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Nov. 23, 2017 — Giving thanks

Last weekend, the Darien (Conn.) field hockey team may have lost the Class L state championship to Westport Staples (Conn.), but there is a deserved winner on the Wave.

Meet cancer survivor Catherine Vogt.


Nov. 20, 2017 — The commonality amongst all three PIAA finals

So, coming out of the Saturday tripleheader for the most prominent of field hockey playing states, did anyone notice a commonality?

It was a pretty obvious one: the head coach for all three winning teams was male.

It must be said, however, that the gender of the winning coaches is not nearly the only reason why the winning teams were able to do so this year. Matt Soto, Daan Polders, and Kent Houser have worked over the course of decades to get where they are, learning subtleties about this most subtle and archaic of games in order to become successful.

If you need an example of the kinds of lessons a coach can offer, take the final 10 minutes of the Greenwood-Wyoming Seminary match. There was a collision between Greenwood star player Paityn Wirth and a Wyoming Seminary midfielder right in front of the scorer’s table. It was a bit of a late challenge on the part of the U.S. indoor national team player, and she helped up her opponent with a pat on the back just as the umpire produced a green card.

With a one-goal lead and fewer than seven minutes remaining on the clock, Greenwood had a dilemma: what do you do without your best player?

Fortunately, the Wildcats had that lesson already: it was during a period of a couple of weeks when they did not have Wirth, who was away helping the United States win an FIH Indoor Women’s World Cup berth.

While Wirth was away, the Wildcats were able to beat State College (Pa.) 5-0.

“I think that did wonders for all the other kids and for their confidence, without Paityn on the field,” Houser said.

In the overall debate over the role of male coaches in the current realm of women’s sports, what happened yesterday is something that should be of concern for those aspiring to be good coaches.

However, it is also noticeable that, in this collegiate offseason, there was a change in coaches at Ohio University as Neil MacMillan was let go and replaced by Ali Johnstone. It was a rare occurrence, given the flood of male coaches taking Division I jobs the last 15 years or so.

Nov. 19, 2017 — Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) 2, Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) 1

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — There are certain moments, frozen in time, that define a player, a team, a season, a march to a championship. Such was the drive to goal made by Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) junior Hannah Miller in the 36th minute of play.

On the play, she came into the circle, spun off the tackle from Madison Woods, and spun the ball past the goalkeeper, the winning goal in the Hurricanes’ 2-1 win in the PIAA Class AA championship game over a game Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) side.

“We came in with fire in our hearts, and we had to carry though what we had to do today,” Miller said. “We just had to stay focused.”

Part of that focus was the routine that head coach Daan Polders had established.

“We did the same thing we always have during practice, warmup, and we tried to keep everything the same,” Polders said, “And it reflected in the way we played. Overall, we were prepared to play for the championship today.”

Polders, one of only two known coaches to have won state championships to win state titles in more than one state, has an embarrassment of riches going into 2018 including Miller and midfielder Adele Iacobucci, who played a quiet but solid game in keeping Wyoming Valley West from building attacks in the midfield.

The Spartans, indeed, had come off an splendid two-way effort in beating defending state champion Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) on Tuesday, but could not find the same reward in the state final.

“They were just a very talented team, and they were relentless,” said Woods, the Spartans’ talismanic leader. “But we are a skilled team as well.”

VILLA MARIA (23-1) 1 1 — 2
WYOMING VALLEY WEST (21-3) 1 0 — 1
VMA: Hannah Miller (Erin Finley), fg, 2nd minute
WVW: Karline Stelma (Foto Tsioles), pc, 29th
VMA: Miller, pc, 36th
Shots — VMA: 3; WVW: 11. Saves — VMA: Nikki Hartzel 5, Sydney Rusnock 4; WVW: Danielle Acuna 2.

FULL TIME The horn sounds with Villa Maria taking a 2-1 win

58:50 WVW YELLOW Mercedes Jasterzenski is off

58:40 West is content to take it to the corner flag

57:00 WVW PC Whistled down for an offensive foul

55:00 Villa Maria has been playing to absorb the Spartans’ pressure; how long can they afford to do this?

48:45 Timeout, WVW

47:47 WVW YELLOW A hard challenge sends Stelma off for five minutes; not what you want when you are chasing the game

37:29 VMA PC Dickinson tries to spin past Woods and she is not having any of it

35:04 VMA GOAL Miller takes it into the circle, eliminates Woods, and buries it! Villa leads 2-1

32:00 VMA PC Ball goes left to Iacobucci but her ball is raised

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Villa Maria has had territorial mastery thus far but has only managed a tie; the 29th-minute penalty corner was the only shot on goal for WVW this half

HALFTIME The horn goes off with the game tied 1-1

28:15 WVW PC and GOAL An innocuous shot is rebounded by Karline Stelma! Game tied 1-1!

26:05 VMA PC Option right again; they are going to keep running it until they get it right

25:19 VMA PC Option right; same play as about eight minutes ago, but shot is stuffed

25:00 Timeout, Villa Maria

20:00 Spartans are shooting themselves in the foot with midfield giveaways just as they are building attacks

17:57 Timeout, Wyoming Valley West

17:39 VMA PC Dickinson works it to the right but no shot ensues

16:00 VMA PC Lindsay Dickinson’s shot is saved by Nikki Hartzel

13:29 VMA PC Option-left to Adele Iacobucci, who cranks it wide and high

8:09 VMA PC A bit too long in developing, and Madison Woods with the defense

5:39 VMA PC Whistled down for a dangerous shot

1:57 VMA GOAL Hannah Miller gets the Hurricanes off to a great start; 1-0 Villa Maria

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Wyoming Valley West is in the white with maroon kilts and gold trim; Villa Maria is in the navy with light blue numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up under a cold rain; temps around 43 degrees

PREGAME For WVW head coach Linda Fithian, it’s been a while since she’s been at the state final; 14 years, to be exact. For Daan Polders and Villa Maria, it’s his third state title game with the Hurricanes after a successful stint with Denver (Colo.) Academy

PREGAME For the Hurricanes, watch for U-17 national team member Hannah Miller. WVW will counter with Madison Woods, who started her scholastic career as a scorer, but who marked out Mackenzie Allessie last time out. Bonus: she scored the game-winner against Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) with 3.3 seconds remaining

PREGAME Villa Maria, the District 1 champion, is 23-1 on the season. Wyoming Valley West is 20-2

PREGAME Back now at the Zephyr Coplay Complex for the PIAA Class AA final between Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa) against Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.)

Nov. 19, 2017 — Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.) 2, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 1

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Paityn Wirth has had an incredible last six weeks in her favorite sport.

The junior was part of a U.S. indoor women’s national field hockey team which won its way into the FIH Indoor World Cup for the first time in history. And today, Wirth engineered another series of firsts: a field hockey championship for Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.) with a 2-1 win over Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.).

“Which one’s better?” she repeated a post-game question while holding on tight to the PIAA championship trophy, then she said, “Well, I’ve been with these girls since middle school.”

Wirth showed her array of attack skills throughout the game, but her most important act was her penalty corner goal in the seventh minute of the game, one which gave Greenwood the early lead and got the sizable student section into the game immediately.

“The support of the fans and my teammates were great, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Wirth said.

“What can you say about Paityn Wirth? She took over the game, which we thought might happen,” said Wyoming Seminary head coach Karen Klassner. “My hat’s off to Greenwood, and Kent really got them ready to play today.”

The game-winner came in the final minute of the first half, as Leah Bryner picked up a Leah Fleisher rebound and put the ball over the goal line.

“To give up a goal like that was not good in the scheme of things,” Klassner said. “And that was critical for them; it was the game-winning goal.”

From then on, it was 30 minutes of tense play, one of many new experiences for head coach Kent Houser on an historic day. He has coached softball, boys’ basketball, and field hockey teams at the Perry County school for the past 34 years, but this was his first state final. And as for his coaching philosophy, he kept it simple.

“We wanted to come out and play our game,” Houser said. “We don’t have to play a perfect game; just play well. Our defense has been outstanding this entire playoff run, and it was again today.”

For Wyoming Seminary, a team which has won six previous state titles, the loss must be understood in context. This Blue Knights team is not a product of that enormously talented Lackawanna-Luzerne hockey-playing cohort from the mid-to-late 2000s which included the likes of Olympians Kelsey Kolojejchick and Kat Sharkey.

“What people lose sight of is that our kids haven’t been in a state championship, either,” Klassner said. “They come from a program with such high expectations”

The team that walked off the field yesterday will remain largely intact next fall.

“The thing is, there are more than 300 teams in Pennsylvania, and not many teams ever get here,” Klassner said. “Our goal will be to get back here next year.”

WYOMING SEMINARY (22-3) 1 0 — 1
GREENWOOD (22-5) 2 0 — 2
G: Paityn Wirth, pc, 7th minute
WS: Aubrey Mytych, pc, 26th
G: Leah Bryner (Leah Fleisher), pc, 30th
Shots — WS: 6; G: 11. Saves — WS: Mia Magnotta 9; G: Kelsey Sheaffer 5.

FULL TIME And it’s a well-deserved first state championship for head coach Kent Houser

FULL TIME The horn sounds with Greenwood coming out a 2-1 winner

56:00 WS PC Reznick defensed!

53:14 GHS GREEN Wirth off for two minutes for the push

52:28 Timeout, Wyoming Seminary

49:00 GHS PC First pass to the extreme left and put it into the mixer; Sem clears

45:30 GHS PC Nice stop by Magnotta!

44:30 GHS PC Mistrapped and sent the other way

43:00 WS GREEN Kelsey Reznick for delay of game

42:15 WS PC Shot defensed by Wirth

40:00 A light rain is falling; this could make the turf less bumpy

33:00 WS PC The Knights are peppering Sheaffer and have her down, but Sem cannot unleash the telling shot

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Greenwood is certainly on the front foot and is playing unafraid; let’s see how Wyoming Seminary responds to that late goal

HALFTIME The horn sounds with Greenwood leading 2-1

29:17 GHS GOAL Bryner with a rebound off a Leah Fleisher feed and the Wildcats lead 2-1

25:24 WS PC and GOAL Aubrey Mytych gets a rebound and makes no mistake; game tied 1-1

24:00 WS PC Ends on a mistrap

22:30 GHS PC High shot is trapped at the right post but cannot get a good enough attempt at goal

20:15 GHS PC Bryner defensed by Wesneski

15:00 GHS PC Bryner’s shot is wide

14:35 GHS PC Wirth’s wicked backhander is tipped wide!

14:00 GHS PC Angled shot by Sidney Hicks is saved

11:15 WS PC The shotgun comes from a cluster at the edge of the circle but Greenwood marks effectively

10:30 WS PC 1-up is blocked wide

8:44 Timeout, Wyoming Seminary

8:12 GHS PC Wirth defensed by Alexis Wesneski; Bryner’s follow-up is blocked

6:57 GHS PC and GOAL Wirth with a 1-up and finds the corner! Greenwood leads 1-0

5:00 WS PC Sem tries the shotgun; yields a good save from Kelsey Sheaffer but a follow shot is blown for third-party

2:19 GHS PC Leah Bryner’s 1-up is saved by Mia Magnotta

1:12 GHS PC Paityn Wirth shoots wide!

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Wyoming Seminary is in the all-navy with white trim; Greenwood is in the white with royal kilts and yellow numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up on the turf, temperatures around 35 degrees

PREGAME The intangibles to know about this particular game surround the coaches. Wyoming Seminary’s Karen Klassner is one of only about a dozen members of the 600-win club, and she has six previous PIAA titles. Greenwood head coach Kent Houser has more than 1,000 wins in field hockey, softball, and boya’ baksetball, but today is the first PIAA state final he has ever coached

PREGAME The player to watch for Greenwood is junior Paityn Wirth, who missed a handful of games in mid-season helping the United States win a World Cup berth by winning the Pan American Indoor Cup last month

PREGAME Wyoming Seminary may not have the individual talent as it did a decade ago wtih future Olympians Kat Sharkey and Kelsey Kolojejchick, but if there is one player to watch, it’s Alicia Carr, the Syracuse-bound senior

PREGAME Wyoming Seminary is 22-2 this season; Greenwood is 21-5

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Allentown Whitehall (Pa.) for the PIAA Class A championship game between District 2 champion Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), and District 3 bronze-medalist Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.)

Nov. 18, 2018 — Friday Statwatch for games played through Nov. 16

It’s our penultimate run through of national field hockey statistics, meaning that we can start making some predictions about how things are going nationwide. We think the number of 50-goal scorers are going to remain the same through the weekend; 10 is a pretty stout number, the same as the 10 we had a year ago.

Below are a collection of national field hockey statistics from available sources. This includes, amongst others, amongst others, Advance Media,,, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,, and the Washington Post. It also includes data from the easy-to-use reporting tool, and I encourage readers to contact their coaches, athletic directors, and student managers so that they may register for and use 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.

92 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
67 Olivia Sahaydak, Bethlehem Liberty (Pa.)
59 Hannah Trottier-Braun, Lewiston Saint Dominic Academy (Maine)

58 Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
56 Sarah Wilson, New Hope-Solebury (Pa.)

54 Kate Schneider, San Diego Serra (Calif.)
53 Leah Zellner, Emmaus (Pa.)
52 Charlotte de Vries, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)
52 Alivia Klopp, Tulpehocken (Pa.)
50 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
46 Morgan Carr, Walkill Valley (N.J.)
46 Jessica Maute, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)

45 Elizabeth Romano, Madison (N.J.) Borough
45 Riley Baughman, Emmaus (Pa.)
45 Lily Croddick, Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.)
44 Regan Dougherty, Haddon Township (N.J.)

38 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
35 Nicki McNamara, Chantilly Westfield (Va.)
35 Julia Russo, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)

34 Gabby Andretta, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
32 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
31 Melissa Maynard, Falls Church George C. Marshall (Va.)
31 Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
30 Olivia Perrone, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
29 Leah Crouse, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.)
28 Ellie Decker, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
28 Elizabeth Romano, Madison (N.J.) Borough
28 Natalie Nava, Edwardsville (Ill.)
28 Greer Gill, Norfolk (Va.) Academy
28 Lindsay Dickinson, Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.)
28 Emma DeBerdine, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)

227 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
165 Riley Fulmer, Norfolk (Va.) Academy
160 Lily Croddick, Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.)
146 Regan Dougherty, Haddon Township (N.J.)
137 Sammy Popper, Fort Washington Germantown Academy (Pa.)
132 Charlotte de Vries, Virginia Beach Cape Henry Academy (Va.) and Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)*

130 Alivia Klopp, Tulpehocken (Pa.)
129 Elizabeth Romano, Madison (N.J.) Borough
127 Ali McCarthy, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
117 Charlotte de Vries, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.)**
113 Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
112 Sarah Wilson, New Hope-Solebury (Pa.)
108 Jessica Maute, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)

108 Julia Russo, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
107 Gianna Morganti, Hammonton St. Joseph’s (N.J.)
107 Leah Zellner, Emmaus (Pa.)
105 Gabby Andretta, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
104 Alexis Rider, Delran (N.J.)
104 Leah Crouse, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.)
103 Riley Donnelly, Buckingham Central Bucks East (Pa.)
96 Morgan Carr, Walkill Valley (N.J.)
97 Hailey Couch, Easton (Pa.)
92 Ellie McIntyre, Easton (Pa.)
91 Olivia Sahaydak, Bethlehem Liberty (Pa.)
87 Erin Matson, Kennett Square Unionville (Pa.)***
* — four-year varsity career
** — three-year varsity career
***— inactive for 2016-17 seasons

108 Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.)
106 Gabby Andretta, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
104 Leah Crouse, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.)
91 Greer Gill, Norfolk (Va.) Academy
79 Julia Russo, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
70 Kara McClure, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)

67 Elizabeth Romano, Madison (N.J.) Borough
66 Ali McCarthy, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
65 Riley Fulmer, Norfolk (Va.) Academy
57 Hailey Couch, Easton (Pa.)

115 Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)
90 Los Gatos (Calif.)
76 San Diego Serra (Calif.)

76 San Diego Serra (Calif.)

I’ve done all the hard work, so this is where you, the loyal reader, kicks in. If you see something that needs correction, please feel to send us an email at Give us a name or a bit of documentation (a website will do) so that we can make the adjustment.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at Thanksgiving.

Nov. 15, 2017 — Where streaks go to die

Last night, the longest field hockey win streak in the history of Pennsylvania ended at 81 games, as Emmaus (Pa.) was defeated 3-1 by Downingtown (Pa.) West in the semifinal round of the PIAA Class AAA championship.

Pennsylvania, it seems, is the place where all field hockey win streaks go to die. Given the high level of competition within the state, any game is a risk for defeat. And there’s also the trend over the last 40 years of PIAA competition, which states that no team has ever won three straight state field hockey championships.

And that scenario, as of this morning, still remains: all three defending champions are gone.

I guess a foreshadowing of all this occurred three weeks ago in the quarterfinal of the 3-AAA tournament, when Palmyra (Pa.), the last team to beat Emmaus until last night, was eliminated. Palmyra was looking for a fourth straight trip to the state final, but were beaten by the nation’s No. 1 team, Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.).

Then there was last Saturday, when defending Class A champion Bethlehem Moravian Academy (Pa.) was ousted by Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.). Now, Greenwood is an interesting story unto itself. The school represents a bucolic village of 673 people along the banks of the Juniata River, although it also takes in students from the neighboring townships of Liverpool,. Tuscarora, and Greenwood.

The coach at Greenwood is Kent Houser, who has been coaching for more than three decades, amassing more than 1,000 wins coaching the softball, boys’ basketball, and field hockey teams. The only thing missing in that career is a state championship, and Saturday will be Houser’s first experience in a state final in any sport.

Also making her debut in the state final is Elizabeth Bradley, the head coach of Downingtown West. The Whippets have always been in the headwaters of District 1 competition, but this year have been outstanding from the opening weekend, beating Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) to open the season, then beating both Kennett Square Unionville (Pa.) and Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) at the end.

Oddly enough, it has been a while since a public-school team from District 1 has made the state final; since 2002, when a Buckingham Central Bucks East (Pa.) team led by future U.S. national team captain Lauren Crandall beat an Emmaus team that had broken the national record for goals scored 1-0 in the final two minutes of play, only one other public school team from the five-county Philadelphia area — Pennsburg Upper Perkiomen (Pa.) — has made a final.

And it was about that time when District 2 was making a significant presence in PIAA field hockey, with Lauren Powley, Kelsey Kolojejchick, Kat Sharkey, and Paige Selenski making the U.S. national team. This year, two legendary coaches bring back their teams to the state finals. Linda Fithian has Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) one win away from winning the Class 2A final, and Karen Klassner has Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) one win from winning the Class 1A title.

Should be an interesting tripleheader.

Nov. 14, 2017 — Top 10 for the week of Nov. 12

There was such potential for change in the Top 10 this week, but, amazingly, all 10 of our teams held serve. But with championship finals in seven states plus the New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Council finals, there’s bound to be some change this coming week. Hold on tight.

Our honorary No. 11 team of the week is Franklin & Marshall. The Diplomats won their way through their quarter of the bracket to make the NCAA Division III Final Four for the first time since 1983.

1. Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) 26-0

The Comets play Hershey today in the semifinal round of the PIAA Class AAA Tournament

2. San Diego Serra (Calif.) 23-0

Conquistadores take on San Diego Patrick Henry (Calif.) in the first round of the CIF San Diego Section Open Division Tournament play

3. Emmaus (Pa.) 25-0

Emmaus takes on Downingtown (Pa.) West today in the semifinals of the PIAA Class AAA Tournament

4. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 23-0-1

Royals will play Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.) in the semifinals of the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions

5. Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 25-1

Indians will play Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.), a team they only beat by an overtime goal earlier this season

6. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 23-0-1

Vikings scheduled to take on winner of Haddonfield-Moorestown in NJSIAA Tournament of Champions semifinals

7. Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 22-0

Season complete: Hornets won ninth straight NYSPHSAA title with 5-0 win over Vestal (N.Y.)

8. Norfolk (Va.) Academy (Va.) 25-0

Season complete: Bulldogs beat Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) in VISAA Division I final

9. Oley (Pa.) Valley 24-1

Lynx will have a skilled Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) to play in order to get to the PIAA Class A final

10. Delmar (Del.) 15-0

Delmar has scored 122 goals in their last 11 games; has Felton Lake Forest (Del.) in semifinals of the DIAA Division II tournament

11.  Franklin & Marshall 18-3

Diplomats take on Middlebury this Friday at Bellarmine for a shot at the national final

Who’s out: None

And bear in mind: Los Gatos (Calif.) 17-0-1, Monument Palmer Ridge (Colo.) 16-1-1, Enfield (Conn.) 18-0, Greenwich (Conn.) Academy 16-1, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.) 17-2, Lake Forest (Ill.) 22-2, Christian Academy of Louisville (Ky.) 22-5-2, Louisville Assumption (Ky.) 19-7, Andover (Mass.) 20-0-1, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 27-2, Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.) 21-2-1, Moorestown (N.J.) 18-3, Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) 18-4, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 19-2, Downingtown (Pa.) West 24-0,  Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) 22-1, Chantilly Westfield (Va.) 24-0, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 19-3