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Archive for September 28, 2018

Sept. 28, 2018 — Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) 3, Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 2 (OT)

VILLANOVA, Pa. — One of the nation’s best scholastic field hockey rivalry games has gotten a bit spicier this season. Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) and Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) are Inter-Academies Conference rivals located about two miles from each other along the Main Line west of Philadelphia, and have likely met each other more than 60 times on the hockey pitch since EA started admitting female students into the upper school sometime after 1980.

Yesterdays installment of the rivalry was just as intense as many of the recent matches, with Episcopal taking a 2-1 lead with about 15 minutes remaining, only to see the Irish tie the game on a rebound with under eight minutes to go. Notre Dame would then get an overtime goal Lauren Curran penalty corner to win 3-2.

But this game, and the rivalry, got a bit spicier this year because it was about a month ago when Notre Dame, the three-time defending Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) champion, defeated Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.), the defending Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class AAA champion, by a score of 3-2.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the center of field hockey in America, that is a seismic occurrence.

The result of that game has put a target about the size of a house on Notre Dame, which has kept the momentum going, defeating Class AAA runner-up Downingtown (Pa.) West as well as District 1-AAA runner-up Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.).

“It was bold of us to set up the schedule starting with Penn Manor, but we just wanted to take on the top team, and compete, regardless,” said Adele Williams, who is in her 16th year of coaching the Irish. “The girls stepped up and played well, and have been in good form since.”

But for all of the scrutiny and pressure, there’s another level whenever Notre Dame takes on Episcopal. The dramatic outcome was worthy of a league final, but this could be the first of three times these sides could meet in 2018.

“Today, you saw two teams playing a good level of hockey,” said EA head coach Gina Buggy. “The ball was being used productively throughout the field, and with exciting and threatening moves.”

Inasmuch as the game was an exhibition of good team play, use of space, and smart ball-possession, the two goalkeepers played some outstanding hockey.

Senior Caroline Kelly of Episcopal Academy and sophomore Paige Kieft of Notre Dame are two young women whose excellent reflects the enormous changes in goalkeeping over the years — not just the type of athlete involved, but how they are coached. Specialized goalkeeper coaching used to be a rarity at the scholastic level in the U.S. except for summer camps. And until about 20 years ago, only a handful of U.S. college teams even had goalie coaches.

But Kelly and Kieft have received specialized coaching from the time they picked up the game in middle-school, and are current members of the WC Eagles club side, which employs a full-time goalie coach. The two have gotten to train with some of the best in the world in recent years.

“I’ve had many goalie coaches over the years, and this summer I was able to train in Amsterdam for a month, and I was fortunate to get one hour with a man named Martin Dreiber,” Kelly said. “Every single word he said settled in my mind, and I think about what he said to me constantly.”

“Jackie Briggs (the retired U.S. starting goalkeeper) was my goalie coach a couple of years ago in the spring,” Kieft said. “Just the experience of her talking about her experience and how she experienced situations, it was really special working with her.”

Today, however, they were on opposite sides in a high-stakes derby. During the game, both sides played smart possession hockey, using space and every square foot of the pitch to generate scoring chances.

Though Notre Dame generated more opportunities in the final third, Episcopal did an equally wonderful job at converting theirs. Indeed, the Churchwomen had seized the lead late on a 90-yard snowbird after a failed Notre Dame corner.

On the play, Kelly Smith, the Episcopal corner flyer, found space up the middle of the pitch to get the ball to teammate Maddie Rehak, who relayed the ball to forward Gianna Pantaleo, who took the ball right at the Irish defense. She created a 2-on-1, pulling out Kieft with a darting move along the right side, whereupon the Boston University commit deposited the ball from a tight angle.

“We’re big on trying to get rid of the ball quickly, and taking advantage of their weak side, and this was an example of Gianna making a third effort,” Buggy said. “It was working together, and it was really great to see.

“Usually, I trust my defenders to make the play,” Kieft said. “I think the ‘uh-oh’ moment was when I didn’t want to execute the skill I wanted to correctly. I needed to be more patient and stay in goal.”

EPISCOPAL ACADEMY (3-1-2) 1 1 0 — 2
ACADEMY OF NOTRE DAME (9-0-1) 1 1 1 — 3
ND: Lauren Curran (Mia Leonhardt), pc, 16th
EA: Gianna Pantaleo (Kathleen Anderson), fg, 18th
EA: Pantaleo, fg, 46th
ND: Riley Gillin (Jess Schneider), fg, 53rd
ND: Curran (Leonhardt), pc, 65th
Shots — EA: 8; ND: 22. Saves — EA: Caroline Kelly 16, defensive 3; ND: Paige Kieft 6.

POSTGAME Thanks for following along; good day, good hockey

POSTGAME Lauren Curran ended the game, and she will be lauded for it. But the two goalkeepers in the match — Caroline Kelly for EA and Paige Kieft for ND — were outstanding

POSTGAME One of the nation’s finest rivalries yielded another classic confrontation that went down to the end

64:02 AND PC and GOAL Curran’s blast bounces past Kelly and into the mesh! It counts! Notre Dame wins 3-2! What a game!

62:10 EA PC Pantaleo blocked down by Leonhardt; second shot saved by Kleft!

60:00 We are on with extra time

FULL TIME We will now have golden-goal overtime for 10 minutes

FULL TIME Regulation ends with the sides level 2-2

59:20 EA PC Angled shot from Acosta is repelled by Kleft

58:10 AND PC Curran with a bouncing shot that Kelly repels

56:15 EA PC Szukics with the 1-up and Paige Kieft says no

52:39 AND GOAL Gillin puts in the rebound from her own shot and the game is tied 2-2!

51:20 AND PC Curran shoots from deep; Kelly says no

49:25 AND PC Leonhardt tries to round the left wing and Kelly is there for the save; Szukics intercepts and clears!

48:55 AND PC Leonhardt’s shot is saved! Rebound is stopped!

45:51 EA GOAL And just like that, Episcopal runs a snowbird on the Irish defense and the Churchwomen score! Episcopal leads 2-1 on a Panateleo score from the tightest of angles

45:30 AND PC Defensed by Kelly Smith

44:43 Leonhardt runs a break up the center but cannot find Curran with the pass


40:45 Macy Szukics hits the post with the backhand! Wow!

39:10 ANC GREEN Gillin now off for a push

38:30 Irish get a cross in front to Riley Gillin, who can’t convert the chance

37:00 Pantaleo starts a jailbreak for the Churchwomen, and Maddie Rehak can’t get off a clean backhand

35:20 AND PC Defensed by Louisa Baxter

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME The Irish have created better chances, but will need to put them away to come away with the result

HALFTIME The teams are playing smart and skilled hockey, creating chances and forcing the goalkeepers into some good stops

HALFTIME At the horn, we have a 1-1 draw

29:30 Szukics knifes into the circle and is open for a second, but is tackled smartly

25:50 AND GREEN CARD Curran is off for a free-hit encroachment

23:20 AND PC Ends on a raised ball

22:50 AND PC Angled shot flies wide, but will re-rack

20:15 EA PC Pantaleo blasts it wide!

17:31 EA GOAL Kathleen Anderson smartly rounds the baseline and finds an open Gianna Panataleo who puts it top shelf! Game tied 1-1

15:51 AND PC Lauren Curran blasts the 1-up from Mia Leonhardt and the Irish take a 1-0 lead

14:15 AND PC Defensed by Kelly Smith; the redirect by Episcopal Academy goes all the way down the field where Maddie Rehak cannot get her stick on the pass; is this a premonition of what is to come?

2:10 AND PC Two good stops by Caroline Kelly in the EA cage

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Notre Dame is in the white with gold letters and numbers, Episcopal is in the navy with white numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up on the turf under partly cloudy skies, and temps have risen to the mid-70s

PREGAME I’ll refer you to the Thursday Takaway for the preview

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Burns Field for today’s InterAc regular-season match between Episcopal Academy and Academy of Notre Dame

Sept. 28, 2018 — Friday Statwatch for games played through Sept. 26

We’re back with Statwatch, our feature which looks into the numbers and superlatives that define field hockey across generations.

This week’s statistical milestone is the 600th career victory for Bob Derr of Lititz Warwick (Pa.). He was the first male scholastic coach to get his 500th win when he crossed that barrier seven years ago, and he is, I think, the only field hockey coach who also doubles as a wrestling official.

Derr’s victory came earlier this week in an overtime match against Mechanicsburg Cumberland Valley (Pa.). He becomes the 18th known member of the all-time 600-win club, although there are some coaches who may never get credit because of poor recordkeeping for girls’ sports through most of the 20th Century.

Below, in red, are statistics as of the close of play on Wednesday, meaning that they are going to be somewhat different from the Daily Statwatch numbers to the right of this column, which we try to update in, more or less, real time.

I encourage the use of the easy-to-use website to report statistics. It is easy for the average coach, athletic director, or student managers to register for  the platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams as well as perhaps your conference, league, or your state governing body to enter field hockey information there, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible.

So, here’s what we have thus far, thanks to, amongst others, MaxPreps, Advance Media,, The LNP Media Group, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,, and the Washington Post:

53 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
29 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
28 Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
28 Jaiden Wittel, Swiftwater Pocono Mountain East (Pa.)
26 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
25 Lucy Poindexter, Louisville Kentucky Country Day (Ky.)
25 Peyton Halsey, Reading Exeter (Pa.)
24 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
23 Jordan Carr, Point Pleasant (N.J.) Boro
23 Hannah Miller, Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.)
22 Julianna Kratz, Flourtown Mount St. Joseph Academy (Pa.)
22 Lily Saunders, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
22 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
21 Cassie Romanczuk, Bethlehem Moravian Academy (Pa.)
20 Ava Mariani, West Lawn Wilson (Pa.)
20 Josie Rossbach, Leesburg Heritage (Va.)
20 Megan Connors, San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.)
20 Taryn Ringer, Johnstown (N.Y.)
20 Isabella Bressler, Reading Berks Catholic (Pa.)

23 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
17 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
17 Emma Deberdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
16 Kacie Patton, Emmaus (Pa.)
16 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
16 Suzy Keefer, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
15 Isabella Bressler, Reading Berks Catholic (Pa.)
15 Madeleine McGaughey, Langley (Va.)
14 Abbey Playle, San Jose Leigh (Calif.)
14 India Reed, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
14 Briana Harsh, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)

280 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
151 Charlotte de Vries, Virginia Beach Cape Henry Academy (Va.) and Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)*
142 Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
139 Sammy Popper, Fort Washington Germantown Academy (Pa.)
138 Paityn Wirth, Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.)
136 Charlotte de Vries, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)**
123 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
111 Gabby Bitts, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
106 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
* — five-year varsity career
** — four-year varsity career

124 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
87 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)

123 Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)
99 Los Gatos (Calif.)
91 San Diego Serra (Calif.)

91 San Diego Serra (Calif.)

So, this is where you can help us out immensely. If you see a statistics that is missing or wrong, feel to send us an email at Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the adjustment.

Thanks a lot for reading, and we’ll try it again next week.