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March 19, 2021 — Monthly Friday Statwatch for field hockey games played through March 17

Good morning, all.

We’ve taken notice of teams playing their Fall 2 seasons starting a couple of weeks ago, and, especially, with Massachusetts starting next week, there are lots of players which bear watching. It’s regrettable that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has such a short season, seeing as career assist leader Cami Crook of Somerset-Berkley Regional (Mass.) will only have nine games in order to improve her totals.

Below is our 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. We rely quite a bit on MaxPreps, which we believe is an easy platform for people to record their team’s data — so much so that it is now becoming a standard tool for playoff seeding in at least three states. I encourage coaches and managers 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.)
32 Marita Johnson, Hudson (Ohio)
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.)

While California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, New York, Virginia, Illinois, and the United X League of Pennsylvania are all playing, we could use your help. 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 dropping in, and we’ll be back in a month with field hockey’s Statwatch.

March 18, 2021 — The collapse of the Hockeyroos, complete?

Remember this?

Late yesterday, the head coach of the embattled Australia women’s field hockey team, Paul Gaudoin, tendered his resignation and turned over the fractured team to assistant Katie Allen.

The Gaudoin departure came in the wake of a decade’s worth of complaints and allegations about a dysfunctional culture within Hockey Australia. These allegations include bullying not only by members of the coaching staff, but bullying between players. Findings of bodyshaming and homophobia were also made known in findings by an independent review panel. Some 100 people, including former players, participated in the review.

All of this has come only four months before the Hockeyroos are scheduled to step onto the pitch in Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics. The current Hockeyroo squad is bereft of a number of top players such as Anna Flanagan, Rachael Lynch, Georgina Morgan, and Georgie Parker.

Flanagan has been on a five-year quest to be renamed as part of the Hockeyroos squad after a DWI conviction. While a number of other players have had to go to amateur leagues in order to try to play their way back into the national side, Parker, one of the most brilliant players of her generation, has started playing Australian Rules football in a relatively new national women’s league.

Australia’s women, after a decade and a half of amazing success, has fallen on hard times in recent years, including an unheard-of sixth-place finish at the Rio Olympics. This included a 2-1 loss to the United States in pool play, and an ignominious 4-2 crashout in the semifinals against regional rival New Zealand.

It’s hard to know whether the investigation, or its 29 recommendations, will result in any kind of long-lasting change within Hockey Australia. Indeed, I don’t have much confidence that the former invincibles will be able to get into the knockout stages of the tournament after their Group B matches.

March 16, 2021 — A league of necessity

The Fall 2 field hockey season is well and truly underway with games being place in several locations which had field hockey in the regular fall season.

Oddly enough, this also includes the single most prominent field hockey state in the country. Yep, Pennsylvania.

Even though Emmaus (Pa.), Palmyra (Pa.), and Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) won state titles last fall, there were a number of scholastic field hockey teams whose school districts decided to opt out of school sports last fall and have banded together in a single league.

Six of the nine school districts in the United X League — Sharon Hill Academy Park (Pa.), Cheltenham (Pa.), Prospect Park Interboro (Pa.), Norristown (Pa.), Reading (Pa.), and Bristol Harry S Truman (Pa.) — are divided into two, and play their divisional rivals once, and the teams in the other division once, for a total of seven matches.

The beauty of this spring competition is that none of these teams are in what would be called the elite teams in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Indeed, the last time any one of these schools made the PIAA Tournament was when Interboro qualified in 1978 and 1979.

But when you think about it, these field hockey players’ aren’t just happy to compete. They’re grateful to be able to get out on the pitch and have it out against live opposition.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

March 11, 2021 — No. 8 Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 2, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 1

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — What has made the field hockey match between Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) and Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) one of the best rivalries during the decade of the 2010s?

Well, you can point to the obvious — great players, great coaches, close and memorable games between two schools which are about a mile apart. But consider this: since 2012, one team ended the other’s season seven out of eight years.

On several occasions, it was the VHSL state championship final. In 2018, it was due to an incredible overtime matchup at a frigid Lorton South County (Va.). And in 2019, Cox ended First Colonial’s season at the “tipping point,” the 5A East semifinal round.

This afternoon, at the VIrginia Beach Sportsplex, the two sides engaged in another classic match, with Cox. the No. 8 teams in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, coming from behind to defeat First Colonial 2-1. The winning goal was an absolute bullet off the stick of Emme Schwartz in the third quarter. Stevie Drum scored her career 79th goal for the Falcons in the second quarter, which had answered FC’s opener in the fourth minute off an Emily Tammaro 1-up off a penalty corner.

At first blush, the game may not have symbolized a great deal when it comes to the Virginia public-school field hockey season. But with every game magnified with the shortened regular season and only one team making it out of each of the four regions in the VHSL playoffs, every play, every touch, every decision is magnified.

March 5, 2021 — Not a law yet

Yesterday, I was tuning into a pair of Virginia High School League games, and both played out very much alike when it came to the result.

These were two derby matches — Yorktown Grafton (Va.) vs. Yorktown Tabb (Va.), and Fredericksburg Stafford (Va.) vs. Stafford North Stafford (Va.). They unfolded about the same way, in that one team seemingly had an athletic and territorial advantage over the other, but the goalkeepers of the teams which were on the back foot were making a number of amazing saves to keep their opponents off the board.

Now, in my observations on scholastic field hockey over the years, I have posited that it takes longer for defenses to jell over the course of a season than offenses. But we haven’t codified this in one of our laws of field hockey (which you can read here). I think one reason why is that goalkeepers in the modern game have become so much better at not only shot-stopping, but taking control of the striking circle. I think this goes double in this Fall 2 field hockey season, as a number of players starting this week have just come off of the National Indoor Tournament, and goalies, especially, are in prime shape.

As it happens, Tabb beat Grafton by a 4-0 count, and Stafford took care of North Stafford 7-0. But I want to give the Grafton and North Stafford goalkeepers a shout-out because of their ability to frustrate their high-caliber opposition.

March 2, 2021 — Top 10 field hockey teams for games played through Feb. 28

With the start of spring field hockey this past week in California, followed by play in up to six other states, we start seeing some action amongst our Top 10 field hockey teams. There are also going to be a number of crucial matches on both coasts in the first half of March, so we’ll see who comes out ahead when our next rankings come out the first Tuesday in April. i

Our RightToRightIsRight.com No. 11 Team of the Month is St. Louis University. The Billikens were a program shattered when former coach Maria Whitehead died 14 years ago. But lo, the team has won its first three games, giving them confidence for when they hit the heart of their Atlantic 10 schedule later this month. Head coach Zoe Adkins, the British Columbia native, has gotten the team playing well.

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 open the season with Virginia Beach Ocean Lakes (Va.), then have Virginia Beach Kempsville (Va.) on Thursday; the March 11th match against First Colonial may be the fulcrum on which the entire season balances

9. San Diego Serra (Calif.) 0-0
The Conquistadores travel to San Diego Bishop’s School (Calif.) tomorrow, before Friday’s home tilt against Escondido San Pasqual (Calif.)

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. St. Louis University 3-0
Season complete: Billikens have not conceded a goal this season, but a two-game set against Miami will test their resolve

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

March 1, 2021 — The field hockey season opens in Los Angeles — for only two days

Remember this?

Well, late last week, a judge in Vista, Calif. ruled that youth sports, including high-school sports, could resume in the CIF San Diego Section “as long as the(y) follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols imposed for competition in professional and/or collegiate sports,” according to text of the order.

This puts San Diego County on par with field hockey and lacrosse teams in most of the Bay Area and in greater Los Angeles, some of whom are already having varsity matches.

This brings up a Kafka-esque situation for Los Angeles County. Last Friday, for example, Huntington Beach (Calif.) took on Newport Beach (Calif.) in the season-opener for both teams. However, the reopening of the sports calendar in California does not allow the CIF Southern Section to extend the field hockey season, which was scheduled to be on Saturday.

A two-day season? Something is definitely wrong with this picture.

Feb. 28, 2021 — The Final Third, Remix Edition

Please join us shortly before 2 p.m. Eastern time for whiparound coverage on what we call The Final Third. We may be found here; make sure you give us a like and share when you find us.

Today, in a year like no other, we’ll be doing something we’ve never done before: provide coverage of two different sports at the same time.

This could be real interesting or an absolute trainwreck. Join us, would you?

Feb. 26, 2021 — One more time, together

The end of the domestic indoor field hockey season comes this weekend with USA Field Hockey national tournament being held in Richmond and at Spooky Nook. While the Nook will be holding tournaments for U-10 and U-12 divisions, the Richmond Convention Center will be holding the U-19 championship, which will see many of the best scholastic field hockey players in the U.S.

Chief among them is the constellation of players on the U-19 WC Eagles Diamonds team, which is the favorite in Pool A. The team includes the two leading goal-scorers from the fall scholastic season, Hope Rose (90) and Ryleigh Heck (76) as well as the the player with the third-most goals amongst active scorers, Annika Herbine (141).

Also of note are Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) players Kelly Smith, Ashley Sessa, and Macy Szukics, as well as Mount St. Joseph Academy (Pa.), U.S.junior indoor national team member Megan Maransky, and future Duke player Alaina McVeigh, late of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy.

Look out also for a couple of great stories on the roster, neither of whom played a single varsity match last fall. The skilled Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.) standout Elizabeth Yeager did not play because of the shutdown of New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Council play. Instead, SHA played a series of friendlies and playdays last fall. Also, watch out for goalkeeper Kylie Walbert, whose high school, Ashburn Virginia Academy (Va.) does not have a varsity field hockey program.

Collectively, this team may be the single best indoor field hockey side at a National Indoor Tournament since the Thoroughbreds team from the 1998 tournament, which had the likes of Abbey Woolley and Abby Martin as part of a group which had every single player sign with a Division I college.

The regrettable thing is that COVID-19 and restrictions on crowds will deprive many folks from watching this team and the others participating in these tournaments. Here’s hoping that this won’t be the case next winter.

Feb. 24, 2021 — Californius interruptus

Yesterday, updated numbers were published by the California Department of Health, delineating the adjusted case rate for COVID-19 for the purpose of allowing many high-school sports to start as early as this Friday in the Golden State.

Not every county with a field hockey or lacrosse program made the cut, however. Chief amongst the counties that fell short is San Diego County, one of the great incubators of scholastic field hockey talent in America. The county had slightly more than 15 new cases for every 100,000 citizens, meaning that, while practices can continue, actual games cannot be played until Feb. 5th at the earliest.

Also falling short is Monterey County, which has a significant portion of the Pacific Coast Athletic League. Schools like Salinas (Calif.) and North Salinas (Calif.) are going to have to wait until the county’s adjusted rate goes below its current figure of 18.2 per 100,000.

Now, the failure of some counties to meet the standard is not going to affect girls’ lacrosse, yet. Games aren’t scheduled for California schools for several weeks yet, and the numbers are, thankfully, trending downward.

We’ll keep an eye on those metrics.