small forward but my senior year I was the tallest player on the team and the coach said, ‘we need you in the middle.’ “I said, ‘whatever you need.’’’
Ault received her undergraduate degree in Business and her master’s degree in Education from Drew University.
Arrival at St. Mary’s High School
Ault moved to the Boston area in 2018 and continued her career at St. Mary’s.
“Mr. Ridley and Mr. Newhall, whom I had known from the basketball circuit, were instrumental in getting me a job at St. Mary’s and the rest has been history,” said Newhall. Ault teaches U.S. History and Geography.
“I love teaching at St. Mary’s. The administration is great. The staff is great and the kids are even better,” said Ault.
On the basketball sidelines at St. Mary’s, she’s been to the Boston Garden twice, including last year’s state championship-clinching victory.
“I’ve learned so much about coaching from Mr. Newhall,” said Ault. “He really does a great job with the kids. He’s taught time management skills when it comes to coaching and teaching and how to oversee a program and handle a variety of situations. He does so much for the school and the MIAA. I will try to model my coaching after him. He’s been a great role model as a head coach, for sure.”
Jeff Newhall, athletic director at St. Mary’s, has been impressed by Ault’s coaching abilities and feels she’s a great addition to the athletic program.
“We’re very fortunate to have Coach Ault contributing to the success of our athletic program in two sports,” said Newhall. “Ms. Ault is an excellent role model for all the students at St. Mary’s with her very impressive background in sports and academics. I know our new field hockey program will continue to grow and prosper under her capable mentorship.”
Asked whether he was aware of Victoria Ault being a collegiate conference record-holder in rebounds, Newhall replied, “I’ve seen her work constructively with our forwards in practice, but I have a new appreciation for her rebounding and boxing-out skills right now. To set conference and school records as a 5-9 center is a most impressive accomplishment. It also reflects very well on her leadership that she was a captain of her college team.”