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Archive for August 11, 2022

BULLETIN: August 11, 2022 — Eastern, staying home

When Danyle Heilig resigned from the head coaching position of Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) after the 2019 season, there were three assistant coaches on her staff.

One, Alex Marshall, took over in 2020. All she did was coach the Vikings to the South-West D sectional championship with an undefeated record at 14-0. It was a season (and a post season) truncated by the global pandemic.

A second Viking assistant, Kerry Heck, took over for the 2021 season. All she did was steer Eastern to a 25-2 record, a 22nd straight state championship, and the final Tournament of Champions.

Today, the third Eastern assistant, Sara Snuffin, was named as the new head coach of the 21st Century’s most dominant scholastic field hockey program.

Snuffin is used to being around the Eastern program, having played goal during the Austin Cuneo years. But I think during the last couple of years, she will have picked up valuable advice and mentorship being around Marshall and Heck.

It would not be surprising at all if the Eastern Express doesn’t miss a beat this fall.

BULLETIN: August 11, 2022 — Year 3 of the NHSI with games hard to analyze

This afternoon, the folks at Max Field Hockey released the schedule for the third National High School Invitational, which will be held the weekend of Sept. 23 to 25 at The Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, Pa.

It is a tournament which will have 68 games featuring 59 schools. We’ve seen a couple of schools already put games on the schedules which are released to the public, but the full schedule is now up.

As we figured, the two best field hockey programs in the nation last year — Delmar (Del.) and Emmaus (Pa.) — aren’t in this competition. But there are plenty of championship-level sides, including the first visitors from the Golden State. I think the best game of the first day of of the tournament, to be held at 3 p.m., is San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) taking on Winnetka New Trier (Ill.).

For the second day, the nightcap between Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) and Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) is going to be a dynamite game between two of the nation’s best programs.

On the Sunday slate, the Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.) contest against Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) is going to be a good contest.

But with the graduation of so many tremendous offensive talents over the last two years in the scholastic game, it’s hard to figure out which of the other games in this tournament are going to the best games to watch.

Sure, there are great teams coming in, such as Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.), and North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.). But there are plenty of teams with great stories, such as the Christian Academy of Louisville (Ky.), Charlotte Myers Park (N.C.), and Buffalo Nichols School (N.Y.).

We’ll try to have our usual three-part preview the week of the tournament with context and perspective you won’t get anywhere else.

August 11, 2022 — The one-year experiment

When Mark Parsons left the Portland Thorns of the NWSL to coach the Dutch women’s national soccer team, his departure was under a bit of a cloud. A league-wide scandal surrounding player abuse had enveloped the Thorns franchise because they had employed Paul Riley, who had been removed from his position at the North Carolina Courage after a 2021 story in The Athletic.

While Parsons wasn’t involved in the scandal, members of Portland Thorns management, including general manager Gavin Wilkinson, were targets of supporters’ ire for hiring Riley.

And less than a year later, Riley is jobless. The national governing body of soccer in Holland has fired Riley after the Oranje, the second-place team at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, finished out of the medals at the recent European women’s soccer tournament. It was a highly unexpected result, even though the team finished undefeated in pool play. France, in the quarterfinals, came up with the overtime goal to advance 1-0.

By failing to make the final, the Netherlands not only are shut out of the 2024 Olympic tournament, but now have to win their final UEFA qualification game against Iceland in order to make the World Cup automatically.

That Sept. 6 game will not have Parsons on the sideline.