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Archive for August 29, 2018

Aug. 29, 2018 — The overarching stories of the 2018 domestic field hockey season

  1. Championship streaks heading towards the ridiculous. People, think of this. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) is going for its 20th consecutive state championship this fall. It not only extends the all-time record, but it’s almost twice as long as the previous record. And think of this: Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) and Watertown (Mass.) are in pursuit of their 10th consecutive state titles in their respective states, which would put them in second. Emmaus (Pa.) will be looking to win its 30th straight District 11 championship, a streak which has encompassed large-school and small-school championship tournament wins. West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.) is looking to win its regular-season divisional title for the 48th season in a row.
  2. Coaching longevity heading towards the ridiculous. This year, three coaches are starting their 50th season or greater in the sport. The coach entering the 50-year club this year is Barb Major of Lawrence Notre Dame (N.J.). Further to the northeast, Kathleen “Cookie” Bromage of Enfield (Conn.) will start her 51st season. And even further to the northeast, Judy Schneider of Hanover (Mass.) will be starting her 53rd season as head coach.
  3. How high can she go? Mount Joy Donegal (Pa) senior Mackenzie Allessie has already become one of the rare members of the 100-goal, 100-assist club for scholastic field hockey, as she ended last year with 227 goals and 108 assists. Given the graduation losses Donegal has suffered since winning a state championship in 2016, it’s difficult to envision her making a run at Austyn Cuneo’s goal-scoring record, but the team should be a contender for Lancaster-Lebanon and state championship honors.
  4. A panoply of 100-goal scorers. Seven players head into the 2018 season with 100 or more varsity goals. After Allessie, second on that list is Sammy Popper, who spent part of last season with the U.S. women’s national indoor team, and still has 137 goals at the start of the season. Third is Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) senior Charlotte de Vries, who has been tearing it up this summer in her play at the National Futures Tournament and the National Club Championship.
  5. The club effect on the scholastic game. Look at almost any field hockey roster between Harrisburg, Pa. and the Philadelphia suburbs, and you will see players who represent either the Xcalibur or the W.C. Eagles field hockey club teams. The skills that these and players from other clubs in the region display are a far sight more advanced than even five years ago, and it’s prompted futurists in the field hockey community to prophesy that a separate layer of competition, similar to U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy, may form.
  6. Determining a winner. As more and more states move away from the penalty-stroke shootout into the FIH’s breakaway shootout, I will be interested to see what happens with its implementation. I guarantee you that there will be at least one protest filed with a state association because the umpires forgot to switch the order of the teams in the second group of five shooters, or a fault of the clock operator, or calling the action to a halt 9/10 of a second early because the countdown clock is in tenths of seconds.