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Sept. 18, 2021 — LIVE-BLOGGING Penn State at Maryland

POSTGAME That’s all from here; good day and good hockey

POSTGAME Say this for the Big Ten: if this game is a five-goal thriller going into extra time, what does it say for the competitiveness leaguewide?

63:11 VAR CHECK is complete and Penn State wins 3-2

63:11 PSU GOAL Gladieux raps it into the cage! But …

61:45 PSU PC Insert goes right to Maryland’s Tornetta but only has Rayne Wright as an option because of being a player short; had the sides been even, that

60:56 Verleg is carded and the Lions are on the power play!

60:00 What drama awaits us as the overtime begins?

END REGULATION Sides are level at 2-2; overtime awaits!

58:29 Maryland with a great chance off a backhander that pops high; the PSU defense bats it away without causing danger!

51:10 Allessie has the ball in the circle after a pass from Bednarski, but a good tackle from Maryland’s Maura Verleg

48:45 PSU PC A well-worked passing play is saved off the line by Belle Bresser! Wow!

48:36 PSU PC Defensed by Brooke Deberdine; will re-rack

45:23 UMD PC Low drag flick by Nathalie Fiechter goes in! We are tied 2-2

45:00 It’s time to bring the action as the final stanza begins

END THIRD At the horn, Penn State maintains a 2-1 advantage

38:26 PSU PC Simon cranks; Frost says no

37:18 PSU PC Low shot by Simon is saved; Bree Bednarski’s follow-up is wide

35:45 Allessie tries a 3D skill to get past the defense but the Terrapins say no

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Indeed, PSU is responsible for one of Maryland’s 22 losses at FHLC during the Lions’ trip to the Final Four in 2007

HALFTIME Penn State has had pretty good results over the years here, in spite of Maryland’s 90 percent win percentage at the FHLC

HALFTIME Just what you might expect from these two sides: a close match with each team capitalizing on their chances

END HALF The horn wounds with the Nittany Lions holding a 2-1 lead

28:00 PSU GOAL And just like that, it is Gladieux on the other end with a golazo in the top corner! Wow! Lions up 2-1

27:00 Tornetta with two chances at the doorstep but Barraco saves!

24:56 CHECK COMPLETE No penalty corner; we play on with a 16Y for Penn State

24:56 VAR CHECK to see if there is a penalty corner for Maryland

24:15 PSU PC Same play but the Lions commit a foul; 16Y the result

24:00 PSU PC Low shot saved by Frost; will re-rack

23:40 UMD GREEN Two-minute power play for PSU

21:06 UMD PC Option-left is gobbled up by Barraco

20:05 Donradt with an enterprising run around the right side but cannot put the ball on goal

16:29 UMD PC Low drag by Riley Donnelly is saved

15:00 The second quarter is under way

END FIRST At quarter-time, the sides are level at 1-1

13:40 Hope Rose slips a backhand which could have been trouble if it found the corner or a teammate, but instead it skips over the end line

12:59 UMD PC Tornetta asks the question; Barraco says no, but the rebound is almost batted in by Donradt; she is called for stick obstruction

12:17 UMD PC Tornetta’s 1-up hits Barraco

11:49 PSU GOAL Allessie with a neat putaway from the right side: all to play for now at 1-1

10-17 PSU PC Low shot saved by Maryland goalie Noelle Frost

6:43 UMD PC and GOAL Juliana Tornetta from the 1-up and the hosts lead 1-0

5:05 So, how many golazos are we going to see today? That was close!

5:00 Maryland’s Margot Lawn with a backhander that Brie Barraco, the Lions’ goalkeeper, deflects with a smart save!

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Maryland is in the all-red kits with white numbers; Penn State is in white with blue numbers and kilts

PREGAME The teams are warming up under sunny skies with temperatures around 79, but the direct sun makes it feel hotter

PREGAME As good as these four players are, these teams’ fortunes are likely to pivot on the play of their foreign talent. Maryland’s Bibi Donradt is from Holland, and she makes things happen all over the pitch. Penn State’s Anna Simon, from Germany, leads the Nittany Lions with seven goals

PREGAME This game features four players who, when in high school, scored goals this site termed “golazo,” or a goal scored with exceptional skill or prowess. For Maryland, these players are Margot Lawn and Hope Rose; for Penn State, these players are Sophia Gladieux and Mackenzie Allessie

PREGAME Also note that six of this week’s Top Ten are from the Big Ten. This year could represent a big shift in the power structure of the sport away from the ACC

PREGAME The two teams are in the midst of an absolutely topsy-turvy NFHCA Top 25. Think of this: while Maryland and Penn State are ranked 7 and 8, the team just above them in sixth is your defending national champion, North Carolina

PREGAME The Nittany Lions are 5-0 this season; Maryland is 4-1

PREGAME Hello and welcome to The Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at the University of Maryland for today’s Big Ten Conference matchup between No. 7 Maryland and No. 8 Penn State

Sept. 16, 2021 — The enablers of Larry Nassar are being identified

Yesterday, members of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, including the likes of Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

We didn’t hear much more than we heard during the sentencing phase of the trial of former doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted and sentenced to 2018 to up to 175 years in prison for his part in the sexual abuse of some 150 athletes under his care. The athletes ranged from Michigan State student-athletes (including at least two field hockey players) to elite senior-level gymnasts.

But we are learning this week more about some more of the widening circle of enablers who allowed Nassar to continue to abuse young athletes. The enablers included medical staff at Michigan State University, administrators at MSU (including the university president and its football coach), and, now, law enforcement.

One FBI agent was fired just this week for not doing enough during the investigation, and another had retired a few years ago. There are also a number of sheriff’s officers who are also being scrutinized for not following up on information given to them by victims.

During the testimony today, a very pointed reference was made at SafeSport, the program that the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee set up to handle complaints about abusive coaches and to post public information about people who have been suspended or banned for life.

“I hear from many survivors that they report their abuse (to SafeSport) and it’s like playing ‘hot potato,’ where someone else kicks it over to somebody else and don’t hear back for a really long time,” said gymnast Aly Raisman. “If you’re SafeSport and you were funded by the organization you’re investigating, they’re likely not going to do the right thing.”

Raisman has a point here. I think we’re going to see a push to make SafeSport a more independent body, much like the way that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is.

Sept. 13, 2021 — The “buy-in”

The art of coaching is predicated upon guiding a group of people to a certain goal or accomplishment. It is often the same in business, as the best managers and executives are graded on how well they can get their employees to do their assigned tasks, or to “buy in” to an ideal.

One of the most remarkable coaching jobs in the world of field hockey has been occurring over the last five years in a village of 1,600 which sits on the Delaware-Maryland border. The name of the school even shares the names of the two states: Delmar.

Jodi Hollamon has always been expected to do great things, no matter where she coached. Her aunt was the legendary Pocomoke (Md.) coach, Susan Pusey. She played her hockey at the University of Delaware under head coach Carol Miller, then won a state championship with Salisbury Parkside (Md.).

But at Delmar, she has created the most unexpected powerhouse in the sport. The school has an enrollment of only about 650, but beginning in 2016, the Delmar field hockey team has found a rich seam of form, playing an international style of field hockey, letting the ball do the work, and winning five straight DIAA championships.

The core of the team, especially in the last few years, has surrounded Hollamon’s daugters, Josie and Jordyn, and her nieces, Maci and Morgan Bradford.

But it’s not all about these four cousins. Hollamon has gotten other players on the roster to buy into the system, expand their horizons, and contribute to the overall effort.

“The buy-in is trusting your teammates,” she says. “We’ve been having success with players who had a little bit of experience last year that have really, really stepped up this preseason.”

Lilly Waters is one such player. The junior midfielder had a number of assists in Delmar’s 10-0 opening-game win on Friday evening against Olney Good Counsel (Md.).

“I feel like it is a family,” Waters said. “We connect together, and we really make some good passes.”

Indeed, the ball seems to find Delmar teammates in open spaces with lanes to goal because of the vision of the players. The one-touch hockey often creates chances which are more memorable than actual goals, although the ball was finding net much more often last Friday.

“The level of hockey is always high and we’re expected to play a certain way,” says fullback Ella Shockley. “We hold everyone accountable to be at the top, and we always expect to be there.”

Shockley is a good example, having scored a number of important goals for Delmar in her career, including both goals as Delmar beat Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) in a regular-season match last November.

“When I’m playing, it’s exciting to just be able to take a shot,” she says. “The goal is to be able to get into a good college as well as to be one of the best players there.”

Indeed, Delmar players have appeared on the rosters of teams such as Duke and Syracuse, as well as Delaware, where Morgan Bradford, one of Hollamon’s nieces, is now a first-year player.

Delmar is also sending players into the U.S. junior national system, and it remains to be seen how well these players do there.

Sept. 10, 2021 — Delmar (Del.) 10, Olney Good Counsel (Md.) 0

POSTGAME We’ll have two games tomorrow; good night and good hockey

POSTGAME It would appear as though coaches in Delaware are going to, again, have nightmares in trying to figure out how to stop Delmar. They are that good

POSTGAME Oak Knoll’s four goals against Eastern in the 2019 New Jersey Tournament of Champions, all within a 10-minute span, is close. And so was Eastern’s three goals in four minutes against Episcopal Academy in 2019

POSTGAME You have to go some to find a dominating stretch of play like Delmar exhibited between the 24th and 35th minutes, as the Wildcats put in five.

POSTGAME It was nothing less than a comprehensive victory for the preseason No. 2 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10. The movement, the passing, the shooting were of a different level

FULL TIME The whistle goes and Delmar wins the game 10-0

47:30 DEL PC Shot goes wide of the target

45:00 The final quarter is under way

END THIRD The whistle brings the third quarter to a close with Delmar leading 10-0

40:05 DEL PC Passing play to Brown just evades her stick

37:00 DEL PC Hi-lo is cleared by Good Counsel

35:00 DEL GOAL The Delmar attack unit rescues a penalty corner and, after corner criteria is off, Maci Bradford lays a pass for Josie Hollamon, who slices a backhand in the mesh! Golazo! Score is 10-0. I do not believe what I am witnessing here

34:00 DEL PC Mistrap but Delmar keeps the possession

33:00 DEL PC Defensed but will re-rack

31:12 DEL GOAL Bradford with a wall pass from Jordyn Hollamon and it is 9-0. The last five goals have come in just over six minutes

30:45 DEL PC and GOAL Josie Hollamon with a flamethrower on the 1-up. Delmar leads 8-0

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Delmar has taken advantage of the space and their own talents to stake this lead. Countless times, the Wildcats have used their passing and speed to create amazing chances

END HALF The whistle goes with Delmar leading 7-0

29:00 DEL PC Option right is cleared

26:51 DEL GOAL Jordyn Hollamon from Bradford this time and the Cats are sending a message with a 7-0 lead

24:25 DEL GOAL Maci Bradford takes a pass from Jordyn Hollamon and the Wildcats have a sixth! They are scoring at will!

24:10 DEL GOAL Jordyn Hollamon with a lightning bolt! Delmar leads 5-0

23:00 DEL PC Option right; angled shot raked wide!

21:39 DEL PC Bradford corner ends with a raised ball

20:45 DEL PC Hi-lo to Brown skips wide!

18:15 DEL PC and GOAL Josie Hollamon bounces it in on the 1-Up and the Wildcats are up 4-0

16:35 DEL GOAL Jordyn Hollamon put it in off the iron and it’s 3-0 Delmar!

15:51 Delmar’s Laela Brown almost tips it in but it goes wide

END FIRST The whistle goes with Delmar leading 2-0

14:59 DEL PC Two shots attempted; but it looked like Delmar intercepted their own goal shots. There are wide-open players at the doorstep

14:38 Delmar crushes a hard shot that is saved!

12:30 DEL PC Bradford’s shot finds the side of the cage

9:39 DEL PC Two hard shots but they do not force a save

8:15 DEL PC Shot scuffed wide and GC takes possession

6:10 DEL PC A long phase of play as Delmar gets several shots in on goal including an amazing backhander

4:32 DEL GOAL Maci Bradford opens her account with a gorgeous flip shot from in close! Delmar leads 2-0

3:10 Delmar fires a diagonal pass in the circle that somehow evades everyone; what a chance!

1:05 DEL PC and GOAL Jordyn Hollamon with the goal off a rebound! A dream start for Delmar! Wildcats lead 1-0

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Delmar is wearing the white uniforms with black and orange trim, while Good Counsel is in the navy with gold numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up under cooler skies and a sea breeze, temperatures at about 70 degrees

PREGAME Delmar is the five-time defending DIAA champion, and is a team which is coming off a dream 2020 season

PREGAME Good Counsel played an abbreviated schedule in the spring of 2021, but won the last Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title on offer

PREGAME Delmar is opening its season tonight; Good Counsel is 1-0-1

PREGAME Back at Champions Field for this second game of the Bi-State Challenge with Delmar (Del.) taking on Olney Good Counsel (Md.)

Sept. 10, 2021 — Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 9, Pocomoke (Md.) 0

POSTGAME Back in a few minutes with Delmar vs. Good Counsel

POSTGAME Given the fact that both of these teams have championships in their DNA, you might have expected a closer result. But Henlopen, on its home ground, we’re masterful and clinical in front of goal. Mac Brown and Nol Sabbagh were outstanding playing off Reagan Ciabbatoni

POSTGAME And the final whistle goes with Cape Henlopen winning 9-0

60:00 PHS PC Shot is saved by reserve goalkeeper Anna Lopez to finish the game

59:05 PHS PC Defensed and cleared, but will re-rack for a raised ball

52:39 PHS PC Nice passing play to Leni Wittman, but the shot does not find the target

48:00 CH GOAL Mac Brown scores again! What a game she is having! Cape leads 9-0

47:16 PHS GREEN The coaching staff gets a card because a player is missing the mouth guard

47:00 CH PC Shot goes wide

45:00 The final stanza is under way

END THIRD The horn sounds with the score Cape 8, Pocomoke 0

43:15 CH PC Open shot is saved by Esham

39:15 CH PC A well-worked pass play finds Sabbagh at the stroke mark but the ball is bunted wide!

38:30 CH PC Defensed by Hailey Cowger; raised ball on the redefend and we will rerack

35:15 CH PS Ciabbatoni with the stroke; it is 8-0 Cape

35:15 CH PC Option left goes into the mixer and it hits a Warrior foot on the line, and a penalty stroke is the result

34:05 CH PC Option left us saved by Esham; rebound is wide

33:15 CH PC Save by Esham; will re-rack

31:15 Open shot by Sabbagh is wide

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME At the end of 30 minutes, the score is Cape Henlopen 7, Pocomoke 0

27:30 PHS PC 1-up sniffed out by Ciabbatoni

26:40 Pocomoke works it into the attack end but the pass is wanting

25:00 CH GOAL Kelly Bragg takes a pass from Hannah Mandy; it is 7-0! I can’t believe what I am witnessing here

22:30 CH GOAL It’s a hat trick for Mac Brown! The hosts now lead 6-0

21:20 CH PC and GOAL Brown with her second as she received a pass from Ella Rishko; 5-0 Cape

17:00 CH PC Hi-lo finds the inserter but the tip flies wide of the cage

15:45 CH PC Cape puts it into the mixer; Ella Esham with a pair of saves

END FIRST The Vikings have absolutely bossed this game and have not let Pocomoke get any offensive flow

12:45 CH PC Option-left is angled wide of the post

11:30 CH GOAL Sabbagh gets the ball in open space and she has a brace; Cape is taking complete control here

7:55 CH GOAL Lou-Lou Rishko rescues a ball on the right wing and sloughs it to an open Nol Sabbagh and it’s 3-0 Vikings

6:55 CH PC and GOAL Mac Brown tips in Ciabbatoni’s 1-up and it’s 2-0

0:56 CH GOAL Regan Ciabbatoni takes a gorgeous through ball from 25 yards and slots it in! A dream start for Henlopen as the lead is 1-0

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Pocomoke in the navy uniforms with gold socks and white trim; Cape in the white uniforms with navy numerals

PREGAME The teams are warming up under a light breeze with temperatures around 71 degrees; perfect weather for field hockey

PREGAME Pocomoke is from one of the many fine towns across this land who punch above their weight when it comes to this game. Pocomoke City is a town of just over 4100 on the south end of the Eastern Shore heading towards Virginia Beach

PREGAME Cape Henlopen is a defending state champion which has sent players to Division I and even the Olympics. Lewes is a town of 3,200 in the resort area of the Delaware shore

PREGAME Pocomoke is the 19-time state champion of Maryland, but have not won since 2015. Cape Henlopen is your four-time defending DIAA Division I champion

PREGAME Cape Henlopen is playing its first match of the season; Pocomoke is 1-0

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Champions Stadium on the campus of Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) for this Bi-State Challenge game featuring Pocomoke City (Md.) against the host Vikings

Sept. 9, 2021 — A delayed boomlet of games to start the 2021 season

The weeks before Labor Day usually have a number of good out-of-conference games to truly kick off the field hockey season. This year seems to be a little different; the schedule seems to have shifted a number of prominent games to start the year to later in the season.

The latter half of this week is seeing a number of good contests. Today, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), the No. 1 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, beat Marlton Cherokee 6-0. Senior Ryleigh Heck had a hat trick to bring her to 201 goals for her career, becoming the seventh player to get that many goals in her career.

Also today, No. 3 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) beat crosstown rival Summit Kent Place (N.J.) 6-1. In a South Jersey derby, Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.) bested Pennsauken Bishop Eustace (N.J.) 5-0.

This evening, Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) takes on Palmyra (Pa.) in another Route 422 derby match.

But what could be the most intriguing set of games occurs tomorrow and Saturday in Lewes, Del. In the Bi-State Challenge, host Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) and fellow DIAA champion Delmar (Del.) will face off against Pocomoke City (Md.) and Olney Good Counsel (Md.).

The intrigue comes from the fact that Delmar is the No. 2 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, and they won’t be playing Cape Henlopen at this four-team meet. Instead, the teams are scheduled to play Oct. 7, again, at Champions Stadium, in the closest thing Delaware will have to a Tournament of Champions.

Sept. 7, 2021 — Preseason Statwatch for 2021

With a number of states beginning their play in the next couple of weeks, I wanted to make sure to put this placemarker here, with some of the active statistical leaders in field hockey as of the beginning of the campaign (on or around Aug. 17th).

We’ll be publishing Statwatch on Fridays starting in a couple of weeks, but we also have an obligation to keep up with the people in the Daily Statwatch columns just to your right as you read this.

Here’s what we have thus far when it comes to our active leaders:

CAREER GOALS
198 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
131 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)

CONSECUTIVE WINS
77 Delmar (Del.)
55 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
44 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)

CONSECUTIVE UNBEATEN
77 Delmar (Del.)
55 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
44 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
44 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)

CAREER COACHING WINS
987 Susan Butz-Stavin, Emmaus (Pa.)
862 Laurie Berger, San Diego Serra and San Diego Canyon Crest (Calif.)
831 Linda Krieser, Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.)
720 Karen Klassner, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
710 Cheryl Poore, Harwich, Monomoy, and Eastham Nauset (Mass.)
688 Eileen Donahue, Watertown (Mass.)
672 Sharon Sarsen, Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.)

Sept. 6, 2021 — And an 11th outfielder shall lead them

One of the themes of this website is seeing how history repeats itself. Back on Sept. 29, 2005, Rutgers University beat Temple University without a goalkeeper, as starter Rosalyn Wentko had a concussion the game before, and was held out as a precaution. Despite this, Rutgers and head coach Liz Tchou won the game.

This afternoon, Stanford University, a team still without a goalkeeper, managed to win with 12 outfielders in a 4-1 win over Dartmouth. The Cardinal did exactly what it had to do over the course of the game: keep possession of the ball and limit shots from the Big Green. The shot total for the game favored Stanford by 22 to 1.

The teams had played evenly over the course of the first half, but the Cards scored three straight goals to open their account, two of which were put in by junior forward Lynn Vanderstichele.

It’s an absolutely remarkable achievement by head coach Roz Ellis’ team, and it comes at a propitious time: the team now has a 2 1/2-week break before playing Vermont, which could be enough time to identify a goalkeeper willing to play for the side.

Sept. 5, 2021 — Falling short on numbers

A few years ago, it was projected that the game of football could face an existential threat if just 10 percent of youth players were not made available by their parents to play Pop Warner or high-school ball.

This year, the game of field hockey is, sadly, seeing some fraying at the edges when it comes to participation.

We’ve seen a couple of stories from the scholastic level about the lack of participation in the game in some small school districts. Lawrence (Mass.), which is in a city of 80,000, only had four people come out for field hockey, and may not have a team at all this autumn.

Down the coast, there is a new co-operative team which now is going to have the designation Westbrook-Lyme-Old Lyme, a combination of three Connecticut high schools. The new combo was necessitated by the fact that the Westbrook head coach Janet Dickey was seeing short numbers on her team.

“The first couple of days of practice, we had 12 on the roster, but only eight that were cleared to play,” Dickey tells Shore Publishing. “As we were going and we weren’t getting more kids, I brought up the prospect of finding a school nearby to bring in some more kids.”

Lyme and Old Lyme, located on the opposite side of the Connecticut River, are providing some crossover athletes from the girls’ lacrosse program so that the co-op field hockey program can take the field.

Another co-op team which is happening this fall is between two Allentown, Pa. high schools. Allentown Louis Dieruff (Pa.) and Allentown William Allen (Pa.) are forming a team to play Allen’s schedule in the East Penn Conference because of low numbers at both schools. Remember: this is the same William Allen team that made the state final in 2005.

Across the river in New Jersey, low numbers has caused Ewing (N.J.) to cancel its varsity season and play JV-only. Ewing has had a lot of hard-luck seasons over its existence, and had the cruelest blow of all when promising head coach Tiffany Bashore died suddenly before the 1998 season. Bashore brought the Blue Devils to within a game of automatic qualification for the state tournament the season before.

On the other side of the country, there is a story brewing at a place which just saw its field hockey program reinstated. Stanford University’s program was saved at the last minute from the chopping block, but at a cost. Head coach Tara Danielson left after the reinstatement, and new coach Roz Ellis arrived to find a team with players she didn’t recruit, and one with players who left via the transfer portal.

Problem is, the Cardinal do not have a designated goalkeeper on the roster. Not one.

This meant that Stanford has had to play its first two games of the season with 11 outfield players; a recent rules change has prevented the team from designating a kicking back with goalkeeping privileges.

Stanford has a game tomorrow against Dartmouth, then does not have a game for two weeks when the short-handed Cardinal play at Vermont and at Maine.

I hope Ellis and her coaching staff are able to find someone willing to put on the pads.

Sept. 3, 2021 — The Final Third, Ivy League* Edition

Please join us this afternoon at about 2:25 Eastern time on Facebook Live, as The Final Third takes a good look at the openers for several Ivy League teams, plus other action across college field hockey today.