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Nov. 19, 2021 — Friday Statwatch for games through Nov. 17

Today is one of the greatest days in field hockey: the semifinals of the NCAA Division I and II tournaments are played today, capped off by what is likely to be the last final of the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions. And on one of the greatest days in hockey, we’re recognizing some of the greats in Friday Statwatch.

Our statistical occurrence of the week is in the small town of Elverson, Pa. (pop. 1,225). The town has a pretty good field hockey team called Twin Valley, which is on the brink of a PIAA championship tomorrow. On this year’s team, we have not one, but two players who have joined a remarkable group of players that we like to call the 30-30 Club. Both Natali Foster and Emma Winther have recorded more than 30 goals and 30 assists this year.

Foster, a senior who is matriculating to Drexel University next fall, has an additional designation. With her assist on last Tuesday’s overtime goal against Center Valley Southern Lehigh (Pa.), she joins Haley Schleicher in the highly exclusive 50-50 club.

Opposing Twin Valley tomorrow is Gwynedd-Mercy Academy, located in the small village of Gwynedd Valley (pop. 1,122). The Monarchs have a senior forward named Alaina McVeigh, who has 69 goals on the season. Now, while this space seems to have been about the exploits of Ryleigh Heck and Talia Schenck this year, we cannot forget McVeigh, who is one of those well-skilled W.C. Eagles players who has had to match skills with Heck and last year’s goals leader Hope Rose in practice. The Class AA game tomorrow should be fun to watch.

In the red type below is our usual weekly panoply of American scholastic field hockey statistics, culled from, amongst other sources, MaxPreps, Berks Game Day, the KHSAA, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Advance Media.

We would like to get as many coaches and other field hockey people to register for the platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams as well as perhaps your conference, league, or your state governing body to enter field hockey information there, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible. 

122 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
113 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
69 Alana McVeigh, Upper Gwynedd Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
65 Caitlin Nicholls, Haddonfield Haddon Heights (N.J.)
62 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
56 Finley Payne, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.)
56 Rylie Wollerton, Gibsonia Pine-Richland (Pa)
53 Olivia Fraticelli, Toms River (N.J.) North
53 Ava Zerfass, Emmaus (Pa.)
52 Molly Catchpole, Watchung Mount St. Mary’s Academy (N.J.)
52 Cait Lutz, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
50 Casey Lynn Dewald, Fleetwood (Pa.)
49 Maci Bradford, Delmar (Del.)
48 Brenna Bough, Whitney Point (N.Y.)
46 Lauren Masters, Clinton North Hunterdon (N.J.)
45 Ella Barbacci, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
45 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)

52 Izzy Bianco, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
50 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
40 Riley Hudson, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
39 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
38 Dylan Breier, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
37 Emma Winther, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
35 Macey Vice, Lawrence (N.J.)
32 Alexis Kociban, Emmaus (Pa.)
32 Hope Haynes, Houston Kincaid (Tex.)
32 Sammie Goin, Ashburn Independence (Va.)

320 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
244 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
171 Alaina McVeigh, Gwynedd Valley Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
139 Rylie Wollerton, Chesapeake Western Branch (Va.) and Gibsonia Pine-Richland (Pa)
138 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
134 Olivia Fraticelli, Toms River (N.J.) North
129 Molly Catchpole, Watchung Mount St. Mary’s Academy (N.J.)
129 Casey Lynn Dewald, Fleetwood (Pa.)
125 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
119 Maci Bradford, Delmar (Del.)
117 Victoria Griffiths, Woolwich Kingsway (N.J.)
117 Cait Lutz, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
109 Caitlin Nicholls, Haddonfield Haddon Heights (N.J.)
105 Julia Bressler, Reading Berks Catholic (Pa.)
103 Brynn Crouse, Dillsburg Northern York (Pa.)
102 Lauren Masters, Clinton North Hunterdon (N.J.)
90 Josie Hollamon, Delmar (Del.)
86 Megan Normile, Plumstead New Egypt (N.J.)

125 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
106 Izzy Bianco, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
91 Dylan Breier, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
90 Riley Hudson, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
85 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
83 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
82 Gianna Puorro, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
78 Hope Haynes, Houston Kincaid (Tex.)

95 Delmar (Del.)
41 Emmaus (Pa.)

95 Delmar (Del.)
41 Emmaus (Pa.)

While we’ve spent time on this listing, I’m pretty sure there is a flaw or two. If you see something missing or out of place, feel free to send an email at Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the needed changes.

Thanks for coming to this segment and we’ll talk again the day after Thanksgiving.

Nov. 18, 2021 — Inside the NCAA Final Four


The obvious: A matchup of two good field hockey teams, two good coaching staffs, and a lot of very smart players.

The not-so-obvious: Field hockey has been on the Harvard campus, in some form, for 120 years. Constance Applebee demonstrated the sport while doing her teaching studies at Radcliffe College. Her first demonstration of the sport was in the courtyard of the first iteration of Hemenway Gymnasium, which stood where the current Littauer Center for government and public administration sits. Harvard was also one of the first schools to announce a shutdown of classes last March because of the pandemic, and the Ivy League did not play a single field hockey game during the 2020-21 academic year.

Key players: Harvard: Hannah Pearce, sr., d; Mimi Tarrant, sr., f/m; Avery Donahue, so., f; Megan Joel, fr., m; Mazarine Broze, so., f; Northwestern: Maddie Zimmer, so., f; Lauren Wadas, so., f; Bente Baekers, jr. f; Clara Roth, gr., f; Maren Seidel, sr., f.m; Maddie Bacskai, gr., d

Harvard wins this game if: they score the first goal. The Crimson have an extremely stingy defense, one that allows a mere 0.44 goals per game.

Northwestern wins this game if: the game goes goalless into the final quarter. Players like Wadas and Zimmer are proven players who come through in the clutch.

The skinny: Much will be made of the fact that Harvard has 11 foreign players on its roster. But Northwestern also has a half-dozen offshore players, and doubtless one or more will have an impact on the outcome of the match.

The unanswered questions: How will the Americans on both sides of the center stripe fare? Will the attacks be generating corners or will the teams try to go for goal shots from open play? Which defense will hold, especially in the first 15 minutes?


The obvious: This is a chalk-and-cheese matchup between a Maryland program which has won eight national championships, against a Liberty side is in its first Final Four,

The not-so-obvious: Liberty has been building up to this very moment for years, especially after a one-goal loss to North Carolina in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Key players: Maryland: Bibi Donradt, sr., m; Hope Rose, fr., f; Emma Deberdine, jr., m; Rayne Wright, so, m; Margot Lawn, jr., f; Liberty: Daniella Rhodes, sr., f; Jill Bolton, sr., f; Bethany Dykema, jr., d; Azul Iritxity Irigoyen, so., g

Maryland wins this game if: the Terrapins are able to get their sophisticated midfield passing game going. If Donradt scores on the first corner of the game, it could be a long afternoon for Liberty.

Liberty wins this game if: they take control the first 10 minutes of the game. The Flames lead Division I in scoring, and have the ability to stamp their authority on the game.

The skinny: Liberty has the longest current win streak in NCAA Division I. The team is also unbeaten against Top 25 teams in its last eight outings.

The unanswered questions: It has been a long time since a Division I team with zero previous wins in national tournament play has made it this far. Can the Flames keep their belief going over the next two games? Has Maryland made it all the way back from last spring’s inability to make the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament? With all of the offensive talent on offer, which Terp will step up?

Nov. 17, 2021 — A first-in-the-nation postseason feature ends this week, it seems

In the most recent meeting of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, the first reading of a bill to eliminate the postseason Tournament of Champions was done and entered into the records.

The Tournament of Champions is a separate postseason competition which takes the state titleholders from each current group, and pits them together in one competition for an ultimate winner, kind of like a trophy dash at your local short track.

The reasons for the cessation of the Tournament of Champions, for me, do not rate for reasons of rational thought.

One reason, which is actually on the record, is to prevent those teams in the Tournament of Champions from feeling bad for losing in the course of its playing.

Said NJSIAA chief operating officer Tony Maselli.,“Spreading the positives of a group state championship is where we should go.”

In other words, the only reason to not have these single eliminations contests is to feel good.

Another reason cited by the NJSIAA is the shortening of sports seasons. Under new proposals, scholastic sports teams in New Jersey are limited to just 24 regular-season games, and the calendar shoves the end of the winter season to early March rather than the tail end of March.

These two reasons, as well as a number of other checks on out-of-state competition and some draconian rules from 20 years ago making transfers sit out large chunks of the athletic calendar in every sport they play, are meant to curb excesses in one sport: basketball.

Now, I understand that New Jersey doesn’t want to allow what has happened in Nevada with Finlay Prep or in Ohio with Bishop Sycamore — to have sports-agent types, shoe companies, or hangers-on creating sports entities outside of the normal realm of scholastic sports.

The problem is, it’s already happening. Remember how the Development Academy, that U.S. Soccer program that had adherents in many states, siphoning off talent from the schools, and playing 11 months out of the year, collapsed a year ago? There are still privately-run academy leagues such as the Elite Club National League and the MLS Academy League.

And in the case of field hockey, you’re seeing aggressive moves on the part of some clubs to assemble top coaching talent and put their clubs into palatial facilities that can operate year-round.

A number of people I know believe that there will be a nationwide club league for field hockey within five to 10 years.

Question is, does the phalanx of rulesmakers realize that over-regulation of youth sports could be the precipitating action in all this?

BULLETIN: Sept. 16, 2021 — The end is nigh for one of the all-time winningest field hockey coaches

In the gloaming of a football stadium in the Tierrasanta neighborhood of San Diego, the markings on the competition surface still say “Serra,” with a large caricature of a conquistador, painted in brown and gold. This contrasts with the fact that the home team’s field hockey uniforms are trimmed in black and red, representing the renamed Rattlers of San Diego Canyon Hills (Calif.).

With a whistle and a whoop from visiting Poway (Calif.), Canyon Hills dropped its opening round match of the CIF San Diego Section Tournament.

What this also does is end the career of Canyon Hills head coach Laurie Berger, a true coaching legend in the sport. Berger has labored on the left coast for decades, winning 878 games and 17 sectional championships.

She has also helped promote the sport with a unique in-season tournament, the Canyon Hills/Serra Tournament. It is unique in that the competition is held over two consecutive weekends, with teams obligated to play three games in a day. The first weekend is group play with four teams in four groups each. The following weekend is knockout play, with the top two teams in each group filling out an eight-team bracket for a champion.

Nowhere in the rest of the U.S. field hockey calendar does such a tournament exist.

The winner of the Canyon Hills/Serra Tournament is usually the team that becomes the favorite to win the postseason, whether it is one sectional tournament, two (as it was for a few years), or the current three-bracket system, with an Open, Division I, and Division II tournament.

Canyon Hills lost the 2021 tournament to neighboring San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) by a 1-0 score, so Berger had to know that her team would have to extend itself in order to improve and make a deep run in this week’s tournament.

But in this year of change, one which saw a name change for the school and a shortened winter/spring field hockey season, it’s perhaps fitting that an unexpected challenger came out ahead on this evening.

Berger says she’ll still have her hand in the game, running the Canyon Hills/Serra Invitational after her retirement as coach.

“No one knows how to run my tournament,” she tells The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I just want people to know we have a good program and there was not just something in the water in Tierrasanta. The girls worked really hard to make this all happen.”

Truer words were never spoken. From Team USA’s Kris Fillat to Cal-Berkeley star Megan Rodgers, Berger has helped develop a number of tremendous players over the years. And she has fielded tremendous teams, which has sparked other teams in San Diego County to raise their game.

That, I think, is Laurie Berger’s greatest influence. Without Serra’s excellence, you wouldn’t have the current three-prong rivalry of Canyon Hills, Scripps Ranch, and San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.). Without Berger, you might not have seen the purple patch of form that Escondido San Pasqual (Calif.) had in the 1990s. Without the program pushing the boundaries, you wouldn’t have seen new teams make an impact like San Diego Canyon Crest Academy (Calif.).

And you might not have seen a sleeper team like Poway come through like it did tonight.

Nov. 16, 2021 — Top 10 for the week of Nov. 14

There’s only a week to go in the domestic field hockey season, and, amazingly, our Top 10 went through last week — a week full of high-tension matches — undefeated.

Usually, there’s one week in November where losses take out a number of top teams, so this week of stability is highly unusual. We’ll know in a few days which teams are going to be the survivors in the several states.

The No. 11 Team of the Week is Ramapo College. The Roadrunners beat FDU-Florham 2-1 in the final of the ECAC Division III field hockey championship. It’s the first major trophy for Ramapo in program history.

1. Delmar (Del.) 17-0
Delmar will take on Georgetown Sussex Academy (Del.) tomorrow for a berth in the DIAA Division 2 championship game

2. Emmaus (Pa.) 26-0
Hornets have drawn an in-form Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) team in the semifinals of the PIAA Class AAA Tournament

3. Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 19-0
Season complete:
Falcons won VHSL Class 5 title with a 1-0 win over Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.)

4. Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 20-1
Churchwomen take on Pottstown Hill School (Pa.) in the PAISAA final tomorrow at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, Pa.

5. Pottstown Hill School (Pa.) 16-1
Hill takes on Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) in the PAISAA final tomorrow at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, Pa.

6. Northport (N.Y.) 21-0
Season complete:
Tigers had two shutouts in the state semifinals and championship games this weekend; about the only obstacles the team faced was a tornado in the semifinal game and a no-show bus on the day of the title game

7. Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 19-2
Knights’ high-powered attack goes against the Cinderella of the tournament, Herndon Line Mountain (Pa.) in the PIAA Class A semifinals today

8. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 22-2
Vikings, saving their best hockey for late in the season, are going to need it in the Tournament of Champions semifinals. There, they will have to meet North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.), who bested a good West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.) side

9. Lower Gwynedd Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.) 19-2-1
The District 1-AA champs will be playing Mechanicsburg (Pa.) this evening for a chance at the state final

10. Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) 22-0-1
Falcons play Central York (Pa.) in the PIAA Class AAA semifinal in a game played this evening at Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)

11. Ramapo College 15-7
Roadrunners’ record is not only the best in program history, it was only the third time the program has ever finished above .500 for the season

Who’s out: None

And bear in mind: San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) 16-2-1, San Diego Canyon Hills (Calif.) 18-3, Encinitas Torrey Pines (Calif.) 21-3, Los Gatos (Calif.) 16-1, Aurora Regis Jesuit (Colo.) 16-0-1, Darien (Conn.) 17-1, New Canaan (Conn,) 18-0, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.) 19-3, Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 15-2, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.) 21-6-1, Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.) 24-3, Severn Archbishop Spalding (Md.) 15-1, Watertown (Mass.) 21-0, Andover (Mass.) 19-0-1, Walpole (Mass.) 21-0, Boxford Masconomet (Mass.) 19-0-1, Franklin (Mass.) 20-1, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 20-2-2, Ann Arbor Skyline (Mich.) 16-2-1, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 21-3, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) 22-2, Clinton North Hunterdon (N.J.) 21-1, Whitney Point (N.Y.) 18-0, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (N.Y.) 16-2, Columbus Bishop Watterson (Ohio) 19-0-1, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) 22-1, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.) 25.2, East Greenwich (R.I.) 16-1-1, Yorktown Tabb (Va.) 22-0, Arlington Yorktown (Va.) 21-1, Chesapeake Great Bridge (Va.) 19-3, Norfolk (Va.) Academy 21-2, University School of Milwaukee (Wisc.) 14-0-1, Houston Kincaid School (Texas) 17-1

Nov. 15, 2021 — A few thoughts on three levels of collegiate hockey

This past weekend, ten tickets were punched to the NCAA Division I, II, and III Final Fours for field hockey. Our warm takes on these tournaments aren’t quite as “hot” as they would have been yesterday, but it’s worth it to keep calm and let one’s thoughts simmer for a minute or two.

Three years ago, NESCAC rivals Middlebury and Tufts met each other at Spooky Nook — the only known NCAA game to be played indoors — in the Division III final. But this year, the two teams were in the same quarter of the bracket, meaning that these rivals would be playing in the national quarterfinal round. Middlebury beat Tufts 2-0, which follows on the Panthers’ 2-1 OT win on October 10th.

Two teams from the New Jersey Athletic Conference made the field for the 2021 Division III championship. But the The College of New Jersey was not one of them. The program has been at or near championship level every year since 1981, making the tournament every year except for four occasions.

Instead, other NJAC teams have picked up the torch. Rowan University has earned its way into the Division III semifinal round. The Profs are an interesting story, in that the team’s three leading goal scorers were deathly rivals in high school. Leading scorer Julia Patrone is from a family of field hockey players from Sewell Washington Township (Pa.), and Patrone also played two seasons at Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.). The two players tied for second in goals are Kristiina Castagnola and Krystyna Hovel, both from rival Voorhees Eastern (N.J.). Credit the Rowan coaching staff for getting the players to put aside their histories and work towards team goals.

In Division II, East Stroudsburg made its fourth consecutive national semifinal with a 2-1 win over Bentley. The Warriors have made every Division II tournament on offer since winning the national championship in 2015, and are looking to try to maintain that consistency this Friday against Shippensburg, which was a three-time champion between 2016-18.

Division I’s field hockey results yesterday saw out the four top seeds in the tournament, something that has happened only twice in D-1 tournament history. The results also saw out every team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was the top field hockey conference for most of the last 20 years. Instead, the bracket now has Northwestern and Maryland from the Big Ten, Liberty from the Big East, and Harvard for the Ivy League.

Liberty University’s field hockey team has been in the headwaters of conversation when it comes to contenders for national honors ever since losing by one goal to a highly-ranked UNC side in the 2014 tournament. But ever since, the Flames have been on the outside looking in when it comes to Selection Sunday. There were a couple of years when Liberty missed out on selection to the field by thousandths of a point when you grade out either Ratings Percentage Index or strength of schedule. Liberty, with a shootout win over Rutgers, takes on Maryland in Friday’s national semifinal.

Liberty has an interesting story within its ranks: the Dykema family. These players never played a minute of scholastic field hockey, but were homeschooled and played their club field hockey with Scotty Tyson’s Saints club. Ashley Dykema is a fifth-year senior, Bethany Dykema is a junior, and Emily Dykema is a sophomore.

There is a kicker in this story that cannot be said about any of the large families that have sent field hockey players to the next level. In addition to the three Dykema systers, their younger brother Corey is a practice player for the Flames as well as a member of the U.S. junior men’s national team.

Northwestern University has been a hidden bastion of women’s sports the last 20 years. While the women’s lacrosse team has won seven national titles since 2005, the school has seen other recent successes. The women’s basketball team tied its record for wins in 2019-2020 before seeing its season end due to the global pandemic. The softball team came in second at the 2006 College World Series.

But with some dramatic goals over the weekend on Iowa’s home ground, the Wildcats have made the Final Four for the first time in 27 years. Friday afternoon, Northwestern ensured that there would be a new national title-holder with a win over three-time defending champion North Carolina. The capper on the win was a golazo by Maddie Zimmer in the final minutes of play. Sure, it was against a UNC defense playing without a goalie, but it was all to do for the U.S. national team selectee, who pinged it in from the tightest of angles.

Two days later, the Wildcats played host Iowa, and Lauren Wadas punched in a goal that somehow evaded five Iowa players. Wadas (Palmyra, Pa.) played her school hockey less than two miles from where Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) played hers.

Finally, a word on the streaming coverage of the Division I octo- and quarter-final rounds.


In an era when the NCAA has literally been caught committing acts of inequality on social media, the field hockey “coverage” has been nothing short of outrageous. The quarterfinals should be staggered to give each of them their own broadcast window. Full announce crews were not hired for the four sites. And the first several minutes of the Friday games at Rutgers were broadcast from two “eye in the sky” cameras at both ends of the pitch, a highly unorthodox treatment of the game.

We learned later that the problems were on the part of weather, which wreaked absolute havoc at several sites during the postseason — at Iowa, Michigan, Syracuse, and Piscataway.

Perhaps it’s time for the NCAA Tournament Committee to spend some of the billions of dollars afforded the football and basketball teams to migrate these tournament sites to more temperate areas.

Nov. 14, 2021 — A historical circle-back

Part of the canon of field hockey’s development in the U.S. is the fact that Constance Applebee came over to the United States from Liverpool on the S.S. Devonian passenger ship on June 22, 1901.

While a student at Radcliffe’s summer school, she demonstrated field hockey in a space where Harvard’s department of government studies sits. Applebee is credited for demonstrating, advocating, and sponsoring the sport in many locales across the U.S., although there are reports of the game being played at Springfield College and Goucher College several years before.

Radcliffe would gain varsity status in field hockey in 1974, in the midst of a long and incremental process of merging with Harvard, a process which started in 1946 and completed in 1999. But for all of Harvard’s long history in the sport, the varsity field hockey team has won only one major trophy in its history: the 2001 ECAC Division I championship.

This evening, however, the school sits on the precipice of winning a second — and much more significant — trophy. In the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division I field hockey tournament, the Crimson won a 3-0 penalty shootout after a gripping goalless draw against Michigan. Rachel Greenwood, Anna Tarrant, and Isa Gooijer all made their shots, while goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo withstood all of the Wolverines’ shot chances. This included a thrilling final shootout try in the third frame when Shahbo, having been separated from her stick in pursuit of Halle O’Neil, pushed the ball away with her now empty gauntlet as the 8-second buzzer sounded.

Shahbo’s push of the ball would have been whistled as a penalty stroke not so long ago. But then again, the game would have been played on grass, the shootout might have been replaced with an examination of two clocks at the scorer’s table for circle penetration time, and the name on the uniform might have been Radcliffe.

Times have changed. And now, Harvard is in the Final Four, just 120 minutes away from being the best team in NCAA Division I. Makes you wonder what Constance Applebee would say.

Nov. 13, 2021 — Championship Saturday on-the-go

This morning, with whistles in Spotsylvania, Va., Centereach, N.Y., and Bordentown, N.J., a full Saturday of championship-level field hockey will spring into life.

Today, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., there will be six state finals in Virginia, five in New Jersey, and four in Maryland. There will be a panoply of quarterfinals in Pennsylvania, the New York state semifinals, and playoff action in Delaware, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

In play today are several teams within our Top 10, as well as some great individual talents. There will be storylines playing out all day long, and we’ll try to keep tabs on them here on the blog.

10:15 a.m., Centereach, N.Y. — When this site first started, our eyes turned towards Long Island, where Centereach had a wonderful central midfielder named Colleen Barbieri and Garden City (N.Y.) was spinning a record 32-game shutout streak.

Times change. The legendary coaches for both of those programs — Diane Chapman and Nancy Cole — are no longer there. And, for the first time in more than 23 years, the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association is holding its state tournament on Long Island. In years past, the tournaments were held in places where it was liable to snow, such as Syracuse, Cicero, Williamsville, and Cortland.

But the winds are a bit warmer off Long Island Sound, and it’s a gorgeous day for the Class B semifinal between Garden City and Vestal (N.Y.). The teams are goalless at quarter-time.

10:40 a.m., Bordentown, N.J. — Olivia Bent-Cole is one of the best field hockey players in the junior class of 2023. She scored the opening goal for Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.) in the NJSIAA Non-Public final. But a hat trick by Emma Ramsey has given Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) a 3-1 lead at the interval. Oak Knoll, before the worldwide pandemic hit, was the last winner of the Tournament of Champions trophy, a prize that is likely not to be awarded after 2021 because of a recent vote in the NJSIAA. Part of the reasoning (and they actually said this) was to have more teams end their seasons with a win.

If you wanted to do that, wouldn’t you go back to last year’s rules and have the teams play out to 21 sectional titles?

11 a.m., Spotsylvania, Va. — Don’t adjust your set; the teams are actually playing on blue turf.

The Virginia High School League’s Class 3 title game is a rematch of the 2020-21 final, played in April at the end of the Fall 2 season. On that occasion, Poquoson (Va.) edged Yorktown Tabb (Va.) 2-1 in overtime. But today’s Tabb is made of stern stuff. The Cats have taken a 2-0 lead and almost got a third at the stroke of three-quarter time, but the goal was disallowed.

Tabb is one of the great stories in scholastic field hockey in the U.S. the last few years. The team had several jaw-dropping seasons, including a 2011 campaign which saw them finish as the No. 2 team in the country. Head coach Wendy Wilson, having taken on the role of AD at the school, has taken back control of the field hockey team and has them playing at a high level. The Tigers have scored 117 goals (well, 119 with today’s game) this season and have yielded just eight.

Poquoson is an interesting story, too. They are your defending small-school state champs, and one of the team’s leaders, Regan Worley, is the daughter of Suffolk Lakeland (Va.) coaching legend Tara Worley.

11:15 a.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — On the school’s football field, the Class B semifinal between Accord Rondout Valley (N.Y) and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (N.Y.) is taking place. The teams are goalless, but BH-BL has been bossing possession. Rondout Valley has, I think, the most interesting nickname of anyone playing today: the Ganders.

11:20 a.m. — Cheshire, Conn. — The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Council is filling out the top half of the Class L bracket today, and two competitive teams are facing each other: Glastonbury (13-1-2) and Cheshire (14-2-1). Glastonbury was one of the best Connecticut schools in the non-championship COVID year, with a 14-0 record. The teams are goalless heading to the fourth quarter.

11:35 a.m. — Reading, Pa. — The thing you have to realize about the Emmaus (Pa.) field hockey team is that (in the parlance of Bill Belichick) it is “a team — T-E-A-M.” For all of the heralded players the Hornets have, it’s Abby Burnett with the first-half brace, and goalkeeper Emma Carl has been doing a superb job keeping Fairview Village Methacton (Pa.) off the board. The score is 2-0 heading to the fourth period in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals.

Which brings us to some of our laws of field hockey: I’ve always said that goalkeepers on dominant teams may often not see any action over the course of a game, but they put in the work during practice and get a lot of reps against their own teams. That’s why the majority of goalkeepers for the U.S. women’s national team the last 20 years have been from the University of North Carolina — Peggy Storrar, Jana Withrow, Amy Swensen, Jackie Briggs and the like.

11:40 a.m. — Delmar, Del. — “The Cousins” strike again for Delmar as the Wildcats have taken a 3-0 halftime lead over Glasgow Caravel Academy (Del.) in the quarterfinals of the DIAA Division 2 Tournament. The scores are by Maci Bradford, Josie Hollamon, and Jordyn Hollamon.

How do you stop those three skilled and quick players when they are in full song? Yes, you can try to cut off angles, but there are other players on the team that can beat you like Ella Shockley, Lilly Waters, and Laela Brown. They are No. 1 in the Top 10 for a reason.

11:45 a.m. — Chestertown, Md. — One of the teams Delmar beat this year was Pocomoke (Md.) City. But despite the defeat, the Warriors have fought through the state’s Class 1A bracket to meet Lusby Patuxent (Md.). These are two teams from small towns (about 2,000 residents each) on opposite sides of the Chesapeake Bay, and, despite being 20 miles from each other, there’s no way to get from one school to the other without taking a three-hour drive involving the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The teams are goalless in the third quarter at Washington College, with Pocomoke hammering at the dam. One phase of play around Minute 41 sees City getting close, but a blast went wide of the goal cage.

12 noon — Centereach, N.Y. — We’re deep into overtime between Roundout Valley and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. Amelia Landry slices a backhand inches wide! Moments later, it’s Lauren Schoonmaker, who ended the season of Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) last week, who is unable to get the felling goal on a penalty corner.

The deeper this game goes, the better you like the chances of Garden City, who won the other Class B semifinal by a 1-0 score. It looks like we are set for a penalty shootout here in Centereach.

So the NYSPHSAA shootout is the same as the FIH shootout, except for the fact that the time to shoot is ten seconds, rather than eight. The goalkeepers have come up large in this phase of the game, and it’s taken until the fourth round of the shootout to get a goal. BH-BL is able to win the shootout 2-1 after Katherine Jensen makes two saves against Rondout Valley’s fifth shooter.

12:20 p.m. — Chestertown, Md. — Pocomoke is able to benefit from a goal two minutes from time to beat Patuxent 1-0. The Warriors clamber up to the side of the stands where it seems about a third of the town of Pocomoke is there supporting the team.

12:25 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.), a team which is a definite threat to win the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, is getting all it can handle from Tabernacle Seneca (N.J.). West Essex, a senior-laden team, gets a goal from junior Gianna Macrino in the fourth minute to take a 1-0 lead.

Though West Essex has seen its North Jersey section as nothing less than a birthright (having won its sectional 38 times), Seneca is pretty much a newcomer when it comes to state finals play. Seneca only opened in 2003 and is the fourth high school within the same district alongside legendary institutions like Medford Lenape, Medford Lakes Shawnee, and Marlton Cherokee.

Seneca ties the score in the 20th minute. The game is afoot!

12:45 p.m. — Spotsylvania, Va. — Chesapeake Great Bridge (Va.) has just taken a 2-0 lead over Spotsylvania Courtland (Va.), the host of the VHSL Class 4 title game. Great Bridge has been on the front foot here in the third quarter and has scored twice in this period to take control of this final.

1 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — The first runaway game of the day is in the Class C semifinals, as Whitney Point (N.Y.), a team just coming off its seventh consecutive sectional championship, leads Sag Harbor Pierson (N.Y.) 7-0.

Er, make that 8-0, as the Eagles put in a penalty stroke.

On the other field, Hoosick Falls (N.Y.) Central is taking a quick corner against North Salem (N.Y.) in the other half of the C bracket, but cannot score. Hoosick Falls has a player named Emma McCart, who has 43 goals this season.

1:10 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — We are now in a weather delay at Bordentown because of a driving thunderstorm as a cold front crosses through. It’s the same front that brought a snow squall to yesterday’s NCAA octofinal game at the University of Iowa. West Essex leads the Group II title match 3-1. Gianna Macrino has all three goals for the Knights.

So, we’ve seen Julia Ramsey with a hat trick for Oak Knoll in the opening game, Macrino with a hat trick in the second game. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of the haberdashery for the day.

1:15 p.m. — Delmar, Del. — The final whistle has sounded, and Delmar beats Caravel Academy 7-0. It is the Cats’ 94th consecutive victory, just 12 short of the fabled mark of 106 by Oklahoma City Casady School (Okla.). It’s “fabled” because it was amassed over 17 years, an unbelievable dominance of the Southern Preparatory Conference.

1:30 p.m. — Allentown, Pa. and Denver, Pa. — It has not been a good day for the two Mennonite schools in the bottom half of the PIAA Class A bracket. Oley (Pa.) Valley dispatched Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite, and Exeter Wyoming Area (Pa.) bested Jenkintown Christopher Dock (Pa.) 5-0. Dock and Lancaster Mennonite are believed to be the only two Mennonite schools playing field hockey in America.

1:45 p.m. — Chestertown, Pa. — It’s game on between Parkton Hereford (Md.) and Glenelg (Md.), a matchup of two storied programs in the Class 2A championship. Hereford has won nine state titles in its history, while Glenelg has won four.

Much like in the 1A game, the teams are a little tentative, but are attacking when given the chance. Hereford has a decent shot off a penalty corner, but the Bulls do not score.

1:49 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — After a 61-minute delay due to thunderstorms, West Essex and Seneca resume the New Jersey Group II final. Right off the first whistle, West Essex gets a penalty corner chance.

West Essex gets a pair of chances; one which dribbles wide, and another smacks the post! The Black Knights are buzzing now and have Seneca on the back foot.

2:00 p.m. — Spotsylvania, Va. — The Class 5 state final is the latest instance of the Mill Dam Creek derby. First Colonial and Frank W. Cox are located about a mile apart in Virginia Beach, on opposite sides of the Mill Dam Creek that runs through town.

They are the grand rivals of Hampton Roads, having won the lion’s share of state championships on offer in the area. Indeed, since 2011, one team has ended the other’s season every year but once.

Cox is led by Zella Bailey and Quin Brathwaite, while FC has top scorer Finley Payne, who has 57 goals on the season, a remarkable number.

Each team gets a corner in the first 10 minutes, but you have to like what Cox does with its transition from defense to offense. The Falcons almost created a snowbird in the attack end, but FC was able to tackle back and end the threat.

2:15 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — In the NYSPHSAA Class A semifinals, Northport (N.Y.), the No. 6 team in the Top 10, already has a 1-0 lead over Clarence (N.Y.). Northport has hit a purple patch of form when it comes to girls’ field-invasion sports. The Tigers were the nation’s finest girls’ lacrosse team last spring, and have a number of athletes from that team playing field hockey.

Northport has a pair of penalty corners at the close of the first quarter, but Clarence solves them and clears.

2:30 p.m. — Denver, Pa. — Gwynedd Valley Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.) takes a 1-0 lead over Palmyra (Pa.), a school which has made a Class AA finals appearance a birthright over the last seven seasons. The Cougars have, in one of the most difficult PIAA brackets to win, gotten to the final six times in the last seven seasons.

Palmyra won the title a year ago, and also were co-champions in 2014 with Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.). Interesting to note: it was that tie game that was the catalyst for the PIAA breaking the tie in the final via penalty shootout.

The goal-scorer is Alaina McVeigh; it is her 170th career goal, good for 16th on the all-time career goal-scoring list.

2:40 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — OK, so get your Scrabble tiles out. In the Class A semifinals for the New York public schools, we have Clifton Park Shenendehowa (N.Y.) against Mamaroneck (N.Y.). Shen gets a dream start, with the Plainsmen scoring off a corner. Lauren Shanahan gets credit for the marker.

Both schools are names taken from the Iroquois nation. Shenendehowa means “great plains” and Mamaroneck loosely means “the place of gathering.”

2:45 p.m. — Chestertown, Md. — Camerson Henson gets the late goal for Glenelg in the MPSSAA Class 2A state tournament, and surely the Gladiators have this one sealed. Even with a late restart deep in the Hereford offensive end, Glenelg runs out the clock to seal a 1-0 win.

3:00 p.m. — Spotsylvania, Va. — Cox scores off a corner in the 41st minute of play and the Falcons, the No. 3 team in the Top 10, has the lead in the Class 5 final. The final quarter is upon us.

3:01 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — Clinton North Hunterdon (N.J.), playing in its first NJSIAA final, takes a 1-0 lead on a deflected goal that goes high into the mesh, but the umpires let it stand. Not sure whether it was the goalkeeper or another member of the defense which played the ball, but senior back Katie Roberts will claim the goal. Now, while the Lions have never been in a state final, Moorestown (N.J.) was the trailblazer for the sport in America, having fielded the first scholastic team in 1909, and earning 17 state championships.

3:10 p.m. — Spotsylvania, Va. — Cox scores off a corner in the 51st minute of play and the Falcons lead 2-0. Cox is looking at earning its 23rd state title. That would tie the Falcons with Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), which will play for its 24th state title in a couple of hours, and put them one behind Severna Park (Md.) — which plays its title match at 6:30 p.m. — and Ann Arbor Pioneer (Mich.).

3:15 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — The two NYSPHSAA Class A semifinals are on hold because of the same thunderstorm and weather front that halted the New Jersey title games a couple of hours ago.

3:25 p.m. — Denver, Pa. — In the 57th minute of play, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy gets a goal from Sydney Mandato to get the eventual game-winner over Palmyra (Pa.).

3:30 p.m. — Reading, Pa. — In the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals, Downingtown (Pa.) West has taken Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) to extra time. Both of these sides have been in the PIAA championship game in the last five years and have sent numerous players to Division I college teams.

3:42 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — Moorestown gets off a shot on its fourth corner, but misses the cage on the restart. The Quakers have not put a ball on frame on any of their PC chances. At the end of three quarters, North Hunterdon still leads 1-0 on that first-quarter goal.

3:55 p.m. — Reading, Pa. — After extra time, Lower Dauphin beats Downingtown West 3-2. The Falcons take on Central York (Pa.) in the Class AAA semfinal round. The winner of that game plays Emmaus (Pa.) or Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) in next Saturday’s final.

4:00 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — Can North Hunterdon see out the last two minutes against Moorestown? North has never been in this situation before, and it shows; a turnover deep on the left wing yielded a Moorestown shot on goal that was deflected wide by the goalie. Oddly enough, it was the Quakers’ first shot on frame the entire game.

The North fans are chanting and clapping as the clock expires! North Hunterdon wins its first state championship in program history with an upset win over Moorestown.

4:05 p.m. — Chestertown, Md. — It is the MPSSAA 3A title match between Gambrills Arundel (Md.) and Clarksville River Hill (Md.). River Hill has had a number of decent players in recent years, and won a title in 2010, but are seemingly putting together a consistent effort at making a self-sustaining athletics program.

And River Hill scores in 10th minute on a field goal by Laura Mason to open its account.

4:15 p.m. — An observation here regarding the PIAA Class 2A bracket. Gwynedd-Mercy has already won, and Archbishop Carroll (a state finalist last year) is playing right now. Villa Maria, the team that handed Eastern its only shutout loss in the last 22 years, is playing at 5 p.m. What if all three made the last four of this bracket?

4:20 p.m. — Spotsylvania, Va. — In the VHSL Class 6 final, Arlington Yorktown (Va.) takes a 1-0 lead over Chesapeake Western Branch (Va.). Yorktown, as you may remember from a story I did back in 2002, is one of the high schools closest to the walls of the Pentagon.

4:25 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — We’re back on with the NJSIAA Group IV title game between Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) and Phillipsburg (N.J.). The Stateliners are in their first state final in a while; the Vikings are looking to win their 23rd consecutive state championship that has been on offer. Ryleigh Heck, she of the 115 goals this season, hacks a backhander from the right wing that bounds over the endline untouched.

Minutes later, Heck is all by her lonesome five yards from goal. Somehow, her shot does not go in, but that’s life as one of field hockey’s greatest scorers.

4:30 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — Apparently, the weather affecting the NYSPHSAA Class A semifinals wasn’t just a thunderstorm. There was a tornado warning that necessitated an evacuation of both fields. They’ll start up within about 15 minutes or so.

4:40 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — At the end of the first period, Eastern leads Phillipsburg 1-0 on a Kara Heck blast from about 15 yards out. I give P’burg credit for not folding. Indeed, the Liners are playing better in the first minutes of the second term, holding the ball and not letting easy through balls into the Eastern attack third.

And just as I type that, a deep ball gets through and Olivia White taps it in from about two yards out. Eastern 2, Phillipsburg 0.

5:12 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — Northport advances to the “A” final for New York with a 5-0 win over Clarence. The other game between Shenendahowa and Mamaroneck is coming up after this one since only one of the two pitches has lights.

5:15 p.m. — Spotsylvania, Va. — Can Yorktown see this game out against Western Branch in Class 6? There are just two minutes remaining. Western Branch cannot seem to get anything going, as Yorktown is playing excellent midfield defense.

And now, with 3.7 seconds left, a player is down injured for the Patriots. Does Western Branch have anything in its playbook off this restart? Yorktown takes it to the corner flag and winds down the clock and the Patriots win the state final!

5:20 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — Eastern has opened the floodgates. Ryleigh Heck and Riley Hudson have generated all kinds of offense, including a goal in the final second of the third quarter than went through five Phillipsburg players. The Vikings have scored on all five shots they took in the third quarter. That’s a way to bat 1.000.

5:25 p.m. — Chestertown, Md. — We’re at full-time in the Class 3A final, with Arundel beating River Hill 2-1. Arundel, a participant in the first two iterations of the National High School Invitational, has seemingly learned its lesons playing against some of the nation’s best.

5:40 p.m. — Bordentown, N.J. — The final horn goes, and Eastern wins its 22nd consecutive state championship with an 8-0 win over Phillipsburg. Credit Ryleigh Heck with three goals on the night, giving her 118 for the season.

5:45 p.m. — Centereach, N.Y. — Remember that early goal that Shen scored against Mamaroneck? It’s still the only goal of the match as we’re at the halftime interval after a hefty delay for that tornado.

OK, although there are a handful of games yet to play, we’re signing off for the evening. Eight hours of this has been tremendously exhausting. We’ll have some hot takes from the NCAA tomorrow afternoon once all the games are played.

Nov. 12, 2021 —  Friday Statwatch for games played through Nov. 10

Welcome back to Statwatch, which is our attempt to use the various statistics from the game of field hockey to connect the present to the past, either for individuals, teams, or coaches.

Our statistics of the week comes from the nation’s flagship program over the last quarter century, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.). In the last week, not only has Ryleigh Heck taken over the national scoring lead with her 115th goal of the season, but her teammate, Izzy Bianco, became only the third known U.S. scholastic field hockey player to record as many as 50 assists in a season. She needs only four helpers in the next week of play to become the all-time leader in helpers for one season.

In the red type below is our usual weekly panoply of American scholastic field hockey statistics, culled from, amongst other sources, MaxPreps, Berks Game Day, the KHSAA, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Advance Media.

We would like to get as many coaches and other field hockey people to register for the platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams as well as perhaps your conference, league, or your state governing body to enter field hockey information there, so that we can aim for as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible. 

115 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
113 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
69 Alana McVeigh, Upper Gwynedd Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
65 Caitlin Nicholls, Haddonfield Haddon Heights (N.J.)
61 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
56 Finley Payne, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.)
56 Rylie Wollerton, Gibsonia Pine-Richland (Pa)
53 Olivia Fraticelli, Toms River (N.J.) North
52 Ava Zerfass, Emmaus (Pa.)
52 Molly Catchpole, Watchung Mount St. Mary’s Academy (N.J.)
49 Casey Lynn Dewald, Fleetwood (Pa.)
45 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
45 Lauren Masters, Clinton North Hunterdon (N.J.)

53 Izzy Bianco, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
48 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
38 Riley Hudson, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
38 Dylan Breier, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
37 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
35 Emma Winther, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
35 Macey Vice, Lawrence (N.J.)
32 Alexis Kociban, Emmaus (Pa.)
32 Hope Haynes, Houston Kincaid (Tex.)
32 Sammie Goin, Ashburn Independence (Va.)

315 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
244 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
170 Alaina McVeigh, Gwynedd Valley Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
139 Rylie Wollerton, Chesapeake Western Branch (Va.) and Gibsonia Pine-Richland (Pa)
137 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
134 Olivia Fraticelli, Toms River (N.J.) North
129 Molly Catchpole, Watchung Mount St. Mary’s Academy (N.J.)
129 Casey Lynn Dewald, Fleetwood (Pa.)
125 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
117 Victoria Griffiths, Woolwich Kingsway (N.J.)
113 Maci Bradford, Delmar (Del.)
110 Cait Lutz, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
109 Caitlin Nicholls, Haddonfield Haddon Heights (N.J.)
105 Julia Bressler, Reading Berks Catholic (Pa.)
103 Brynn Crouse, Dillsburg Northern York (Pa.)
101 Lauren Masters, Clinton North Hunterdon (N.J.)
86 Josie Hollamon, Delmar (Del.)
86 Megan Normile, Plumstead New Egypt (N.J.)

123 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
108 Izzy Bianco, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
91 Dylan Breier, Louisville duPont Manual (Ky.)
88 Riley Hudson, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
83 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
80 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
79 Gianna Puorro, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
78 Hope Haynes, Houston Kincaid (Tex.)

93 Delmar (Del.)
39 Emmaus (Pa.)

93 Delmar (Del.)
39 Emmaus (Pa.)

So, I’ve done my work. Here’s where you can help. If you see something missing or out of place, feel free to send an email at Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the needed changes.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next week.

Nov. 11, 2021 — Lending a name

It was a decade and a half ago when Holly Charrette, a former field hockey player from Cranston (R.I.) East, became the first known field hockey player to die in the Iraq conflict.

Today, in Johnston, R.I., there is a six-bedroom facility dedicated to transitioning women veterans from the battlefield back to civilian life. It bears the name, “Holly Charrette House.” Run by Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, it was opened in July of 2010 and became Rhode Island’s first and only transitional housing for homeless female veterans.

As today is Veterans Day, please remember who gave all in service to our nation. It is particularly poignant that the state of Rhode Island remembers Charrette in this way.