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Archive for February 13, 2021

Feb. 13, 2021 — NCAA Division I field hockey preview

The Fearless 5ive:



OK, gang. Let’s get this out of the way. North Carolina should win the 2021 NCAA Division I championship in field hockey.

Emphasis on “should.” The Tar Heels are your two-time defending national champions, have the talismanic national-teamer Erin Matson in the lineup, and have one foot already in the NCAA Tournament with its ACC championship win last November. But that one foot can only be confirmed if it can win a special playoff against the ACC team with the best record in the spring season the week of Selection Sunday.

I think the main rival for UNC for this spring season is going to be the team that beat them in a in a league fixture last fall. That team is Louisville, a side which came up short losing 4-2 to the Heels in the final. The team is going to be led by Argentine star Mercedes Pastor as well as U-21 national team member Alli Bitting, and the Schneider sisters (Megan and Katie) from San Diego. One key player who will not be part of the Louisville effort this spring is Margot Lawn, ta player who is renowned for the quality of some of her goals, including an amazing goal in the ACC semis, has transferred.

Lawn has landed at the University of Maryland, and her attack aptitude may make her the ultimate x-factor for this spring field hockey season. The Terps already have Lawn’s scholastic teammate, Kyler Greenwalt, as well as leading returning scorers Bibi Donraadt and Brooke Deberdine. If the Terps can tighten things up on defense, look out.

Up I-95 at Delaware, the Blue Hens are looking to start building their roster only a couple of years out from their 2016 national championship. The team returns players from great scholastic teams. Start with the electric Grace Miller, late of Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) as well as Ashlyn Carr from multiple state titleist Delmar (Del.). But the foreign invasion could be the difference for the Hens this spring. Leading scorer Femke Strein and Lotte De Koning, both of Holland, will be pacing the attack.

Similarly, the University of Connecticut has made a lot of hay with foreign players on the roster. New head coach Paul Caddy is likely to go the same route, given the fact that all three of the team’s leading returning scorers — Sophie Hamilton (England), Maddy Wray (England), and Claire Jandeworth (Germany) — are imports. But let’s not forget the Americans in the side. Kourtney Kennedy, late of Watertown (Mass.) is a player who never lost a game in high school. And goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher and back Jessica Dembrowski were tremendous players for Palmyra (Pa.).