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Archive for October, 2018

Oct. 31, 2018 — The start of the carnival

Today, with the blowing of a whistle in Oxford, Ohio, and the familiar click of mulberry on plastic, the final stretch of NCAA Division I field hockey heading to Selection Sunday will occur as conference tournaments from Boston, Mass. to Palo Alto, Calif. will wind towards their conclusions.

At the end of the road, nine Automatic Qualifier (AQ) slots await, with eight at-large bids for the non-winners of these conference tournaments.

There has already been one AQ claimed, as Harvard has won the Ivy League with a game to spare. But the at-large scenario within the league could be determined by a pair of rivals located about 45 miles apart.

So, here’s our sub-optimal look at the five days (or, realistically 10 when you factor in the Big Ten play-ins last weekend) that will shape the rest of the season:

AMERICA EAST
Favorite: Stanford
Dark horses: Maine, Albany, Pacific
How many should get in: 1
How many will get in: 1
The skinny: The Cardinal have been the story in America East play this year, and have the nation’s leading scorer in Corinne Zanolli. There is a cluster of three teams in the America East all around the 0.56 percentile in Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), but I think only the champion of the tournament gets into the big dance.

ATLANTIC COAST
Favorite: North Carolina
Dark horse: Wake Forest
How many should get in: 4
How many will get in: 5
The skinny: It’s a matter of time before the ACC is supplanted as The Toughest Conference In The Country, but this year, it’s still the case. Indeed, even though they are in the headwaters of the national championship race, there are three good teams teetering on the edge of a .500 record — Virginia (8-8), Wake Forest (9-8), and Syracuse (8-7). Five ACC teams are hovering between 10th and 19th in RPI, and in tomorrow’s quarterfinal round, two games will feature two pairs of teams which are ranked right next to each other in RPI; Virginia vs. Boston College (13/14) and Louisville vs. Wake Forest (17/18).

ATLANTIC-10
Favorite: St. Joseph’s
Dark horse: Massachusetts
How many should get in: 1
How many will get in: 1
The skinny: Meet St. Joseph’s University, the best team in Philadelphia, the ancestral home of USA Field Hockey. Since a 6-3 loss to Duke in mid-September, the Hawks have rolled off 12 straight victories, including seven clean sheets. Yet, after all this work, it is entirely possible that they, like the rest of the A-10 teams in the tournament, face a lose-or-go-home scenario.

BIG EAST
Favorite: Connecticut
Dark horse: Liberty
How many should get in: 2
How many will get in: 1
The skinny:  Connecticut is in no matter what it does. Liberty, in its fourth season as a Big East member, gave UConn fits in losing 3-2 to the Huskies in 2016. The teams should meet again in the final, and if UConn wins again, Liberty may not have the non-conference resume, especially with a 2-1 loss against Longwood.

BIG TEN
Favorite: Maryland
Dark horse: Ohio State
How many should get in: 5
How many will get in: 3
The skinny: Is the Big Ten the Next Great Conference in Division I field hockey? Five of the top 12 teams in RPI are from the Big Ten (Maryland, Rutgers, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State). And this is how competitive the league is: two of these teams aren’t even playing this week, since Rutgers and Penn State lost in overtime to Ohio State and Iowa, respectively. I think this fact will cost the Knights and Nittany Lions come Selection Sunday. And, lest we forget, Ohio State next year welcomes in a cast of recruits which could reshape the entire league. But that’s for another time.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC
Favorite: Delaware
Dark horse: William & Mary
How many should get in: 1
How many will get in: 1
The skinny: National champions two years ago, the Blue Hens are the top seed in the CAA, and the only other team in the conference semifinals with a better than .500 record is William & Mary. Only the champion of this tournament will make the NCAA field.

IVY
Winner: Harvard
Dark horse: Penn
How many should get in: 2
How many will get in: 2
The skinny: Harvard has already clinched first place in the league by virtue of tiebreakers against both Penn and Princeton. But at noon Saturday at Bedford Field, the two second-place teams in the league will take on each other. However, I do not see very many scenarios which will allow the Quakers to get into the tournament as an at-large alongside Harvard. That’s because Princeton’s key wins all came in a six-day span in early September, with consecutive wins over Wake Forest, Penn State, and Duke. Penn, for its part, has just one win over a ranked team this season, and that was against a Wake Forest team way back in August.

METRO-ATLANTIC
Favorite: Monmouth
Dark horse: Rider
How many should get in: 1
How many will get in: 1
The skinny: Monmouth is the host and the highest-rated team (31st) in RPI. Only the champion will make the NCAA Tournament.

MID-AMERICAN
Favorite: Miami
Dark horse: Kent State
How many should get in: 1
How many will get in: 1
The skinny: Miami is the host and the highest-rated team (34th) in RPI. Only the champion will make the NCAA Tournament.

PATRIOT
Favorite: Boston University
Dark horse: American
How many should get in: 1
How many will get in: 1
The skinny: Boston University is the host and the highest-rated team (26th) in RPI. Only the champion will make the NCAA Tournament.

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Oct. 30, 2018 — Top 10 for the week of Oct. 28

This week has been pretty stable except for the fact that Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) had a two-loss week and fell out of the Top 10. Somehow, I think they’re going to be back in the thick of the PAISAA title chase, which begins once the brackets are released.

Other teams are chasing state championships through their various brackets, some of which are straight-up win-or-go-home, others qualify a set number of teams to the next round, such as what happens in Virginia and Pennsylvania this week.

The Virginia High School League is a special case because it has 14 subsectionals, each of which qualifies an equal number of teams within each of the four enrollment classes. Because a team in the regional quarterfinal (or octofinal in Class 3A) is likely to take more chances in terms of lineups and tactics than in the subtotal of the season, these games often go down to the wire. One year in the Northern Region, I saw two simultaneous overtime matches being played at Oakton (Va.) as four teams played down to two state tournament qualifiers. It was a carnival of sound, action, and drama that I hadn’t seen before and have rarely seen since.

Since the losers have 10 months to mull over their mistakes, while the winner is guaranteed at least two more games (three if in Class 3A), I’ve always labeled these as “tipping point” games.

Our honorary RightToRightIsRight.com No. 11 Team of the Week is Oak Bluffs Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.). It’s a team which has never won a state title in field hockey, but it is a difficult side to play against because it requires opponents to take a ferry ride to an island, a home-field advantage nobody else in America has. This past week, head coach Lisa Knight was feted upon the announcement that she would be retiring from coaching the program for the past 32 years.

1. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 21-0
Eastern’s success is through its balanced attack led by Kara Heck (35 goals), Ryleigh Heck (29), and Amanda Middleman (29), rather than a single player who was the straw that stirs the Vikings’ drink; team faces Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.J.) in NJSIAA Group IV South semifinal today

2. Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 19-0
Hornets won NYSPHSAA Section 1 Class B tournament with a 6-1 win over Cross River John Jay (N.Y.); faces Accord Rondout Valley (N.Y.) in first round of the state tournament

3. Emmaus (Pa.) 22-0
Emmaus took on Stroudsburg (Pa.) last evening in the PIAA District XI Class AAA tournament semifinals

4. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 19-1
The Royals meet up with Caldwell Mount St. Dominic (N.J.) tomorrow in NJSIAA Non-Public North quarterfinals

5. Delmar (Del.) 14-0
Wildcats’ regular-season slate ends today against Georgetown Sussex Tech (Del.); has the top seed in the DIAA Division II championship

6. Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) 20-1-1
Comets have a tough West Lawn Wilson (Pa.) side on Halloween in a game being played at Reading Exeter (Pa.) in the PIAA District 3-AAA Tournament

7. Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.) 22-1
Season complete:
Valkyries defeated Louisville Kentucky Country Day (Ky.) 1-0 in the KHSAA final last week

8. Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 20-1
Indians take on a good Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.) side tomorrow at Lititz Warwick (Pa.) in the PIAA District 3-AA Tournament

9. Gahanna Columbus Academy (Ohio) 19-0
The Vikings take on Cincinnati Ursuline (Ohio) on Friday afternoon for a berth in Saturday’s OHSAA state final

10.  San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) 20-1
Falcons beat San Diego Serra (Calif.) 1-0 in extra time last week to even the season series; the teams meet again Nov. 6, and could meet once again in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division tournament

11. Oak Bluffs Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.) 11-4-2
The Vinyarders have a first-round MIAA Division 2 South game against Cohasset (Mass.), with the reward a visit to top-seeded Foxboro (Mass.)

Who’s out: Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) 3-1 loss to Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) and 2-1 loss to Fort Washington Germantown Academy (Pa.)

And bear in mind: San Diego Serra (Calif.) 17-2, Westport Staples (Conn.) 17-0, Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 13-1, Louisville Kentucky Country Day (Ky.) 22-5-2, Skowhegan (Maine) 17-0, Walpole (Mass.) 17-1, Watertown (Mass.) 16-0-1, Acton-Boxboro (Mass.) 17-1, St. Louis Mary Institute-Country Day School (Mo.) 19-5, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 19-5-1, Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) 15-1-2, Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 10-2-2, Fort Washington Germantown Academy (Pa.) 11-4-1, Oley (Pa.) Valley 22-1, Providence Moses Brown (R.I.) 14-1, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 14-1, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 15-1, Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) 19-0

Oct. 29, 2018 — Another reason to remember “this time of year”

A few years ago, the principal of a small private school came up to me after a field hockey banquet that was being held in December, during the usually festive holiday season.

“You know,” she said, “this is supposed to be the happiest time of the year for families. But I dread it. So many teenagers are now away from their fall teams and are on the roads when it is dark. We usually get our worst car accidents around this time.”

I recall this conversation because yesterday morning, Meghan Keeney, a junior field hockey player at Lititz Warwick (Pa.), died of injuries suffered Friday afternoon when a wayward car caused one of several accidents in the borough of about 9,400 due north of Lancaster, Pa.

A number of school districts have encouraged their faculty, staff, and students to wear black and red, the colors of Warwick High School, as a remembrance.

This site will do the same for the balance of the month.

Oct. 28, 2018 — Another senseless massacre

Today, I’m turning the blog over to a couple of former college classmates. The first is a former member of the Pittsburgh synagogue that was turned into a crime scene when a maniac with a gun and an agenda killed 11 people yesterday morning during a bris ceremony:

Thank you to the family and friends from all over the country who have reached out to me in the wake of this senseless, horrible act of anti-Semitism. My immediate family is fine, thank God, but I am worried about my Tree of Life family. I am hoping that everyone I know there is alive and well, but unfortunately, I fear that I will know some of the victims when their names are released. I was a member of Tree of Life Synagogue for over 25 years, went to Hebrew school there and had my bat mitzvah there. It is hard to think of the place as a crime scene and the site of a cowardly act of violence against innocent people.

As I try to process what has happened, it makes me think that when I saw events on the news such as the Parkland shooting or the shooting in the Baptist church in South Carolina or the church in Texas, I thought that these happenings were remote and never could happen in my immediate world. This morning has shattered that illusion and my sense of security. These random acts of violence can happen anywhere to anyone. People must wake up to the danger that the anti-Semitic, racist, misogynist rhetoric in this country has created and be willing to fight against it. Remember — the next time (and there will be a next time) it could happen to you.

So, although I am loath to turn a tragedy into something political, it is time for people to forget about labels (i.e., the name of the party they are voting for) and vote for candidates who propose common-sense solutions to combat the hatred and violence that have seized this country.

In two weeks everyone will be able to make the choice to vote, either for candidates who foster this kind of behavior and violence and make fun of so-called “political correctness” which is merely common sense civility. or to vote for candidates who are willing to call people out for this xenophobic hatred and to pass common sense gun laws restricting access to firearms so these events will diminish in the future.


The other classmate is an elected official with, as you will read, a complicated life history. He posted the following this morning on social media:

I am a Jew.

I know some want to take my life
For being a Jew.

I learned about Anne Frank
When I was just five years old.
I’ve imagined living in the concentration camps.
I’ve imagined dying in the gas chambers.

I’ve confronted anti-Semitism worldwide.
I remember a Swiss synagogue on Yom Kippur.
Where they told us to disperse quickly after services
In case someone threw a bomb at us as we left.

I was struck by this.
I didn’t think at the time
It would happen in America.

I’m proud of being an American,
Because America took us in,
Took my family in
More than a century ago.

We came here so that anti-Semites wouldn’t kill us.

I know we’ve had antisemitism in America
Much worse than we have today.
I know that the first “America Firsters”
Loved the Nazis and hated Jews.
I know that Americans in the ‘40’s
Hated Jews worse than the Germans and the Japanese.

I also know that since the Holocaust,
There is no safer, freer, more wonderful place
Than the United States of America
To be a Jew.

_____________

I am a gay man.

I know some want to take my life
For being a gay man.

I remember the day Matthew Shepard was crucified.
I’ve imagined what I would have done
In that Wyoming bar.
I’ve imagined being impaled on a fence
For hour after long hour,
Dying slowly alone.

I know dozens of gay men and women
Who were kicked by their families
Out of their homes

Or tortured by so-called Christians
Trying to convert them to heterosexuality
Against their will.

I’m proud of how far we’ve come.
I’m proud of my work
Helping to bring equality to the gay community.
Cultural equality.
Marriage equality.

I’m aware of how far we have yet to go.

I’m aware of the greater hate
The transgender community faces.
I know that compared to trans folk,
It is far easier
To be a gay man.

_____________

I’m not Black.

But I know that some want to take the lives of people
Just for being Black.

For driving while Black.
For walking while Black.
For wearing a hoodie while Black.

Or confronting a police officer while Black.
Or protesting police violence while Black.

When the KKK burns a cross,
They do not terrorize one Black family.
They terrorize an entire community.

I’m proud of how far we’ve come.
I’m proud of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

But I also know,
With voter suppression laws
And drug laws that criminally punish crack users
But not opioid users.
That we have a long way to go
Before we can say we have equality in America
For Blacks.

_____________

I’m not a woman.

I don’t particularly fear
Walking alone at night.

I walk women to their cars at night
As my mother taught me to do.

We both know why I’m walking them to their cars at night.
We don’t say why,
But we know.

It’s because women face daily the real and present fear
Of sexual assault
And domestic violence.

And yet, the danger is even greater from family, friends, and acquaintances than strangers,

I know the stigma that goes along with being a survivor.
I know the pain of losing a sister to domestic violence.
I’m proud of the MeToo movement for drawing attention,
But I also know the battle is far from over.

I can’t imagine what it is like to fear
Every social encounter may end in violence,
But I want to try to imagine.

I want to stand up as a man for women,
As well as for male victims of sexual assault.

I want to stand up for women in the workplace.
And for women who want their bodies
Free of men’s control over them.

I’m not a woman,
But I will always stand
With women.

_____________

I am an American.

I’ve always been an American.
I was born here.

I’m proud to be an American,
Not in a country-music-song facile kind of way
But because America is the land that took my family in
More than a century ago.

My great grandparents had nothing in their pockets
But the American Dream,
Which they and their descendants realized.

While I’m not an immigrant,
I imagine their travails.

Like my great grandparents,
They are escaping violence,
Seeking a safe place.

They don’t speak English that well yet,
But the smiles on their faces tell it all.

No matter how hard it is to get here,
No matter how hard it is to be here,
They know that only in America
Can their dreams be made.

It’s the one place in the world
Where you can start all over again
As an immigrant.
And become
An American.

_____________

I’m a Southern man
From Nashville, Tennessee.

I understand the pride
Of a poor white Southern man,
Self-reliant salt of the earth,
Whose family never owned slaves.

I understand the arrogance
Of a rich white Southern man,
Who’s proud that his family did own slaves
But has never really considered
The harm his family did to innocent people.

It’s not hard to find a Southern man
Who carries the Dixie Flag
As a point of pride
But also to be rebellious.

He doesn’t much like Blacks or Jews
Or gays or immigrants.
He doesn’t much like Yankees either.

He doesn’t believe in treating women
Equally with men.
That’s just not how he was taught.
It wouldn’t be chivalrous.

No, it’s not all Southern men,
But it is a substantial number.
All too many.

I understand Southern pride.
Southerners don’t like know-it-alls.
Southerners don’t like Yankee-splaining
Any more than women like man-splaining.

And they often take it out
On “politicians in Washington,”
Even the ones they themselves elect.

For some white Southerners,
A gun is the ultimate in self-reliance.

There is a Southern man
who doesn’t think anything can hurt him,
If he owns a gun.

But a gun is not a shield.

Emotions
And financial worry
And sickness
And struggling rural communities

Creep past his gun
And enter his soul.

There’s great pain
In the soul of many
A Southern man.

_____________

I strive to understand
Cultures I am from.

I strive to understand
Cultures not my own.

_____________

I’m a Southern gay Jewish man
Who strives to empathize
With a Black immigrant woman.

_____________

In other words,
I’m an American.

It’s been two weeks since our 30th Reunion. And I still think our classmates are the greatest people.

Oct. 27, 2018 — Playing (and praying) for Meghan

Though the field hockey season for Lititz Warwick (Pa.) ended last week in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, there are some young athletes who are carrying forward a piece of that team today on the field of play.

Meghan Keeney, a junior field hockey player at Warwick, was seriously injured in a fatal car crash near the high school yesterday afternoon. Her number, 33, has appeared on the wrists of Manheim (Pa.) Central, in hair ribbons on the players of Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.), and on athletes in a district-level cross-country race.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Keeney’s critical care. Please consider clicking through and donating what you can.

Oct. 26, 2018 — Friday Statwatch for games played through Oct. 24

For this week’s Statwatch, I’m not highlighting the absolute top of the lists we publish each week, but instead we’re taking a look at a player who achieved a lot statistically during her scholastic field hockey career, which ended this week.

Charlotte de Vries is a senior attacking midfielder for Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.), and scored 59 goals this season and reached a remarkable 191 for her five-year varsity career that started in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. (Note: we don’t discount her statistics because she was able to attain varsity status in a competitive sphere, the VISAA, which allows middle-schoolers on the varsity.) She is amongst the finest attacking players of all time, and it’s a shame that the Pioneers fell a round short of playing for an automatic spot in the PIAA Class AAA Tournament.

I encourage the use of the easy-to-use MaxPreps.com website to report statistics. It is easy for the average coach, athletic director, or student managers to register for  the MaxPreps.com 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.

The below lists are what we have thus far, thanks to, amongst others, MaxPreps, Advance Media, PennLive.com, The LNP Media Group, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, PhilaFieldHockey.com, and the Washington Post:

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, SEASON
109 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
59 Charlotte de Vries, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)
55 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
49 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
48 Peyton Halsey, Reading Exeter (Pa.)
46 Sara Stone, San Diego Westview (Calif.)
46 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
44 Elle Maransky, Flourtown Mount St. Joseph Academy (Pa.)
43 Anna Crump, Crestwood South Oldham (Ky.)
43 Taryn Ringer, Johnstown (N.Y.)
42 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
41 Jaiden Wittel, Swiftwater Pocono Mountain East (Pa.)
41 Hannah Miller, Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
39 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
32 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
29 Zoe Snook, Louisville Assumption (Ky.)
29 Ellie Decker, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
26 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
26 Isabella Bressler, Reading Berks Catholic (Pa.)
25 Laney Noreika, Boiling Spring Big Spring (Pa.)
25 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)

24 India Reed, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
24 Abby Periard, Crestwood South Oldham (Ky.)

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, CAREER
336 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
191 Charlotte de Vries, Virginia Beach Cape Henry Academy (Va.) and Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)*
173 Charlotte de Vries, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)**
168 Paityn Wirth, Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.)
165 Sammy Popper, Fort Washington Germantown Academy (Pa.)
148 Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
136 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
131 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
125 Gabby Bitts, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
121 Raegan Hickey, Greenfield (Mass.)
112 Lily Saunders, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
106 Peyton Halsey, Reading Exeter (Pa.)
105 Reagan Bonniwell, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.)

100 Kenzi Thompson, West Chester (Pa.) East
100 Allison Sabb, Ann Arbor (Mich.) Huron
* — five-year varsity career
** — four-year varsity career

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, CAREER
133 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
102 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
90 Charlotte de Vries, Virginia Beach Cape Henry Academy (Va.) and Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)*
* — five-year varsity career

GAMES UNDEFEATED
133 Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)
108 Los Gatos (Calif.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
37 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)

Given the number of stats I read about each week, this list isn’t perfect. This is where you come in. If you see something missing, feel free to send us an email at TopOfTheCircle.com. Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the adjustment.

Thanks a lot for dropping in, and we’ll see if we can get it right next week.

Oct. 25, 2018 — What a basketball coach (even a disgraced one) can teach the people who run high school field hockey

As the story goes, Rick Pitino was coaching the University of Louisville in an early-season matchup in 2001, and he noticed that the opponent had started to seize the momentum in the first half. His first instinct was to walk towards the scorer’s table and tap both of his shoulders with the tips of his fingers. By force of habit from his previous tenure in the NBA with the Knicks and Celtics, he was asking for a 20-second timeout.

Only the referees didn’t have any 20-second timeouts to give. The NCAA didn’t have 20-second timeouts at the time, only full timeouts at the usual four-minute intervals for every televised game and a handful of discretionary timeouts to hoard for the end of the game.

Shortly thereafter, the NCAA added two 20-second timeouts per team, one per half, for coaches to use at their discretion.

Last night, there was a similar situation to what Pitino faced, but this time, it was in a win-or-go-home tournament field hockey game. The time was under five minutes to go in regulation, and the coach of a team trailing by a goal asked the umpire for a timeout.

The intention of the coach was to shift the momentum of the game by replacing the goalkeeper with an 11th outfield player — something which seemingly was always an option because the coach was from an environment where the FIH Rules of Hockey were in force.

There’s one problem, however. This was a high-school game under the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations. These rules clearly state that a fully-equipped goalkeeper must be on the pitch at all times. Indeed, there have been some states (Pennsylvania comes to mind) which require two goalkeepers on the gameday roster at all times.

Now, I can understand why the NFHS goalkeeping mandate exists. It forces high-school programs (and the rec programs that feed into them) to develop goalkeepers from a young age as integral parts of the team. This, I can understand, seeing the number of occasions in which adult club leagues are seeking volunteers from their ranks to play goal.

And I can also understand the need to develop a surfeit of goalkeepers, given the number of times I am seeing U.S. college teams having to play a full 70-minute game with 11 outfielders because the goalies are under concussion protocol.

But I think the NFHS is missing an opportunity to create excitement for its product by allowing an 11-on-10 outfield situation in the dying minutes of a close match. I don’t believe there would be a conflict to mandate that a field hockey team must have a fully-kitted goalkeeper in its starting eleven, but then allow the coaches to pull that goalkeeper for a kicking back or an 11th outfielder.

Certainly, there is risk for that 11th field player on penalty corners, especially if a second shot on a corner results in a raised ball. That’s why college and international players have a chest protector and a helmet at the ready for just these occasions.

Perhaps the NFHS needs to revisit the cumbersome eyewear rules that have has been mandatory since 2011. Why shouldn’t the 11th player be allowed to wear the molded plastic face masks that are used for defensive penalty corner units? Or, for that matter, the other four players in the goal cage? Especially when the current evidence shows that some of the current mandated eyewear causes more injuries than they prevent?