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Archive for October, 2018

Oct. 24, 2018 — A second split, and a twist

The hot topic over the last year or so in women’s lacrosse is the debate over the roles of not just one, but two women’s professional leagues held over the summer.

And now, that debate is going to be fired over on the men’s side. This week, it was announced that former Johns Hopkins All-American Paul Rabil would be forming a second men’s lacrosse circuit to travel across the United States this summer, similar to the traveling round-robin feast that the women’s leagues have been doing.

The Professional Lacrosse League is reputed to have signed 140 players, including many of the best stars from Major League Lacrosse, a venture that has been around since 2001. The PLL’s 140 players, including 10 Tewaaraton winners, are to be split into six teams for the traveling lacrosse feast which is likely to go to major markets with mid-sized stadiums (more of the soccer-specific facilities for MLS rather than cavernous NFL stadia) for league competition. The six teams will play three games in two days over the course of 12 or 13 weeks next summer, and action will be broadcast by the NBC Sports Network.

That the league already has a broadcast partner shows that Rabil and the marketing people behind the league have already done some homework. The league also has financial and personal backing from several investment firms, and is being backed by betting site Draft Kings and a sports news site called Barstool.

Barstool, for what it’s worth, did break a number of stories in the field hockey and lacrosse worlds that no other members of the mainstream media would touch, including a full-out stick-swinging attack during a girls’ high-school lacrosse game about three years ago.

But it was a year ago, if you may recall, that ESPN ended a show with Barstool personalities after one episode over claims and complaints about misogyny not only during the show, but on the Barstool website.

And for a sport which has aspirations of being on the Olympic program, this may not be the media partner that the PLL is looking for.

Oct. 23, 2018 — Top 10 for the week of Oct. 21

Tournament time is in full swing this week in many states, and, in most situations, it’s truly about “survive and advance.” It was also the culmination of many New Jersey county tournament as well as league tournament in Pennsylvania, which accounts for the result on Saturday with Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) beating Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) on an untimed corner at the end of overtime. There will be more drama in the next few weeks, I’m sure.

This week’s honorary RightToRightIsRight.com No. 11 Team of the Week are the Georgetown Hoyas. Thanks to a freshman class originally brought in by Shannon (Karl) Soares and now guided by former ODU all-America Christy Longacre, the Hoyas broke double digits in wins for the first time since 2001. I think, with some of the talent that is in this side, that this is a team to watch for 2019 and beyond.

1. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 20-0

The Vikings got a tougher NJSIAA Group IV draw than the rest, and will have to get by either Sewell Washington Township (N.J.) or Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.J.) to get to the final

2. Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 16-0

Hornets start NYSPHSAA Section 1 Class B tournament hosting Nanuet (N.Y.)

3. Emmaus (Pa.) 21-0

Emmaus goes in quest of its 30th consecutive PIAA District XI championship when it takes on Allentown Parkland (Pa.) for the third time in the last two weeks

4. Villanova Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.) 15-0-1

Summoned an enormous effort to come back from two goals down against Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.); can the Irish do the same today against rival Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.)?

5. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 17-1

The Royals won the Union County Tournament last Saturday and now prepare for the state tournament with an interesting match today with Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.J.)

6. Delmar (Del.) 12-0

The Wildcats have conceded exactly one goal this season; tough game today against Camden Caesar Rodney (Del.)

7. Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) 19-1-1

Matt Soto’s crew showed tremendous defense and heart in holding off Donegal’s record-setting attack before pipping one at the death in the Lancaster-Lebanon title match

8. Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.) 20-1

Valkyries played Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.) in the state semifinal round yesterday for a berth in tomorrow’s final

9. Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 20-1

Indians begin PIAA District 3 Class AA play tomorrow against Glen Rock Susquehannock (Pa.)

10. Gahanna Columbus Academy (Ohio) 17-0

The Vikings have conceded exactly one goal this season; start OHSAA regionals against Bexley (Ohio) today

11. Georgetown University 11-6

The Hoyas’ Friday home match against defending national champion Connecticut will give the coaching staff a measuring stick of how far the team has come

Who’s out: Collegeville Perkiomen Valley (Pa.) 3-0 loss to Pottstown Owen J. Roberts (Pa.)

And bear in mind: San Diego Serra (Calif.) 16-1, Westport Staples (Conn.) 15-0, Louisville Assumption (Ky.) 19-6-2, Skowhegan (Maine) 16-0, St. Louis Mary Institute-Country Day School (Mo.) 18-5, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 18-5-1, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 11-0, Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) 16-0

Oct. 22, 2018 — County tournaments gone mild

The ten county tournaments held in New Jersey this time of year serve a number of purposes.

For some teams, it’s preparation for the state tournament. For others, it’s regional and sometimes city bragging rights.

Now, the last few years, you could send your predictions to the printer for the winners of some of these championships because teams like Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.), Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.), and The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School have dominated in the Shore Conference, Union, and Mercer County Tournaments, respectively.

This makes what happened this year in the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament all the more special.

Hackettstown (N.J.) is a program which, when this site started, didn’t exist because the team was folded in the late 1980s. It took all of the guile and wisdom of Gina DiMaio to bring the side from a JV existence in 2001 to a sectional final and a county tournament winner in 2005. DiMaio, however, was not renewed after the 2009 season, opening the way for Stephen Spiers to become head coach.

It’s taken nearly a decade after the Spiers hiring, but the Tigers are back as county champions after a 1-0 win over Washington Warren Hills (N.J.). The game-winner came in the second minute of extra time off the stick of Ashley Zellars.

A hearty “Well played!” from this corner of the Internet.

Oct. 21, 2018 — Rolling out a new rebellion

After some fits and starts, we’ve finally refurbished field hockey’s Rebel Project, our compilation of all-time field hockey statistics. These are based on from the National Federation’s record book which, to be frank, has not been updated in a few years.

Our compilation also comes from observation of scholastic field hockey from all over the country, as well as user submissions. We’ve even come up with statistical categories which have never been in the NFHS record book, such as the fastest goal from the start of a period, fastest overtime goal, and most penalty-stroke goals by a goalkeeper.

In addition, we’ve also simplified things by only recording coaching wins rather than also including losses and ties, especially now that Connecticut records overtime losses as a separate statistic.

We were able to (finally) merge everything from HTML code into Google Docs. We’ll be testing the apparatus today, so you might not be able to see the Project right away, so bear with us. And if you see something amiss in the Project (except for items in 2018, which we’ll add in December), feel free to message us either through email or social media.

Oct. 20, 2018 — An unprecedented aggregation of goals

Today, at Lancaster Conestoga Valley (Pa.), the field hockey teams of Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) and Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) met on the field of play for the championship of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

On the field were four players with more than 700 goals between them: Donegal’s Mackenzie Allessie (331) and Lily Saunders (111), and Penn Manor’s Emma Deberdine (136) and Gabby Bitts (125).

I don’t believe, in the history of scholastic field hockey, that this many goals have been on one pitch at the same time.

I think perhaps the closest occasion to this might have been the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final in 2014. Voorhees Eastern forward Austyn Cuneo came into the contest with 326 goals, Nikki Santore came into the contest with 58 (on the way to a 127-goal career), and Mackenzie Keegan had 42, while Summit Oak Knoll’s Caroline Andretta had 113 goals heading into the contest, Ali McCarthy had 31 (on the way to a 127-goal career), and Gabby Andretta had 10 (on the way to her 106-goal career).


And, wouldn’t you know it, someone not part of the triple-digits club had the overtime goal to win the game today? It was Anna May Barbusca who put in the goal on an untimed corner at the end of extra time as Penn Manor best Donegal 1-0.

Oct. 19, 2018 — Friday Statwatch for games played through Oct. 17

Good morning, all, and welcome back to Statwatch, the part of the site that goes over the numbers that run through the history of scholastic field hockey as well as the people behind the numbers.

This week, a lot of people may have clapped and cheered at Bob Beamesderfer Field when Mackenzie Allessie scored her 329th career goal on Tuesday, but what was equally impressive was the goal she scored in the fifth minute of play. That’s because it was her 100th of the season.

As much as this 2018 season is going to be picked apart, it’s my belief that the number 100 is going to be the most prominent number people are going to remember. It’s a singular achievement in scholastic field hockey; nobody else has gotten to the 100-goal plateau for a season.

And note that this achievement took place only about 50 miles from Hershey, Pa., where Wilt Chamberlain became the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game.

Here below are scattered some national field hockey 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 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.

Here’s 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
104 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
59 Charlotte de Vries, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)
51 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
47 Peyton Halsey, Reading Exeter (Pa.)
46 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
44 Sara Stone, San Diego Westview (Calif.)
44 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
43 Anna Crump, Crestwood South Oldham (Ky.)
41 Taryn Ringer, Johnstown (N.Y.)
39 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
39 Jaiden Wittel, Swiftwater Pocono Mountain East (Pa.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
37 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
30 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
29 Julianna Kratz, Flourtown Mount St. Joseph Academy (Pa.)

25 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
24 India Reed, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
24 Abby Periard, Crestwood South Oldham (Ky.)
24 Laney Noreika, Boiling Spring Big Spring (Pa.)
23 Peyton Halsey, Reading Exeter (Pa.)

23 Isabella Bressler, Reading Berks Catholic (Pa.)
23 Kacie Patton, Emmaus (Pa.)

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, CAREER
331 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.)

135 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
128 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
123 Gabby Bitts, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)
118 Raegan Hickey, Greenfield (Mass.)
109 Lily Saunders, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
105 Peyton Halsey, Reading Exeter (Pa.)
100 Kenzi Thompson, West Chester (Pa.) East
100 Reagan Bonniwell, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.)
100 Allison Sabb, Ann Arbor (Mich.) Huron

* — five-year varsity career
** — four-year varsity career

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, CAREER
131 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
100 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
131 Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)
106 Los Gatos (Calif.)

Given the number of stats I read on Twitter and elsewhere, I realize this list is not 100 percent complete. That is where you, gentle reader, come into play. 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 recompile this for next week.

Oct. 18, 2018 — The real work

Last night, the United States women’s national soccer team stamped its superiority over the CONCACAF nations by winning the championship final of this continent’s FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier, 2-0 over Canada.

It is a team which has been completely and utterly re-formed after the triumph of four years ago in Vancouver, one which saw the retirement of many of its stars, but the continuation of the starpower of attackers Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd.

I think there is going to be a lot to be said for the technical ability of players such as Kelley O’Hara and Tobin Heath, the defensive prowess of Julie Ertz and Becky Sauerbrunn, and how well (or poorly) Alyssa Naeher plays in the goal.

But I think the key three players in the side are going to be Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh, and Rose Lavelle. A lot are going to be asked of these three, and I think they are going to have to take the pressure off the aging superstars of the national side.

As good as the U.S. side in the CONCACAF Championship was, I wonder what kind of fine-tuning is going to happen with three added roster spots — and which veteran or veterans might have seen their last minutes in an American kit.