TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for Field hockey

Sept. 15, 2017 — The perils of running afoul of the Constitution of the United States

Over the last dozen or so years, there has been dread, fear, and just a little bit of paranoia for non-revenue student-athletes at the University of California, Berkeley.

It’s much more than the kerfuffle which saw the school’s field hockey team lose its home ground for several seasons. It’s more than the cuts that were saved only at the last minute through alumni-funded donations.

And now, as it turns out, perhaps Berkeley’s decisionmakers made an error of huge proportions when it comes to Title IX compliance.

It’s come out this week that since the spring of this year, the U.S. Office of Civil Rights has put the university’s athletic department under continuous monitoring.

Usually this kind of compliance activity can be accomplished through reports written by lawyers or consultants. But to have monitors on campus, examining decisions as they happen? That’s a new one.

But what’s also new is what’s revealed at the end of the story: UC Berkeley’s athletic department is $400 million in debt.

That, frankly, could be the start of a domino effect when it comes to colleges defaulting. Only a couple of NCAA Division I universities have budget balance, and a lot of it is because of profligate spending on football and men’s basketball, and the inability of sponsors and donors to make up the difference.

Makes you wonder what might happen if the Feds step in at the rest of the 149 Football Bowl Subdivision universities.

Advertisements

Sept. 13, 2017 — A lawsuit in Philadelphia has the school district flat-footed

Remember this?

Well, this has been happening the last few days.

And given the incredibly weak-as-water response by the flacks at the School District of the City of Philadelphia at the end of the story, I think McRae has not only a winning case, but one which may broaden legal definitions even in the face of government interference.

Watch this space.

Sept. 9, 2017 — An even bigger cannonball

Over the past two decades, one of the hallmarks of the Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) field hockey team is their propensity for getting off to a good start in important games.

Yesterday, in a non-league contest, the Vikings opened their game against Madison (N.J.) Borough with four goals in a shade over 8 1/2 minutes in an eight-goal first-half on the way to an 11-0 win.

Eastern, a team which still has many pieces from a team which won last year’s Group IV state title, wasn’t playing just any other opponent. This was against a Madison Borough team which beat a good Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) last Tuesday by a 3-0 margin and, by virtue of its recent state tournament history, had to be part of the conversation for group final honors.

Jessica Maute, the senior midfielder, had four goals and now has 100 combined goals and assists in her career.

Sept. 8, 2017 — Finding 00s

This year, Sue Butz-Stavin will hit her 900th career victory with Emmaus (Pa.). Laurie Berger of San Diego Serra (Calif.) could hit her 800th win in mid-season.

And a number of coaches are just at the brink of 600 wins, such as Ann Marie Davies of Madison (N.J.) Borough, Bob Derr of Lititz Warwick (Pa.), Sharon Sarsen of Shrub Oak Lakeland (Pa.), and Debby Watson of Chesterfield Barat Academy (Mo.).

But there is plenty of backstory behind last night’s 600th win for Cathy Keiser of Selinsgrove (Pa.) Area. Read this story from the Sunbury Daily Item.

Sept. 6, 2017 — Mystique vs. progress

One of the unique aspects of the Delaware high-school field hockey tournament is that the tournament is just one bracket. It doesn’t matter whether you were a large or a small public school, a Catholic school, a prep school, or even a military academy — you had an equal chance of winning.

Last year, for example, a school representing a village of under 2,000 on the Delaware-Maryland border beat a private-school team which had won 18 state championships.

This year, however, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association is, like neighboring Virginia and Pennsylvania, expanding its tournament to two divisions, split by size. Eight teams will play down to the Division I championship for larger schools, while a dozen berths are up for grabs for the smaller Division II schools.

It’s notable that last year’s state finalists — Delmar (Del.) and Wilmington Tower Hill (Del.), will both be playing in the Division II bracket. Division I will be dominated, I think, by Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) and Camden Caesar Rodney (Del.), but schools like The Charter School of Wilmington (Del.) and Dover (Del.) will have a chance to play for a state championship, something neither team has done very often.

Yes, the mystique of having one state championship without different classifications is something I’m going to miss from the First State. However, it’s a measure of progress that more teams are playing field hockey and are clamoring to make the postseason.

Sept. 5, 2017 — An enormous cannonball over the bow of NJSIAA Group II

This afternoon saw the start of scholastic field hockey in the always-competitive state of New Jersey. And this includes what has historically been the most competitive of the state tournaments, Group II, which takes in schools from about 500 to 800 students. Indeed, when you think about it, the current NJSIAA Tournament of Champions holder is a Group II school, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.).

There was a golden age for the group about a decade and a half ago, but after the hurting that one extremely large schools (Voorhees Eastern) and one extremely small ones (Summit Oak Knoll) put on everyone else the last decade or so, I think Group II is undergoing a renaissance.

Need proof? Today, Madison (N.J.) Borough, a Group II school, beat Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) 3-0. Bridgewater-Raritan is the same school which, only three months ago, took home the Tournament of Champions trophy in a girls’ field-invasion sport.

But that sport was lacrosse. This could be a major statement by Ann Marie Davies’ Dodgers. The next chance for Madison to make another statement: Saturday, when the team travels to McAleer Stadium to take on Eastern.

And thanks to today’s result, Saturday has suddenly has become a huge contest.

Sept. 4, 2017 — The power of a home field

It’s a place with a very boring name: “The Varsity Field Hockey & Lacrosse Field.” But for Norfolk (Va.) Academy, it is one of only a small handful of on-campus water-based turf pitches at an American secondary school.

And there are exciting things happening on this field, and with this team, in 2017.

Last week, NA opened its season with a 16-0 shutout of Chesapeake Grassfield (Va.). Last Thursday, however, the team may have won the most significant game in its history, beating last year’s VHSL Class 6A champion Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 4-2.

While Norfolk Academy is going to play its usual tough league schedule, there is one game which bears watching. Sept. 16, Norfolk Academy welcomes Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.). Conestoga not only has former Norfolk Academy player Charlotte DeVries on the roster, but the team is coached by former Kent State coach Kerry DeVries.

Conestoga is coming off a 22-2 season in which the Pioneers won the PIAA District 1-AAA championship.

Should be an absolutely mouth-watering matchup, one you can’t miss.