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Archive for January 15, 2019

Jan. 15, 2019 — The case for …

The last week or so, I’ve posted some paragraphs of some of the great scorers in the history of American scholastic field hockey. They are amongst the greatest the game has ever seen, but there are other players who didn’t put up the kinds of gaudy numbers as the people we’ve talked about the last several days.

You have to think of Katelyn Falgowski, who was a skilled midfielder at Wilmington St. Mark’s (Del.), and joined the senior national team at the age of 15, played in three Olympics, and received more than 250 caps.

Her contemporary Katie O’Donnell could have added to her total of 142 goals with Ambler Wissahickon (Pa.) had she not been called into the U.S. women’s national side at the age of 16. Her skills and technical ability on the frontline were in a universe of discourse limited to a very select few, even today.

And then, there’s Patti Shea, who didn’t win a single game in high school for Belmont (Mass.), but her abilities in the striking circle caught the eye of Pam Hixon, who not only coached her at the University of Massachusetts, but also with the U.S. women’s national team program in the mid-1990s. Shea was the idol and model for thousands of goalkeepers in that era.

You also have to include Erin Matson, who had nearly 90 goals in just two years of scholastic field hockey with Kennett Square Unionville (Pa.)before opting to train and play full-time with the U.S. women’s national team.

So, who’s the greatest scholastic field hockey player of all time? It’s hard for this site to say, but I think it would be easier for one of today’s players to adapt to thicker mulberry sticks and grass pitches than it would be for one of yesteryear’s players to jump on turf and play with a composite.

Too, today’s players have an edge in terms of sport-specific training, dieting, and tactics than ever before. And nobody back in the day had to face teams that would string together nearly a decade’s worth of state championships in a row, such as Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), a Watertown (Mass.), a Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.), or a Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.).

In truth, my thought experiment has given me a Hobson’s choice between midfielders: Mackenzie Allessie and Katelyn Falgowski. Let’s see if the former is able to have the international career of the latter.