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Archive for Field hockey

Jan. 17, 2021 — The last games for a while?

They’ve been playing field hockey in Florida this past weekend as part of the annual National Field Hockey Coaches Association convention. Prominent clubs like Stealth, Texas Pride, Saints Hockey, South Jersey Edge, Cape Cod, and Tcoyo have been playing round-robin matches for the last three days at the Boombah Sports Complex.

On social media, the players are wearing the usual kaleidoscopic variety of colorful uniforms, but with one addendum: masks. Which, of course has become part of everyday life in these days of COVID-19.

It’s been about a month since the last U.S. scholastic field hockey match, with an exciting overtime goal deciding the North Carolina Field Hockey Association title. But in reading the schedule and the situation in the six U.S. states which are planning to have their 2020 field hockey seasons during the winter and spring months, one question has occurred: “Is this showcase the last U-19 field hockey we’re going to be seeing for a while?”

The rate of transmission of Coronavirus in this country has been alarming. And if it hasn’t alarmed you yet, it should. It’s said that 1 out of every 3 hospitalized persons in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, have been admitted for COVID-19 complications. The positive testing rate nationwide is a million a week. Some 100,000 people have died in the last five weeks alone.

Bottom line? The United States had its 400,000th death last week, which by far leads the world.

With the wavering we’re seeing by some U.S. colleges and the state of California when it comes to reopening sports, it doesn’t look good at all.

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Jan. 15, 2021 — Monthly Statwatch for games played through Dec. 19

The landscape of scholastic field hockey is starting to round into shape, at least from a statistical perspective. We’ve been compiling and making corrections since the most recent game, the North Carolina public-school final, meaning that we’ve been able to refine what we’ve been publishing since September.

What you see below are a collection of American scholastic field hockey statistics from, amongst other sources, MaxPreps, Berks Game Day, the KHSAA, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Advance Media. Once we get information from the upcoming Fall 2 and Spring field hockey seasons in six states, we’ll be adding those figures to these.

We have a true affinity for MaxPreps, because it is easy for the average coach, athletic director, or student manager to register for the MaxPreps.com 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.

GOALS
90 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
74 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
49 Olivia Fraticelli, Toms River (N.J.) North
47 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
37 Molly Catchpole, Watchung Mount St. Mary Academy (N.J.)
37 Courtney Farren, Woodbury Heights Gateway (N.J.)
34 Alaina McVeigh, Upper Gwynedd Gwenedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
34 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
33 Kierra Ettere, Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)
33 Rylie Wollerson, Gibsonia Pine-Richland (Pa.)
33 Casey Lynn Dewald, Fleetwood (Pa.)
32 Julianne Kopec, Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic
32 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
32 Brynn Crouse, Dillsburg Northern York (Pa.)
31 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
30 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
30 Maci Bradford, Delmar (Del.)

ASSISTS
35 Dylan Breier, Louisville DuPont Manual (Ky.)
28 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
28 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
27 Izzy Bianco, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
25 Riley Hudson, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
25 Gianna Puorro, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)
23 Grace Hughes, Oletangy Liberty (Ohio)
22 Kayla Kiwak, Exeter Wyoming Area (Pa.)
21 Alexis Kociban, Emmaus (Pa.)
21 Maddie Epke, Guilford (Conn.)
21 Kathrine McLean, Glen Gardner Voorhees (N.J.)
20 Carli Servis, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)

CAREER GOALS
233 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
198 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
141 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
141 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
135 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
131 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)
115 Courtney Farren, Woodbury Heights Gateway (N.J.)
108** Elizabeth Yeager, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.)
105 Abby Hartwell, Franklinville Delsea (N.J.)
102 Kate Herlihy, Cape May Court House Middle Township (N.J.)
102 Alaina McVeigh, Upper Gwynedd Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.)
**–five-year total

CAREER ASSISTS
132 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
110 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
91 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
77 Delmar (Del.)
58 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
44 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
42 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)

CONSECUTIVE UNBEATEN
77 Delmar (Del.)
58 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
44 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
42 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
41 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)

This is where my readers need to jump in. If you see a figure or total that needs an addition or correction, feel free 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.

Thanks for reading, and, pandemic willing, we’ll be adding some of California’s totals when they start up in the next month.

BULLETIN: Jan. 13, 2021 — NCAA Division II field hockey is all but cancelled for the spring season

Remember this?

This afternoon, the Northeast-10, the only other Division II field hockey conference to have an Automatic Qualifier to the NCAA Division II field hockey tournament, has decided not to have a regular season or a conference tournament during the repositioned fall season, which had been scheduled to start quite soon.

Now, the news release from the NE10 does mention an allowance for individual teams to schedule individual games with opponents, subject to local health regulations as well as NCAA policies. Teams are also allowed to practice, train, and engage in various team activities.

According to The Worcester Telegram, at least one school, Assumption, is looking to form a pod with other local Division II colleges to schedule limited competition this spring, which is something that looks an awful like the spring hockey scrimmages that usually dot the landscape that time of year.

With these kinds of announcement flowing through the news, you wonder if collegiate field hockey for the 20-21 academic year is a fool’s errand.

Jan. 11, 2021 — A useful distraction in a (nearly) lost field hockey season

The folks at Field Hockey Corner have been engaging in an ambitious project to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the start of the national championship era of intercollegiate field hockey.

The project is not only a celebration of the best teams ever to compete for national championships in the AIAW and NCAA, but there is also a bracket competition which you can decide three ultimate winners in Division I, Division II, and Division III.

Now, there’s a lot of information to digest here. I may consider myself knowledgeable about field hockey, but am lost if I try to answer questions about the 1980 Southwest Missouri State team and whether this 29-win team could have beaten one of the Millersville title teams of recent vintage.

This project allows you to read up on the more than 200 field hockey teams that field hockey historian Chip Rogers and his research team have put forth as nominees in his three ultimate brackets. It’s a great thought experiment, one which should give you knowledge and perspective, and it may allow you to do some further research to find out what made each team great.

Jan. 8, 2021 — Cold comfort in a cold opening

In the last couple of days, there has been some further guidance by the California Department of Health and the California Interscholastic Federation as to whether and when sports are able to restart for the winter.

And as of right now, it doesn’t look good for field hockey starting anytime soon.

You see, there are four COVID-19 tiers, which are assigned based on the number and frequency of positive tests in any particular county. Right now, the vast majority of schools in California are in high-risk areas. And the California Interscholastic Federation will only allow schools to participate in swimming, tennis, golf, alpine skiing, tennis, outdoor track, and cross-country.

Field hockey is in the second-highest tier of high risk, along with girls’ lacrosse, softball, and baseball. The problem is that there are only four California counties which are not in the high-risk tier: Humboldt, Mariposa, Alpine, and Sierra.

None of these four regions have the game of field hockey. Nor, for that matter, lacrosse.

Given the rise in the COVID-19 curve nationwide since Thanksgiving, it’s hard to see when the contagion level is going to be low enough to allow field hockey players in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay area to play.

I guess we’ll know in a couple of weeks.

Jan. 7, 2021 — Not the best sign

The NCAA field hockey season is set to restart sometime in the next month.

We already know that the Ivy League’s eight field hockey participants will not be participating, part of a blanket stop in play which has not only enveloped those teams which were supposed to start in the so-named “Fall 2” season, but winter sports like basketball and hockey.

The same can be said for the teams in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which voted not to play its fall sports in the spring in mid-November.

Yesterday, Rowan University decided that its fall teams would not be playing in Fall 2. This includes a field hockey team that won the 2002 national title and made the 2018 Final Four.

Watching this slow implosion of the field hockey landscape is regrettable and discouraging. But given the fact that more records for COVID-19 infections and deaths were set yesterday, I cannot see a return to play under these circumstances.

Jan. 5, 2021 — Top 10 for games played through Dec. 17

With optimism and hope that American scholastic field hockey might return to play this month, we roll out yet another back-of-the-envelope look at the very best of scholastic field hockey this fall.

The COVID-19 contagion has had a huge impact on the sport on multiple levels. Not only have we not seen the better teams in the country getting tested deep into a postseason, we also saw a lot of teams winning their terminal matches (state finals in some places, sectional finals in others) by large margins. Take, for example, our No. 1 team, Delmar (Del.). The Wildcats, in beating Bear Caravel Academy (Del.) in the DIAA Division 2 final, outshot their opponents 18-1 and out-cornered them 23-0.

Our RightToRightIsRight.com No. 11 Team of the Month is Orchard Park (N.Y.), which won the Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division I title for the first time in 30 years, thereby taking the top seed in the state’s Section IV Tournament.

1. Delmar (Del.) 15-0
Season complete: Wildcats beat Bear Caravel Academy (Del.) 4-1 to win their fifth consecutive state championship. The stateliners yielded exactly two goals during the season whilst crafting a number of artful goals on the attack end

2. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 14-0
Season complete: Vikings got by Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.Y.) 9-0 to win NJSIAA Southwest D sectional championship

3. Emmaus (Pa.) 11-0
Season complete: Solid team effort gave the Hornets a 4-0 state championship win against Harrisburg Central Dauphin in the PIAA AAA final

4. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 14-0-1
Season complete: Beat Summit Kent Place (N.J.) 3-0 in NJSIAA Central-East E sectional final

5. Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 17-0
Season complete: Beat Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.) 3-0 to win PIAA Class A final

6. Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.) 0-0
Season complete:
 Sacred Heart has finished its playdays and did not have a timed, scored, and umpired game during the open week of competition in November

7. St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 14-0
Season complete: 
Won Midwest Field Hockey Association championship with a 1-0 overtime win over St. Louis John Burroughs (Mo.) on a backhand golazo by Taryn Tkachuk

8. Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 0-0
Falcons, and the rest of the Virginia High School League, are scheduled to begin practice Feb. 15th

9. San Diego Serra (Calif.) 0-0
Serra’s first possible varsity date is scheduled to be Jan. 25th, but depends on several factors, including state, county, and sectional guidelines

10. Cohasset (Mass.) 13-0
Season complete: Dominated all comers in the South Shore League; it’s an open question how they would have done in the MIAA state tournament bracket

11. Orchard Park (N.Y.) 14-2
Season complete: Lost 2-1 to Lancaster (N.Y.) in NYSPHSAA Section VI final

And bear in mind:  San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) 0-0, Glastonbury (Conn.) 14-0, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.) 0-0, Longmeadow (Mass.) 6-0, Walpole (Mass.) 8-0-1, Franklin (Mass.) 11-0-2, Andover (Mass.) 6-0, Dexter (Mich.) 16-0-1, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) 12-0-1, Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 13-1, Charlotte Providence Day School (N.C.) 12-0, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) 7-1, Columbus Bishop Watterson (Ohio) 18-3, Palmyra (Pa.) 15-2, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.) 16-2, Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 6-0, East Greenwich (R.I.) 9-0, Langley (Va.) 0-0, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 0-0

Jan. 4, 2021 — A hard confession for a journalist

My dear readers, I have made my living in the written word, mostly from my decade or so writing for a daily newspaper, as well as nearly a quarter-century on this website.

In my years of writing, reading, and editing stories, articles, and blog entries, I have done so with a keen eye for detail. I recoil whenever someone leaves the space out from between the words “a” and “lot” to create the error “alot.” I also get internal alarm bells whenever I see someone print the word “definately” instead of “definitely.”

But if there’s one thing that I’ve been finding out in terms of my own journey to self-improvement, it’s that there are certain words with which I have trouble.

One is the spelling of a certain city in Arizona, which I always seem to want to spell “Tuscon” rather than “Tucson.” A friend of mine, an actual Tucsonian, she offers the advice to mispronounce the city name as “Tuck-son” in order to be able to get the spelling correct.

But the other two are words that I seem to have problems conjuring up in the correct context. For years, the word “fulfillment,” as in “fulfillment company,” has been hidden behind some kind of mental block in my own mind. If I was writing about fulfilling a need, I was fine. But if I wanted to describe the company that you send boxtops or proofs of purchase to in order to receive a small prize or a gift card, I was sometimes lost for a few minutes while I tried to find the word.

Another word I have trouble with is the word “whimsical.” Whenever I have to describe something with fanciful flourishes or details associated with it, I cannot seem to be able to come up with the word “whimsical.” For some reason, my mind starts going into disassociation when it comes to the word. I first start thinking about those windmills shaped like geese that are stuck into a home garden, then I get to the word “whirligigs.” Only then do I start getting to the word “whimsy,” which then associates to “whimsical.”

For the last few years, I’ve had the words “whimsical” and “fulfillment” printed in large letters, tacked on a wall in my office. It’s not only a visual reminder of what these words are, but it’s also a reminder that, despite my training and experience, that I’m not always perfect.

It’s something we all should realize, and something from which we all can grow.

Jan. 3, 2021 — A new field hockey entry for the Fall 2 season

This year, our scholastic field hockey coverage will conclude with teams playing matches in the Virginia High School League, the California Interscholastic Federation, the Colorado High School Athletic Association, the Illinois High School Field Hockey Association, and with various teams in New York, North Carolina, and Massachusetts, which had opted out of play in the fall, being allowed to pick back up in the spring.

But I read yesterday that a group of schools in Pennsylvania (a commonwealth which has already crowned its three public-school champions, mind) are planning on playing a spring season in many sports, including field hockey. These school districts span from Reading, in the center of the state, all the way to Bristol, located on the border with New Jersey.

It’s called the United X League, and the ten schools in this temporary confederation are from three PIAA districts — 1, 3, and 12. As with many leagues in the college and high-school ranks, the UXL is built around football, given the fact that not all of the schools in the league have the sport. Only seven of the ten members of the league offer field hockey; and one is an all-boys’ parochial school in northeast Philadelphia.

I have a feeling that there are going to be a number of opt-out schools from the fall who are going to look to this example for their return-to-play guidelines. But of course, that depends on when or if the District 1 schools in this confederation are able to return to in-person schooling.

Jan. 2, 2021 — Data, field hockey, and a date with Athletes Unlimited?

Data analysis has infiltrated many sports in different ways. There are transponders in the shoulder pads and helmets of NFL players, radars and tracking cameras at baseball and tennis venues, and sensors taped to the torsos of basketball and soccer players worldwide.

The data gleaned from these sports is used for player and team development, and for a generation of statistically-aware people who run sports teams, are often used to assemble rosters, make trades, and sign players.

It’s been well-known that Americans are very much hooked on sports statistics, which is why the enterprise called Athletes Unlimited could very well become an important developmental apparatus in all sports, not just in softball and the new women’s volleyball and women’s lacrosse leagues coming later this year.

But I think AU should also take a flyer in the game of field hockey, given the rich amount of available statistics in every game.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. International field hockey is a sport which is extremely conservative in terms of its recordkeeping. The official FIH match sheet doesn’t record assists, shots taken, or goalkeeper saves.

I have observed, however, televised field hockey competitions which show copious amounts of data on the level of an Australian Rules football match. I think it was a Champions Challenge tournament which showed everything from disposals (i.e., the result of each possession) to distance covered during the match.

In truth, I think Athletes Unlimited could use data like this in order to determine, over the course of an AU field hockey season, which players are the best from each matchday, and therefore become the captains for the next week’s games.

Now, if AU would only have a field hockey league.