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Aug. 27, 2019 — The national preseason Top 10

This is our 18th season of national rankings, and these don’t get easier over time. Even when you have wonderful teams such as Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.), and Watertown (Mass.) who have strung together state championships like they’re coming out of a factory, you still have to realize that this is competition featuring 13-to-18-year old young women. There could be some surprises this year.

As per precedent, this preseason list is not guaranteed to be the same once the weekly Top 10s are compiled in mid-September. And even if all 10 of these teams are undefeated by then, they are not guaranteed to be in the same order.

1. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) — 27-0 record in 2018

The season for Eastern is going to hinge on their performance during a 32-day stretch in which they will be playing Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.), Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.), Winnetka New Trier (Ill.), Downingtown (Pa.) West, Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.) and Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)

2. Hershey (Pa.) — 19-5-1

Last year, after years of trying, the Trojans found the self-belief to go with their talent. Maddie Zimmer is one of the best players in the state, and she will pair with Ashley Arnold to make a deadly offensive combo

3. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) — 24-2

The Royals have had a purple patch of form this entire decade that puts them at amongst the very best in the country, but they happen to be competing in the same era as rival Eastern. They’ll get an opportunity to host the Vikings Sept. 14th

4. Oley (Pa.) Valley — 25-3

For the Lynx to make the state title match in a difficult bracket, the team is going to try to show that it’s not all about Sophia Gladieux. She and her teammates Sophia Mackrella and Sarah Beers have grown and matured together over the years, and it should be a lot of fun to see how well they do

5. Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) — 19-1

Cox pulled out a tremendous win in last year’s 6A final, and will need that sort of effort in mid-season when they meet rival Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.), then play Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) and Garden City (N.Y.) at the National High School Invitational

6. Emmaus (Pa.) — 26-1

This is a group of mad Hornets, given the suddenness with which last season ended. The team fell five goals adrift of Hershey (Pa.) on the way to a 5-3 defeat. Watch for junior Annika Herbine to have an enormous season

7. Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) — 14-2-2

The Churchwomen are your defending PAISAA champions, and even though the team has graduated goalie Caroline Kelly, the team has a number of gifted players such as juniors Sofia Acosta and Kelly Smith, along with sophomore Macy Szukics. EA will be trying its hand at the National Field Hockey Invitational, meeting Louisville Assumption (Ky.) and Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate (Va.)

8. Louisville Dupont Manual (Ky.) — 20-5-2

Manual is a high-achieving team filled with high-achieving student-athletes. It is one of the only magnet schools to have ever won a state championship in field hockey, and is just coming off a win in the 47th Apple Tournament, the first for not only a magnet school, but the first for a public school

9. Delmar (Del.) — 18-0

Delmar starts off with a bang, playing Edgewater South River (Md.) and Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) the same weekend as the Wildcats try to win a fourth straight state title

10. Newport (Pa.) — 18-7-1

The Buffaloes have been creeping closer and closer to a state title just about every year for the past three, making the state final a year ago only to lose to Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)

And bear in mind: Los Gatos (Calif.) 22-0, Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.) 25-1, Biddeford (Maine) 17-0-1, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.) 22-2, Garden City (N.Y.) 19-0, Gahanna Columbus Academy (Ohio) 19-0, Hershey (Pa.) 19-5-1, Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) 22-2-1, West Lawn Wilson (Pa.) 22-4, Gloucester (Va.) 22-0, Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) 23-0

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