TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

April 7, 2021 — Yet another facet of game play affected by COVID-19

The field hockey community has been stricken hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve seen thus far:

  • States like New Jersey and New York truncating state tournaments to play down to sectional champions
  • States like Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Maryland having parts of their states playing either in the fall or in the spring
  • The ACC playing a fall and a spring season, with a winner-take-all game on April 23rd for the conference’s automatic qualifier bid
  • The NCAA cutting down the Division I bracket to a mere 12 teams, with only two at-large bids
  • The NCAA cancelling Division II and III tournaments altogether
  • The continued postponement of the U.S. women’s national team’s participation in the FIH Pro League, with no end yet in sight
  • California having to wait two months to start its season because of slow advice from the California Department of Health
  • Massachusetts playing under two different sets of rules in the fall and the spring, chiefly dealing with penalty corners
  • Massachusetts further playing under a completely different set of rules from everyone else, mandating 7-on-7 for the entire game

But wait, there’s more.

The Virginia High School League postseason is already under way with teams in 14 brackets playing down to four championships all scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 24th at home sites.

Now, the Class 4A, 5A, and 6A brackets all will have something that the 3A brackets will not have: a “tipping point” game which sees both regional semifinal winners advancing to the state semifinals, whether or not they win the regional crown. These regional semifinals are often some of the tensest and most competitive games of the entire season because the stakes are so high.

But in each of the 4A, 5A, and 6A brackets, only the winner advances; there is no eight-team state tournament in the VHSL this spring.

The bracket to watch amongst the 14 sub-tournaments is definitely the Class 5A Region A bracket. The bracket is seeded solely by district, meaning that long-time rivals Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) and Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) are going to meet April 12th at the National Training Center — in the octofinal round. These, remember, are the two teams which met for the Class 6A final in 2018 in what this site awarded as the No. 2 Game of the Year.

Looming on the other side of the bracket is a Gloucester team which has not played nearly the caliber of opponents that Cox and FC have, but is of no lesser quality. The Dukes have, as far as we can tell, shut out every opponent this season, so the April 14th semifinal match against the winner of Chesapeake Hickory (Va.) and Chesapeake Deep Creek (Va.) will be an interesting indicator, seeing as Gloucester will have had two weeks off between its last regular-season game and the 5A Region A semifinal.

Stay tuned. There are going to be some fireworks in Virginia over the next few weeks.

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