TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for November 15, 2019

Nov. 15, 2019 — No. 1 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 4, No. 2 Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 1

UNION CITY, N.J. — Bridget Murphy had trouble concentrating today in school. And who could blame her? The biggest field hockey game of her life was happening at the dinner hour.

“I was taking a test today, and I wrote at the bottom a note to the teacher,” said the senior for Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.). “It said, ‘Sorry I was not able to concentrate today; it’s the T of C final this evening.”

And then she finished the note with the three words which have adorned the backs of the team warmup shirts since August:

WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Murphy opened the Royals’ account five minutes before the interval, then set up teammate Lily Ramsey with an exquisite through pass for a goal five minutes after the interval, bracketing a four-goal barrage that saw Oak Knoll, champions of the NJSIAA Non-Public Tournament, beating Eastern, champions of Group IV, by a 4-1 score in the latest edition of The Garden State Firm.

The score was identical to the regular-season meeting between the two sides back on Sept. 14th. But this game had a much more clinical edge for Oak Knoll, with precise passing and shooting that flummoxed an Eastern team that had beaten every other team on its schedule.

But this Royals team was seemingly built to counter Eastern’s strengths. Start, for example, with a 22-minute phase of play during the first half which saw outstanding defense of Megan Joel, Keely Comizio, Jodi Porto, and Emily Antunes in front of goalkeeper Colleen Quinn. The Eastern attackers had possession and pressure, but little in the way of open space to make a telling goalshot. Those that got through were saved by Quinn.

“Our goalie had an amazing game, one of the best I’ve ever seen her play,” said OK captain Avery Donahue.

The Royal defenders block-tackled passing lanes, scythed in for tough tackles, and gave Eastern very little in terms of good looks on goal.

“All of our defenders are so strong and clean,” Donahue said. “They get the job done and get the ball away. That’s exactly what we needed them to do.”

Oak Knoll’s offensive barrage all came within five minutes of the end the first half and the opening five minutes of the second — all goals which count more than just the one point on the scoreboard because of psychological advantage and forcing the opposition into altering the coaches’ team talk.

After Oak Knoll’s four-goal uprising, Eastern did pull one back — its 200th of the season. Tellingly, it was only the ninth goal conceded this season by the Oak Knoll defense and the first one that the Royals had conceded since Oct. 7.

“We’ve challenged them from Day One, and we knew we had something special in this team,” said 20-year Oak Knoll head coach Ali Good. “When we had a couple of openings in our schedule, we scheduled Greenwich (Conn.) Academy and The Hill School (Pottstown, Pa.). Instead of taking the week off, we scheduled these two teams. And these girls felt they needed it to prepare for the state tournament.”

Oak Knoll’s 2019 season was all about fear and risk. The team faced six out-of-state opponents, even coming to McAleer Stadium in October to play Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.). The Royals also swept two games at the National High School Invitational.

And with two wins this season over the dominant program from the last two decades, the Royals have cemented their status as the nation’s finest field hockey team.

EASTERN (23-2) 0 1 — 1
OAK KNOLL (26-0) 2 2 — 4
OK: Bridget Murphy (Lily Ramsey), fg, 25th
OK: Clare Brennan (Keely Comizio), pc, 30th
OK: Anabelle Brodeur, fg, 32nd
OK: Ramsey (Murphy), fg, 35th
E: Carlee Thompson (Amanda Middleman), fg, 45th
Shots — E: 5; OK: 18. Saves — E: Nina Santore 14; OK: Colleen Quinn 4


POSTGAME Oak Knoll played not only superb defense, but exhibited the kind of tikki-takka offense you might find at FC Barcelona. The Royals’ fourth goal was a thing of brilliance, with Lily Ramsey crafting Bridget Murphy’s pass into the net

POSTGAME Oak Knoll then scored its four goals in about 10 minutes, putting the Vikings in a four-goal deficit, something which has not happened to this team since a 4-1 defeat to Emmaus (Pa.) in 2005

POSTGAME Eastern tried its best, but found the Oak Knoll defense difficult to solve. Indeed, the Vikings’ chance was a 17-minute phase of the first half when it dominated possession, but did not come up with the goods

FULL TIME The horn sounds and the Royals win the game 4-1

59:32 OK GREEN CARD

59:00 The Oak Knoll supporters sense victory

58:00 Chanting erupts from the Oak Knoll student body; gosh, is the entire upper school (260 students) here tonight?

54:07 Timeout, Oak Knoll

53:30 OK PC Shotgun corner leads to a one-timer that is blocked by the Eastern defense

51:00 OK PC Pettisanti double-teams the shooter and denies!

50:30 OK PC Donahue puts it off an Eastern foot; will re-rack

49:22 GREEN EHS Ryleigh Heck is off for delay of game

48:00 OK PC Hi-lo is saved by Santore and cleared by Tara Somers

45:13 EHS GOAL Heck with some terrific work in the attack end; Carlee Thompson smacks a ball that is deflected in; Oak Knoll still leads 4-1

43:26 Timeout, Eastern. How are the Vikings going to come back from this? Last time Eastern was down four in any game was in the mid-2000s, the afternoon Eastern lost to Emmaus (Pa.) to break the team’s 155-game unbeaten streak

42:40 OK PC Deflected shot falls to Megan Joel who can’t put it by the Eastern defender

41:39 OK PC Shot is whiffed; 16Y for Eastern

38:50 Brodeur attacks from the right and can’t get it on goal

37:30 OK PC Murphy with the ball at the penalty spot, can’t score!

37:00 OK PC Comizio with the shot; Santore denies!

34:08 Timeout, Eastern. Anyone wearing maroon and navy in the stands or on the pitch are in a state of shock

34:08 OK GOAL Lily Ramsey with a deft touch of a Bridget Murphy pass! Wow! Oak Knoll leads by four!

31:26 OK GOAL Anabelle Brodeur with a spin move and an excuse-me shot that evades Santore! It’s 3-0 Oak Knoll

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME The possession favors Eastern but the possession was countered by tremendous Oak Knoll man-marking

HALFTIME Oak Knoll scored its goals in the final five minutes of the first half after absorbing several minutes’ worth of Eastern pressure, and these goals count more than just on the scoreboard. They provide a psycholgical advantage to Oak Knoll because they came in the last five minutes of the half

HALFTIME The clock expires for the first half with Oak Knoll up by a count of 2-0

29:16 OK PC and GOAL A pileup in front of goal, and Clare Brennan scoops up the goodies! Oak Knoll leads 2-0

28:45 OK PC Low Comizio shot is tipped, but dangerously

28:00 Superb save by Nina Santore on the backhander!

25:06 OK GOAL Murphy is all by her lonesome in a seam in the Eastern defense and makes no mistake; 1-0 Oak Knoll

22:15 OK PC Comizio shot defensed by Pettisanti; rebound saved by Santore

21:42 Timeout, Oak Knoll

21:30 Izzy Bianco blasts the ball just wide!

17:30 Eastern with the pressure in this phase of play but the Royals defense is on point

13:00 EHS PC Bianca with the shot; Quinn says no

10:40 EHS PC Option left is saved by Quinn

10:00 EHS PC Antunes with a foot

7:00 Eastern free hit in a promising position, but the Vikings play it with a foot

5:10 EHS PC Heck shoots and Quinn with the save!

4:30 EHS PC Spinorama is tackled; will rerack

3:00 OK PC Option left is driven dangerously by Murphy

0:55 OK free hit in a promising position

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Oak Knoll is in the white tops with blue kilts, Eastern is in the maroon with blue numbers and white trim

PREGAME The teams have been warming up on the Alumni Stadium artificial grass, temperatures are at 42 degrees and falling

PREGAME In truth, I think a lot of today’s result is going to come down to goalkeeping. Nina Santore of Eastern and Colleen Quinn of Oak Knoll face their own teams in training every day, and are well-prepared to face the opposition

PREGAME This site’s Eighth Law of Field Hockey may come into play here: late in the season, defense catches up to the natural advantage that an opposing field hockey offense may have

PREGAME There are so many indicators to each team’s success: how will Oak Knoll deal with Eastern’s penalty corner attack? How will Eastern’s defense choose to mark up against Murphy and Brodeur? How will the play of the goalkeepers affect what the other team does?

PREGAME I’ll refer you to yesterday’s preview of today’s Garden State Firm for more details about this evening’s match

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Alumni Stadium on the campus of Kean University for the championship final of the 13th NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, featuring Group IV champion Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) against Non-Public champion Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)

Nov. 15, 2019 — Friday Statwatch for games played through Nov. 13

Hi, everyone. With only a handful of championship games left in the domestic season, the statistical picture is, in spite of itself, rounding into some sort of shape.

Our most significant statistical oddity of the week is something that happened in the 11th minute of a PIAA quarterfinal matchup, when Oley (Pa.) Valley senior Sophia Gladieux pinged a backhand blast from about 15.9 yards into the goal cage being defended by New Hope-Solebury (Pa.). That continued Gladieux’s run over the 200-goal mark, but it also ended a 22-game shutout streak on the part of NHS, and the Lions would give up two more in the next 13 minutes in a 3-1 defeat.

What we have below is our weekly heaping helping of American scholastic field hockey statistics, culled from, amongst other sources, MaxPreps, Berks Game Day, PhilaFieldHockey.com, The Washington Post, Long Island Newsday, The Boston Globe, the KHSAA, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Denver Post.

We really like MaxPreps, because it is easy for the average coach, athletic director, or student manager 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.

GOALS
78 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
76 Katie McLaughlin, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.)
67 Lily Santi, West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.)

66 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
63 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
56 Jordan Carr, Point Pleasant Boro (N.J.)
56 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
52 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
48 Taryn Mayer, Huntingdon Valley Lower Moreland (Pa.)
48 Lauren Wadas, Palmyra (Pa.)
48 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
47 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
45 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)

ASSISTS
38 Abby Periard, South Oldham (Ky.)
38 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
33 Ciana Riccardo, Downingtown (Pa.) West
32 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
30 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
30 Sarah Beers, Oley (Pa.) Valley
29 Amy Griffin, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.)

29 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
28 Hannah Berry, Holden Wachusett (Mass.)
28 Lilly Smith, New Hope-Solebury (Pa.)
28 Annabella Mason, Alexandria West Potomac (Md.)
27 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
26 Kaitlyn Csensits, Emmaus (Pa.)

CAREER GOALS
206 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
157 Lily Santi, West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.)
156* Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
135 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
134 Jordan Carr, Point Pleasant Boro (N.J.)
133 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
131 Bridget Murphy, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
117 Annie Grace Louthan, Chesterfield Matoaca (Va.)
116 Hannah Maxwell, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
115 Lauren Wadas, Palmyra (Pa.)
114 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
109 Lauren Parente, Wyoming (Pa.) Area
104 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
103 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
103 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
102 Rachel Bohn, Newport (Pa.)
102 Alex Wesneski, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
100 Katie McLaughlin, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.)
*–injured

CAREER ASSISTS
123 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
113 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)

GOALS SCORED, TEAM
221 Emmaus (Pa.)
199 Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
188 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
188 Gloucester (Va.)
163 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
156 Oley (Pa.) Valley

GAMES UNDEFEATED
128 Los Gatos (Calif.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
63 Delmar (Del.)
58 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
42 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
41 Somerset-Berkley (Calif.)

If you see a wrong number of if you feel we’re missing something, 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 for reading, and we’ll try to clean this up a bit for next week in time for the Connecticut state finals.