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Nov. 12, 2018 — Is it time to rethink back-to-back?

Several U.S. states, such as New York, Virginia, and Ohio schedule their state semifinal and championship field hockey games on back-to-back days.

Heck, at one time, the Virginia High School League tournament was the toughest of all field hockey state tournaments because the games were scheduled on three consecutive days.

I saw up close the effects of back-to-back games over the weekend. And I’m not so sure that the scheduling of these matches are a benefit to the student-athletes who participate in them.

Glen Allen Deep Run (Va.) took 77 minutes, rather than the usual 60, to defeat Stafford Mountain View (Va.) in the Class 5A semifinal match. The team had less than 24 hours to rest for the championship game against Gloucester (Va.), wherupon the Wildcats had to play 80 minutes. In total, that’s 157 minutes — nearly 2 1/2 full games — in a shade over 26 hours.

By the same token, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) was taken to overtime in the Class 6A semifinals against Fairfax (Va.) and double-overtime in the final against Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.).

Now, it’s not as though the extra time wound up being a competitive disadvantage; Cox won the 6A title; Deep Run lost its final in 5A.

And it’s not as though the highly-skilled and well-trained field hockey players of today are in any way weak or infirm.

But given the competitiveness of the game in this era, any small advantage in rest is multiplied in the postseason. I think it’s why the NCAA went away from back-to-back games in Division I a couple of decades ago, and now have a Friday/Sunday schedule for regional and national finals.

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BULLETIN: Nov. 11, 2018 — One of the longest unbeaten streaks has come to an end

In the New York Class B state final played today at Williamsville (N.Y.) North, Garden City (N.Y.) upended Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) by a 1-0 score in a game featuring two of the state’s finest all-time coaches, Diane Chapman and Sharon Sarsen.

The loss by Lakeland, the No. 2 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, not only ends its hunt for a 10th consecutive state championship, but it also halts the Hornets’ unbeaten streak at 137 matches. It now stands as the fourth-longest unbeaten string of all time, trailing only Watertown (Mass.) and two streaks by Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), a team which won its 20th straight state title yesterday.

Nov. 11, 2018 — The Final Third, quarterfinal edition

Please join us on Facebook Live this afternoon for The Final Third, our live wraparound coverage of the NCAA Division I field hockey quarterfinals, beginning around 1 p.m. Eastern time. We’ll have context, perspective, and a few things you may not know about these four very different matchups.

Nov. 10, 2018 — Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 1, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 0, 2 OT

POSTGAME Thank you for joining us today on this remarkable journey: four one-goal games and unforgettable heroes and stories for generations to come. Good day and good hockey

PREGAME In the final analysis, the difference was Sarah Levine. She made the necessary plays on the offensive and defensive ends the field and will join many of the greats of Cox field hockey such as Leah Crouse, Taylor Rhea, Kaitlyn Hiltz, and Kim Miller

86:24 FWC GOAL Like a bolt of lightning, a diagonal pass From Zoe Campisi hits Kylie Levine at the left post and she scores! What a game! Cox wins 1-0 and obtains its 20th state title!

84:44 Timeout for an injury

82:30 FWC PC Wally corner fizzes out

81:10 FWC PC Re-rack for a foot

80:10 FWC PC Re-rack for a push

76:45 FC PC Bonniwell is defensed

76:10 FC PC Option left yields A rebound; we will rerack

75:00 The second OT starts with Cox down a player

END 1ST OT A chippy overtime ends with the sides still goalless

74:40 Yellow card, Cox; the umpires are giving out cards like speeding tickets at the Indy 500

72:09 FC PC Evelyn Murray cannot beat the flyer; what a development that would have been!

69:30 FWC PC Shot is cleared

69:24 Yellow card, FC, meaning Cox is now playing 6-on-4 in the field

69:15 FWC PC Receiver is chopped down at the top of the circle

68:38 Yellow card, FC

67:20 FC PC Heroic save off the line by Kylie Levine

66:59 FC PC Two shots generated; Taylor Schoolar says no

63:39 Cox is buzzing in the circle; a cross almost finds an open Sarah Spear

60:00 Cox bombs forward off the center hit and forces a critical save!

FULL TIME How crucial might that late yellow card be? Cox will start overtime with a player advantage

FULL TIME The horn sounds with the score 0-0

59:52 Yellow card, FC

54:15 FWC PC The Wally corner goes to Bonniwell, and her shot slides inches wide

52:00 After wrong-footing the goalie,Cox is able to get a shot to the cage that just misses

50:51 Yellow card, FC

49:45 FC PC Hi-lo does not connect

45:58 Yellow card, Cox

44:15 A player down, Cox is able to uncork a chance that goes inches wide!

43:38 Green card, Cox

40:00 Twenty minutes to go for the state final; what will produce the winning effort here?

32:18 Green card, FC for the barge

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME The hockey was quick and artful, but did not produce a telling goal. What will the team talks yield in the second half?

HALFTIME The horn sounds with the sides goalless

25:00 Very free-flowing game thus far, but no goals to show for it

23:30 FWC PC Samantha Zwyna’s backhander is saved

21:40 FWC PC Patriots sniff out the three-way passing play

15:55 FWC PC Brooklyn insert, low shot into the pads; rebound steered wide!

14:26 Did the ball hit the tire on the outside of the cage instead of the post? If so, I’m not so sure the carom would have found Burnett where she was standing

14:26 FC PC A rebound off the post of a Bonniwell shot is put in by Allie Burnett, but it is waved off

7:26 Green card, FC for a hard stick obstruction

2:30 FC PC Reagan Bonniwell’s backhander is saved

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME First Colonial are in the yellow uniforms with light blue numbers and black sleeves; Cox is in the white tos with green numbers and kilts

PREGAME The teams are warming up under clear skies and some breezes, temperature around 42 degrees

PREGAME Cox is the standard by which all other teams in the Commonwealth are measured, with athleticism, precision, defense, and speed. The school has 19 state championships, amongst the most of all time. The thing is, the Falcons were throttled to within an inch of their lives yesterday by a determined Fairfax team. Can Cox come back after all that to compete against their neighborhood rival, located just two miles away?

PREGAME First Colonial are the relative newcomers to championship hockey in Virginia Beach. The team has three titles to its credit and have made the state final eight years in a row. A lot of it is because of the determination and will from head coach Laura “Beanie” Schleicher, who has continued getting her teams to play a championship level of hockey even after the graduation of her daughter Haley, who had an unprecedented career, recording 200 goals and 201 assists

PREGAME Cox is 19-1 on the season, FC is 19-2. The teams have split two games against each other this season; as has been the case for much of the 2010s, they are the immovable object vs. the irresistible force, and form, I think the best field hockey rivalry in the United States

PREGAME Welcome back to South County, where the 6A championship game is about to begin between the First Colonial Patriots and the Cox Falcons

Nov. 10, 2018 — Gloucester (Va.) 2, Glen Allen Deep Run (Va.) 1, 2 OT

FULL TIME Deep Run played an extraordinary contest and should be lauded for logging almost three full games’ worth of play in about 27 hours

80:09 GHS PC and GOAL After an option left, H.P. Johnson flips it past three sticks and scores! What a game! Gloucester wins 2-1

7:00 GHS PC Option-left is blocked!

75:40 Gloucester gets a chance and flips it wide

75:00 We start double overtime

END 1ST OT We switch ends with the score tied 1-1. Remember: Deep Run has to go double-overtime yesterday

73:20 Deep Run with a green card for an elbow; an enormous call to give Gloucester a player advantage

70:30 Deep Run with a turnover from their free out, and Gloucester with numbers! Ends with an unlucky foot

66:00 Good bit of skill puts Gloucester on goal, but the ball dribbles wide

60:00 And we’re on with extra time

FULL TIME We’ll play up to two 15-minutes of 7-on-7, next goal wins

FULL TIME We are tied 1-1 and headed to overtime!

58:45 DRHS PC Two long shots defensed!

54:10 GHS PC Low insert back to the inserter leads to a shot wide””!

53:45 GHS PC Foot on Deep Run; will rerack

53:00 GHS Option right and a return pass ends with a hard tackle at the top of the circle; no breakdown foul? Will rerack

51:34 Timeout, Deep Run

50:00 GHS PC Shot misses again; the Dukes can’t afford to waste these chances

48:40 GHS PC Shot goes wide!

46:50 GHS PC Option left is saved with a juicy rebound, but nobody home

45:00 DRHS PC Deep Run thinks it has the lead but a backhand shot is ruled out for danger. It appeared to be the second shot on the corner but I did not have the angle to see whether that first attempt on goals was from outside the line

33:00 DRHS GOAL A turnover right in the goalmouth leads to the easiest tip-in Maddie Ewald May ever get; game tied 1-1

HALFTIME Gloucester has had the better of the proceedings and are making Deep Run chase the game

HALFTIME The horn sounds with Gloucester holding a 1-0 lead

28:30 A neat passing play leads to an open shot at the doorstep, but the ball is high and wide

27:30 GHS PC An Option left leads to an unlucky foot

24:54 GHS PC and GOAL Long shot from Ainsley Miller tipped in from the unmarked inserter Talley Vaughn and the Dukes take a 1-0 lead

24:08 Timeout, Deep Run

21:30 DRHS PC Shot goes wide right, again

19:00 A stack of bodies in the Deep Run goalmouth; how did that not go in for Gloucester?

16:00 DRHS PC 1-up is well wide

13:40 GHS PC Long shot tipped wide!

12:15 GHS PC A three-way pass play fizzles

11:00 GHS PC Shot hits the side of the cage

9:30 GHS PC Hi-lo the right is sniffed out

8:00 GHS PC Shot is blocked

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Deep Run is in the royal blue uniforms with white numbers, Gloucester is in the white tops with red numbers and kilts

PREGAME The teams are warming up under a cold breeze with temperatures around 45

PREGAME  And one of those times was because of Gloucester, who beat Deep Run for the 2015 title in 5A thanks to senior Cassidy Goodwin, now at William & Mary. The Dukes have conceded a grand total of four goals this year, scoring 158

PREGAME Deep Run is a relatively new school, having graduated its first class in 2005. The school is undefeated against public schools this season, having only lost to Richmond St. Catherine’s (Va.) and Richmond Collegiate (Va.). The Wildcats have made two VHSL championship games in field hockey, but have yet to win

PREGAME Gloucester is 21-0 this season, Deep Run is 18-2

PREGAME Back now at South County, where we’re preparing for the Class 5A game between the Gloucester Dukes and the Deep Run Wildcats

Nov. 10, 2018 — Fredericksburg Chancellor (Va.) 2, Culpeper Eastern View (Va.) 1

POSTGAME Back in a few minutes for the 5A matchup

POSTGAME Eastern View did mount a comeback, however, and never let Chancellor feel entirely comfortable

POSTGAME Chancellor was masterful on corners today, creating space and creating problems for the Eastern View defense

FULL TIME That’s game, with Chancellor winning 2-1 for their sixth state championship

59:10 Green Card, Chancellor

58:20 Timeout, Chancellor. This is Jim Larkin refocusing the team for the last two minutes

54:00 CHS PC Shot tipped wide!

53:00 EVHS PC and GOAL Option left finds Emma Welbourne, who makes no mistake; Chancellor still leads 2-1

52:00 EVHS PC Blocked by Brittany Anderson

47:21 The wind has stiffened considerably in the last few minutes

47:21 Timeout, Eastern View

46:47 EVHS Yellow for an elbow

44:30 CHS PC Shot tipped wide; long hit the result

44:00 CHS PC Backhander blocked down;’will rerack

43:09 CHS PC Nice tackle spirits the ball away!

41:08 CHS PC and GOAL Kaitlin Bestick with the tip in the far post! Chargers lead 2-0

39:59 CHS PC 1-up goes wide

37:00 EVHS PC Kylee Tuebner with the tackle and clear!

32:00 Eastern View saunters into the attack end with a 3-on-2, but the final pass is wanting

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Eastern View has looked dangerous in the final third, but the Chancellor defense has been good thus far

HALFTIME Aside from a few minutes around the quarter-hour, this was Chancellor’s half

HALFTIME The horn sounds with the Chargers holding a 1-0 lead

28:30 CHS PC Option-right leads to a save; Ball deflected over the end line for a long hit

25:00 CHS PC Dragflick goes wide!

23:00 CHS PC Newman’s shot finds net, but it was the first shot on the corner; no goal

20:13 CHS PC and GOAL Bethany Newton picks up the rebound from a secondary shot and puts it in! Chargers lead 1-0

18:11 Timeout, Chancellor

18:00 Eastern View picking up the pace here after a slow start

15:00 EV PC Ball deflected over the end line for a long hit

1:40 CHS PC 1-up is a swing and a miss

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Chancellor is in the white with black kilts; Eastern View in the powder-blue uniforms with navy socks and navy undershirts

PREGAME The teams are warming up under sun, temperatures around 45 degrees

PREGAME Chancellor is no stranger to the state title game, having participated in seven during its  history. In fact, the Chargers’ run to the championship in 2013 helped earn head coach Jim Larkin the United States Coach of the Year award that season

PREGAME Eastern View High School is only in its 11th year, and, for the second year in a row, has gained itself a berth in the title match. It lost last year’s title to Chesapeake Great Bridge (Va.) by a 3-0 scoreline

PREGAME Chancellor is 14-4 this season, Eastern View is 18-2. The Cyclones lead the season series 2-1. Two of the three games went to extra time

PREGAME Back now at South County with the Class 4A final between the Eastern View Cyclones and the Chancellor Chargers

Nov. 10, 2018 — Fredericksburg James Monroe (Va.) 1, Poquoson (Va.) 0

POSTGAME Back in a few minutes with the 4A title match

POSTGAME Also give credit to Caroline Wack, who made the play on the defensive end of the pitch to make the difference

POSTGAME Credit James Monroe for sticking to the matchup and tactics that were working, funneling its attack at the right-inner channel and making good scoring chances from there

FULL TIME The horn sounds and the James Monroe Yellow Jackets are again tops in 3A!

59:30 JMHS PC Open backhander goes wide!

58:10 PHS GREEN The Islanders will play one short because of the bad tackle; not what you want in this situation

58:00 PHS PC Bad insert is turned over and cleared

57:30 PHS PC Poquoson buzzing in the goal moutt but Caroline Wack makes a couple of clears to keep the Islanders off the board!

53:00 PHS PC Ends on a raised ball

50:29 Timeout, Poquoson

45;04 JMHS GOAL Sarah Marchosky finds that open spot on the right inner channel and buries it! Monroe leads 1-0

43:00 JMHS PC Shot is blocked

39:30 PHS PC Shof duffed; rebound cleared!

34:45 Hall with a chance on the backhand but the shot is saved!

31:40 Poquoson’s possession leads to an open chance in the goalmouth but the ball is fumbled

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Chances at a premium in this championship final; can Monroe figure a way to get the ball in the cage, or will Poquoson make the Jackets rue their missed opportunities?

HALFTIME The horn sounds with the sides level at 0-0

26:00 Hall attacks the space on the right wing and finds the goalie’s pads

22:40 PHS PC Same play leads to a diagonal that goes across a yawning goalmouth but nobody home

22:00 PHS PC Four-way pass play is sniffed out; will rerack

15:24 Timeout, Poquoson

15:22 Winny Hall beats a defender and has a clear lane to goal, but hits the outside of the cage!

14:00 JMHS PC Option-right defensed and cleared

10:00 Poquoson buzzing around the Monroe cage;!seemingly won a corner, but the trail umpire confers and the call is overturned; Jackets’ Ball

2:30 JMHS PC Hi-Lo to the left post fails to connect

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME James Monroe is in the black with orange numbers, Poquoson is in white tops and maroon kilts

PREGAME The teams are warming up on as best they can under bright and windy skies, temperatures around 42 degrees

PREGAME On the other hand, Poquoson hadn’t ever made the eight-team state tournament until two years ago and has had a magical run through the bracket, winning yesterday’s semifinal 2-0 over Tabb

PREGAME James Monroe competed for the state championship before, having made the title game on six separate occasions, but winning only once, last year’s overtime game against Yorktown Tabb (Va.)

PREGAME Poquoson, champions of Region 3A, is 18-2 on the season. James Monroe, champions of Region 3B, is 19-2

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Lorton South County (Va.) for today’s championship field hockey quadrupleheader. First, we have the Class 3A final between the Poquoson Islanders and the James Monroe Yellow Jackets