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Dec. 16, 2014 — Games of the Year, 2014

The 2014 field hockey season wasn’t just about numbers, but it was about the passion displayed on the pitch, the skills of the players, and the tactical moves of the coaches. Some great matches were played during the 2014 scholastic season, and here is a selection of the top 15:

15. Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) 2, Mountain Top Crestwood (Pa.) 1
Nov. 15, 2014

PIAA Class AA final
This was a rematch of the Class AA championship final from two years ago, but in the interim, both teams replaced legends in the coaching box. For Villa Maria, Daan Polders came over from Denver Colorado Academy (Colo.) to take over from the retired Maurene Polley, while Crestwood assistant coach Patsy Moratori stepped into the role held by Elvetta Gemski. But it was the progeny of another coaching legend who helped make the difference for Villa Maria. Megan Vermeil, granddaughter of Super Bowl-winning NFL coach Dick Vermeil, leveled the score 1-1 in the second half, setting the stage for Abby Siana’s game-winning corner goal in the 58th minute.

14. Wellesley (Mass.) 0, Walpole (Mass.) 0, Wellesley wins 4-2 in penalty strokes
Nov. 1, 2013
MIAA Division 1 South octofinal
Denise Katskiaris was credited with 25 saves for Wellesley in defeating the Porkers for the first time since 1993. It was a stunning first-round loss for Walpole, which was expected to be the main challenger to Acton-Boxborough for Division I honors.

13. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.) 3, Gaithersburg Quince Orchard (Md.) 2
Nov. 5, 2013
MPSSAA Class 4A semifinal
These have been two of the better teams the last decade and a half in the state of Maryland — not only in terms of winning titles, but in sending players to the next level. The difference in this match was Madison Shaffer’s penalty corner goal with 21.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

12. Dedham (Mass.) 1, Apponequet (Mass.) 0
Nov. 3, 2014
MIAA Division 2 South semifinal
Sam Girard’s goal in the 37th minute may have been the margin of victory, but the Maurauders’ defense in the final three minutes won the game. Delaney Brandon saved a sure goal with a raised stick, earning her a two-minute green card, then, still playing short, absorbed the pressure of the top seed in Division 2 South. Apponequet earned a corner with half a minute to go. The corner was cleared, but Dedham was judged to have sent the ball deliberately over the end line, handing their opponents an untimed corner at the end of regulation. Dedham, somehow, survived all the slings and arrows to advance to the final.

11. Wilmington Tower Hill (Del.) 4, Wilmington Conrad (Del.) 3, 3 OT
Nov. 8, 2014
DIAA quarterfinals
Conrad, one of the few magnet schools playing varsity field hockey in the U.S., had a 3-1 lead in the second half before Tower Hill came back with an Alexandra Butler goal with 22 seconds remaining in regulation to level the match. This allowed the Hillers’ Sawyer Chilton the opportunity to win the game with her goal in the 86th minute.

10. Fallston (Md.) 2, Pocomoke (Md.) 1, OT
Nov. 3, 2014
MPSSAA Class 1A semifinals
This was a matchup of a pair of highly successful coaches as Fallston’s Alice Puckett and Pocomoke’s Susan Pusey were on the touchlines for this state semifinal that was worthy of a final. Both teams had their chances in overtime; Pocomoke had an early flurry of corners, but Liz Hebert of Fallston converted her penalty corner chance to send Fallston to the 1A final.

9. Winnetka New Trier (Ill.) 2, Lake Forest (Ill.) 1, 2 OT
Nov. 1, 2014
IHSFHA final

Lake Forest had a number of good results in their in-season tournaments, and had every design on winning the Illinois state championship. But it was New Trier’s Kitty Kenyon who scored in the final 15 seconds of overtime for the Trevians as they defeated their rivals.

8. Washington Warren Hills (N.J.) 5, Ocean City (N.J.) 4, OT
Nov. 15, 2014
NJSIAA Group 3 final
Ocean City is one of the great “finishing” teams in state championship play anywhere, as once the Raiders made it to the grand stage of the state final, they were 9-0 in their last nine chances. Warren Hills, on the other hand, was 0-9 in state final play. But Amanda Crampton didn’t care about past history and decided to create a new history for the Blue Streaks. Her flick in the 66th minute sent her team and the assembled crowd at Bordentown (N.J.) Regional into a frenzy.

7. Scarborough (Maine) 1, Skowhegan (Maine) 0
Nov. 1, 2014
MPA Class A final
Scarborough, the last team to have defeated Skowhegan in a state final match, did it in dramatic fashion in 2014. With the clock ticking down in regulation time, a penalty corner was called for Scarborough. The initial shot by Maddy Dobecki was sent into a maze of players. The ball popped into the air, and Kristen Murray picked off the rebound and sent it into the cage. There were just 2.1 seconds remaining on the game clock.

6. Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 3, Rye (N.Y.) 2, 2 OT
Nov. 6, 2014
NYSPHSAA Class A Section 1 final

As much as the Hornets’ fortunes revolved around attacking midfielder Dana Bozek during the 2014 season, it was right wing Brianna Muniz who saved Lakeland’s season with her brace. She scored in the 55th minute to tie and in the 78th to win the match.

5. Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 1, Oley (Pa.) Valley 1, Donegal wins 4-3 in penalty strokes
Nov. 8, 2014
PIAA District 3 Class AA final
A thrilling, close-knit competition didn’t have any goals in open play, but there was no lack of drama. The teams traded last-minute penalty strokes in each half, the latter with under three seconds left in regulation to level the scoreline to go into extra time. With matters not settled in 7-on-7 play, it was up to Katie Jean, the Donegal freshman goalie, to make a stop in the fifth and final round of the post-overtime tiebreaker.

4. Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 3, Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) 2
Nov. 15, 2014
PAISAA final
Episcopal Academy took 4-1 and 4-0 wins against its main InterAc rivals in their league fixtures this year. The championship final of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament, however, was a different matter. Notre Dame was on the front foot for most of the match, taking a 2-0 lead deep into regulation. But Episcopal, showing championship mettle, scored three goals in the final 11 minutes, with Lexi Fischer and Angela Rocca scoring the telling goals in the final two minutes of play.

3. Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 3, Georgetown Sussex Tech (Del.) 2
Nov. 8, 2014
DIAA quarterfinal
It was a matchup of the last two teams to have won the Delaware title match, and it was a game worthy of a final. Sussex Tech had a 2-0 lead on the three-time defending champs, but the Vikings’ Tess Bernheimer capped off a three-goal burst, finishing a breakaway with four seconds left, to save Cape’s season.

2. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 3, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 2
Nov. 21, 2014
NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final

This match was anything but a coronation for an Eastern Vikings team that had won the previous two Tournaments of Champions that were actually played out (the 2012 version was lost to Hurricane Sandy). Oak Knoll matched Eastern for pace and skill, but fell just short at the end. Austyn Cuneo finished her brilliant career with a pair of goals from the penalty spot, which gave her 95 for the season. Caroline Andretta, who will be crossing sticks with Cuneo on Tobacco Road the next four years, scored her 60th goal during the game.

1. Chantilly Westfield (Va.) 5, Herndon (Va.) 4
Oct. 8, 2014
Regular-season game

Herndon had a 4-2 lead heading into the final five minutes of regulation when a ball appeared to have been deflected into the goal cage, but the umpiring crew denied Herndon a fifth goal. Westfield, the defending Class 6A state champions, flew into a magenta-clad frenzy with their breast cancer awareness uniforms. Emily McNamara potted a stroke with about 2 1/2 minutes left, followed by Mackenzie Karl’s backhander in the 59th minute. The game was tied. Westfield then earned an untimed corner at the end of regulation, whereupon Olivia Markert deflected a McNamara pass into the cage. As competitive and well-played this match was, neither team made the state tournament; both fell in their “tipping point” games in the VHSL 6A North semifinals.

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