TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for Uncategorized

Apr. 25, 2017 — Top 10 for the week of Apr. 23

Well, there goes the neighborhood. Again.

A raft of interstate results and showdowns have once again shaken up the Top 10, and it’s getting to the point where the competition is so sophisticated and the difference between winning and losing is such a fine knife-edge that you may have a situation similar to a decade ago in college field hockey, where the No. 1 team could have as many as four losses by the end of the season.

Our honorary No. 11 Team of the Week is Naples Barron Collier (Fla.), a team which finally, after six years of trying, got past Vero Beach (Fla.) in the third round of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Tournament. Barron Collier fell behind 5-0 early, stormed back to take a lead at the interval, then took the air out of the ball once ahead 8-7, then scored a short-handed goal with under three minutes remaining.

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 12-0

Eagles have an enormous contest on Thursday against Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.), but an equally troublesome opponent could be the promoted IAAM “B” champions from Glenelg (Md.) Country School

2. Ridgewood (N.J.) 10-0

Traveled to Long Island and beat a good Wantagh (N.Y.) side 13-6

3. Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) 9-0

Panthers had a statement win over Newfield Middle Country (N.Y.) and star midfielder Nikki Ortega

4. Glenelg (Md.) 10-0

Gladiators had a statement win over Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.) last Friday

5. East Setauket Ward Melville (N.Y.) 9-0

Undefeated Patriots draw once-beaten Northport (N.Y.) tomorrow

6. Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) 14-1

Blazers handed Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) their first loss of the season; can they do the same against mighty McDonogh?

7. Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.) 6-1

Wildcats travel to Sayville this Thursday

8. Mount Sinai (N.Y.) 6-2

On a tear since an Opening Day loss to Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.)

9. Moorestown (N.J.) 8-1

Showed pluckiness and a lack of fear against Garden City (N.Y.) in a Gains for Brains victory

10. Franklin (Mass.) 8-0

Big win last Friday against an athletic Andover (Mass.) outfit

11. Naples Barron Collier (Fla.) 15-1

Jaclyn Berry led the Cougars with four goals in their defeat of Vero Beach

Who’s out: Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) 11-8 loss to Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.); Garden City (N.Y.) 11-8 loss to Moorestown (N.J.); Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) 9-4 loss to Mount Sinai; Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) 9-4 loss to Darien (Conn.)

And bear in mind: San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) 15-0, Darien (Conn.) 6-2, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) 17-1, Eastport-South Manor (N.Y.) 8-1, Manhasset (N.Y.) 5-3, Garden City (N.Y.) 11-1, Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.) 9-0, Apex (N.C.) 12-0, Massilon Jackson (Ohio) 10-0, Wilson West Lawn (Pa.) 12-1, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) 10-1, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.) 11-5

Apr. 24, 2017 — An unusual announcement

There was a dispatch written in PhilaFieldHockey.com yesterday about a male field hockey player making a commitment to a Division I college.

There have been occasions, especially in light-contact sports such as basketball, when male practice players have been brought in to provide competition for a women’s athletic team on campus. Many Division I women’s basketball teams have gotten better by playing against men during practice sessions, getting used to a different level of speed and strength.

Field hockey clubs near college teams are often invited to play friendlies, to show different skill levels, and to generally swap bits of knowledge about the game to get better.

But for Christian DeAngelis, the Doylestown Central Bucks West (Pa.) senior, his path is much different from the one that David Schmoyer took a quarter of a century ago. Schmoyer also played for C.B. West before taking his talents to the U.S. men’s national team in the early 2000s.

Back then, the role of men in developing women’s athletic teams was receiving a certain amount of scrutiny because of their widespread use in basketball. There was a movement in 2007 to ban the practice, but instead the language was clarified as to eligibility and benefits.

I’m surprised that, with the seemingly annual controversies about boys playing field hockey in high school on girls’ teams, that some university hadn’t decided on assembling a formal scrimmage team before now.

Might this be the start? Stay tuned.

Apr. 23, 2017 — Nipping at New York’s heels

If you sat for 10 hours and glimpsed action at the lacrosse field and the football field of Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) yesterday for the Gains for Brains Showcase, you not only were impacted by the changeable weather, but you were in for more than a stunner when it came to the results.

More like six stunners. In the six interstate matchups on the day, the New York teams won none of them. That’s right; none.

Of course, none of these matches were seeded, but were planned well in advance. The quality of players and teams, however, were supposed to be reasonably at an even level.

Still, there were some notable performances on the day. Ridgewood (N.J.), a defending state champion which lost in overtime of last spring’s Tournament of Champions final, beat Wantagh 13-7. The streaky Maroons scored the first five goals of the game, as well as the last four.

The Panthers of Bridgewater-Raritan, having worked so hard over a quarter-century to achieve parity with the nation’s elite, had a fine game against Newfield Middle Country (N.Y.) and its star center, Nikki Ortega. The UNC-bound midfielder had a hat trick by the interval, but B-R went on a run in the second half to win 17-9.

Moorestown (N.J.), after losing in this tournament a year ago, played outstanding lacrosse in beating Garden City (N.Y.), especially in the opening of the second half. With the score 6-5 at the interval, the Quakers scored five straight to open the second half, and ran out 11-8 victors.

Summit, the Tournament of Champions winner, took on host Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) in the nightcap and, like Moorestown and Bridgewater-Raritan before them, won the draws and tacked on goals after the halftime break as the Hilltoppers won 12-6.

Darien (Conn.), a team toughened by early interstate competition, played above its won-loss record in beating Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) 12-4. Though Emma Jaques will be remembered for her six-goal effort for the Blue Wave, there was an important facet to this game that could resonate throughout the rest of the CIAC girls’ lacrosse season. The Darien close defense of Abigail Hancock, Logan Book, Annie Wright, and Laurie Travaglini kept the Phantoms off the board for long stretches of the game.

Another interstate game of note was New Canaan (Conn.) beating previously undefeated Northport (N.Y.) 9-8. Campbell Armstrong had a hat trick for the Rams, who play Darien on Saturday.

Apr. 22, 2017 — Your Gains for Brains preview

Today’s Gains for Brains Invitational features nine matches at Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.).

With all due deference to the eight teams playing at the school’s upper field, the delicious action of the day will be occurring on the school’s football pitch. The five games starting on the even-numbered hours are all interstate matchups which feature nationally-rated teams and great traditions.

Take, for instance, the opener between Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) and Darien (Conn.). The Phantoms have done very well in Suffolk Class “C” the last decade or so, despite having great sides awaiting them in this tournament or the Nassau-Suffolk playoff to even get to the state semifinal round. Darien, coached by the long-time skipper Lisa Lindley, lost to fellow G4B participant Garden City (N.Y.) by six just a week ago.

Speaking of Garden City, the Trojans will take on long-time New Jersey powerhouse Moorestown (N.J.). The Quakers come into this weekend in the unusual position of not being the Tournament of Champions holder, and having two losses on their schedule.

I think, however, the best game will feature Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) against Newfield Middle Country (N.Y.). B-R beat Moorestown in the last fortnight, and Middle Country (a co-op team featuring students from Newfield and Centereach) will have the services of Carolina-bound senior Jamie Ortega, one of the leading scorers in the history of the National Federation.

I think the noon match between Wantagh (N.Y.) and Ridgewood (N.J.) deserves a bigger buildup. Undefeated Ridgewood is a New Jersey state champion, having lost the Tournament of Champions final last spring by a goal to Summit (N.J.). Wantagh already has three defeats on its schedule, including a loss just two days ago to a very tough and determined Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.J.).

Enjoy the games, everyone.

Gains for Brains Schedule
10 a.m. – Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) vs. Darien (Conn.)
11 a.m. – Farmingdale (N.Y.) vs Yorktown Heights Yorktown (N.Y.)
12 p.m. – Wantagh (N.Y.) vs Ridgewood (N.J.)
1 p.m. – Greenport-Southold-Mattituck (N.Y.) vs Bardonia Albertus Magnus (N.Y.)
2 p.m. – Garden City (N.Y.) vs Moorestown (N.J.)
3 p.m. – Eastport-South Manor (N.Y.) vs Suffern (N.Y.)
4 p.m. – Newfield Middle Country (N.Y.) vs Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.)
5 p.m. – Northport (N.Y.) vs New Canaan (Conn.)
6 p.m. – Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) vs Summit (N.J.)

Apr. 21, 2017 — Friday Statwatch for games played through April 19

Welcome back to Friday Statwatch, which is our weekly look around the country at girls’ lacrosse, by the numbers.

We’re seeing one reason why Novato (Calif.) has been doing so well this year, as Charlie Rudy became the first known player to break the 100-goal mark this season. But we acknowledge there are some holes in our system.

What can you do? Start by encouraging your school, league, or state governing body to adopt the easy-to-use MaxPreps.com platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams to enter their information there as well as whichever is your local news site, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible.

Below is a compilation of statistics from, amongst others, MaxPreps.com, NJ Advance Media, The Harrisburg Patriot-News, The Providence Journal, The Albany Times-Union, Long Island Newsday, The Worcester Telegram, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MassLive.com, the Denver Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MSG Varsity, the Ann-Arbor News, and The Washington Post:

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, SEASON
105 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)
92 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
90 Ryann Doyle, Seymour (Tenn.)
83 Chelsea Smith, Merritt Island Edgewood (Fla.)
81 Delaney Joyce, Jamestown Ragsdale (N.C.)
75 Avery Curington, Gulf Breeze (Fla.)
73 Jordan Shugrue, Laurel St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.)
72 Kiersen Foust, Greensboro Southeast Guilford (N.C.)
72 Courtney Brianecki, Seymour (Tenn.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, SEASON
68 KateReagan Costello, Gulf Breeze (Fla.)
50 Allie Level, Novato (Calif.)
48 Madison Dunk, Durham (N.C.) Academy
45 Reilly Casey, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.)
45 Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.)
41 Jordan Lappin, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.)
40 Kieran Rinaldi, Mooresville Lake Norman (Mooresville, N.C.)
40 Ryann Doyle, Seymour (Tenn.)

INDIVIDUAL GOALS, CAREER
414 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
335 Jamie Ortega, Newfield Middle Country Central (N.Y.)
327 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)

294 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
251 Abigail Daigle, Millville (N.J.)

250 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
233 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
228 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTS, CAREER
248 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)

INDIVIDUAL POINTS (COMBINED GOALS AND ASSISTS), CAREER
524 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
499 Jamie Ortega, Newfield Middle Country Central (N.Y.)
481 Danielle Van Calcar, Ramapo (N.J.)

441 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
409 Gabrielle Fornia, Medford Lenape (N.J.)
357 Paige Petty, Bernards (N.J.)
350 Jenna Herlihy, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
295 Braelie Kempney, Carthage (N.Y.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
168 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

COACHING WINS
733 Kathy Jenkins, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
521 Deanna Knobloch, Moorestown (N.J.)

Here’s where the “interactive” part of this feature comes in. If you see something you’d like us to address, by all means, please feel 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.

Statwatch is a changeable entity that can be added to at any time. We thank you for reading, and we’ll try to do better next week.

Apr. 20, 2017 — New year, new-ish UWLX

United Women’s Lacrosse (UWLX), a semiprofessional women’s lacrosse league entering its second season, will have the same four teams, many of the same players, and one very important alteration.

There will be a lot more men in the league in various positions. Starting from league commissioner Gary Gait to Long Island head coach Regy Thorpe, to Boston GM Andrew Fink, there will be a lot more male input in the league than last year, when the mantra was very much “by women, for women.”

The league showed a bit more aggressiveness in the last few weeks, holding its draft last week, selecting players who still retained NCAA eligibility.

Long Island, the league’s defending champion, had the most to fill with goalie and league MVP Devon Wills choosing her duties with the U.S. national team over playing with her club side. The Sound added goalie Caylee Waters from North Carolina, as well as defender Nadine Hadnagy from Maryland, and UNC draw specialist Sammi Jo Tracy. In other words, the Sound got a whole lot louder.

The Baltimore Ride, which came on strong last year late but fell short of the title match, has remade a good portion of its roster. The team added Maryland graduates Brittany Poist, Zoe Stukenberg, and Caroline Wannen, as well as local favorite Sammi Burgess, who rejoins her high school teammate Taylor Cummings. The impact newcomer, however, may be Penn State’s Steph Lazo.

The Boston Storm, who came within 13 minutes of beating Long Island in the final, add Ohio State’s Jennifer Schmitt and Kaila Gottlick, but has made a major impact in adding postgraduate players who currently coach other players. Joining the team is St. Anselm head coach Caitlin Villareal, Brown assistant coach Bre Hudgens, and Mount Ida head coach Nicole Poli. Poli becomes the only NCAA Division III player on any UWLX roster.

For its part, the Philadelphia Force is having its own makeover because players like Michelle Tumolo are preparing for the World Cup. Boston College goalie Zoe Ochoa will give Bridget Bianco a tussle for the starting goalie position. Bryn Boucher comes in from the University of Maryland. And Olivia Hompe, a promising attacker from Princeton, was also drafted by the Force.

The league fixtures are a little different this time around, with the league starting play in Attleboro, Mass., the day between the national semifinals and finals. Attleboro is just 15 minutes down I-95 from Gillette Stadium.

As was the case last year, UWLX fixtures are scheduled to coincide with major youth tournaments. The final, for example, is to be held on Wednesday, Aug. 2, but it is in the midst of the Lake Placid Summit Classic.

Which means it should be a lot cooler for players and spectators alike.

Apr. 19, 2017 — Seeking new partners

Since the United States Field Hockey Association partnered with the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women to host a national collegiate championship in 1975, the field hockey Final Four has been a movable feast. The tournament used to range from Princeton, N.J. to Chico, Calif., though more recently, the national semifinals and finals have settled into a somewhat predictable group of sites.

And the tournament has almost invariably been held on a college campus.

Yesterday’s announcement of more than 600 NCAA tournament sites in 84 sports may have made news because of the partial repeal of HB2 in the State of North Carolina, but deep in the agate for tournament sites was a two-year period for Division III field hockey that had a new and unusual name attached to it.

The name is Spooky Nook.

The Home of Hockey, which opened in 2013, has been the home training ground for the U.S. women’s national team for nine months out of the year as well as the site of maybe four collegiate games and a handful of international matches.

Aside from these and USFHA events, however, the two turfs at the Nook lay fallow. But beginning in the fall of 2018, the best of the non-scholarship NCAA field hockey teams will meet there to crown a champion.

It is the first time that the NCAA has hosted its championship at a facility operated by the national governing body of the sport. It’s also the first time a national field hockey championship has been played away from a college campus since the Division II festival in Pensacola, Fla., in 2006. That year, the field hockey championship was held at Ashton Brosnaham Park, a soccer and softball complex.

It’s an interesting development, one which does little to dispel the notion that history tends to repeat itself between the worlds of lacrosse and field hockey in the United States. Women’s lacrosse, this spring, is playing its NCAA Division I semifinals and final at a site not owned by a college or university: Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots football team.

The Division III tournament also has another interesting future home: in the fall of 2021, the site will be Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.

The people running Division II women’s lacrosse have a similar kind of geographic notion in bringing the tournament to unconventional sites. In 2019, the tournament will be held in Allendale, Mich., home of Grand Valley State University. And in the spring of 2020 and 2022, the tournament semifinals and final will be held in St. Charles, Mo., at Lindenwood University.

In comparison, the Division I women’s lacrosse committee seems to love holding its tournament in Maryland. After the previously announced 2018 tournament at Stony Brook University, the tournament will spend three out of the next four years at Homewood Field at Johns Hopkins University. The lone interruption is a short detour up Charles Street to Towson University for the spring of 2021.

The next five years in field hockey sees Louisville hosting the Division I and III tournament in 2017, but only the Division I Final Four returns for 2018, followed by appearances at Wake Forest, Old Dominion, and Michigan.

In Division II field hockey, Millersville also gets two future tournaments in 2019 and 2021, with Bloomsburg in 2020. But in 2018, the Division II tournament will be part of a Division II festival centered in Pittsburgh. While the host of the field hockey tournament will be Slippery Rock, it’s unknown whether the campus, a mere 55 miles due north of the Steel City, will be the site of competition.

The hosting opportunity for Slippery Rock is an enormous boost for a program which was on the chopping block 11 years ago.