Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

June 30, 2021 — Two down, one to go

Today in Virginia Beach, Va., the third age group of the National Club Championship is being contested by 16 field hockey teams from coast to coast.

In the last week, the W.C. Eagles club side have pretty much swept to victory in the U-14 and U-16 division. The U-19 club side, as listed in the official program, should be a heavy favorite to make it a third gold medal. In fact, I think this roster may be the single strongest side in club hockey in recent memory.

Several of the players on the W.C. Eagles side have just been called into national-team duty, both indoors and out. This includes players such as Hope Rose, Ashley Sessa, Beth Yeager, Ryleigh Heck, and Kelly Smith.

However, this all-star team has to be looking across at other teams in other pools as play continues. That’s because, if W.C. Eagles wins its pool, it will have to play the second-place team in Pool A. At the end of the second round of play within Pool A, the team currently in second are the ShoreByrds, a team featuring a number of well-trained players from the Delmar (Del.) field hockey team, which was the top team in the 2020-21 academic year.

The ShoreByrds are in second only through goal differential, and will be playing Gateway in the third round of pool play tomorrow morning. If Gateway wins or ties this game, the ShoreByrds will play W.C. Eagles in the first-round crossover matches tomorrow afternoon. If the ShoreByrds win, they’ll win Pool A and avoid W.C. Eagles until the final.

Mind you, there are 14 other sides in this competition, each of which have worked long hours to get to this tournament. I think three to look for are Rush, Freedom HKY, and Spirit of USA.

Rush is made up of players from southern California, and had a very hectic and harried winter field hockey season which was pushed back on a number of occasions because of COVID cases in the general population. The team is, therefore, the one which I think may have the greatest sense of anticipation for getting out to play.

Freedom is quickly becoming an excellent club side on the American scene, finishing fourth in the U-14 tournament and third in the U-16 tournament. Spirit of USA has rising junior Olivia Bent-Cole, who is one of the more exciting players in the U-19 division.

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