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Archive for Field hockey

Jan. 6, 2020 — Betty Shellenberger, 1922-2019

I didn’t want to go too much further without mentioning the passing of a woman who was the Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson of her era.

Betty Shellenberger, who died last month at the age of 98, played for the U.S. senior national women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams from 1939 to 1961.

And here’s the interesting part: the years she wasn’t participating, she was enlisted in the U.S. Marines during World War II.

Of course, back then, the Marines weren’t necessarily the storm-the-beach take-that-outpost group of attack-minded men that they are today. Shellenberger served as an aviation mechanic in California during the war.

She came back to the States to coach and teach at a couple of Quaker schools in Philadelphia, and introduced the sport of lacrosse and field hockey at a number of secondary schools as well as Chestnut Hill College. She coached both sports at the school until 1977.

Later in life, she gave back to the sport as an umpire, rules interpreter, and representative to a number of rules committees in both lacrosse and field hockey.

But what gets me is the fact that she wore our national colors in two outdoor sports spanning four decades.

In these days of the specialization of sport, you’re unlikely to see this ever again.


Jan. 5, 2020 — The end of a simple philosophy?

For the last 20 years, this site has been making note of what makes successful teams in the sporting world, and the very important role of coaching and making the right people buy into that coach’s philosophy.

The greatest example I have seen in all of sport the last few years is the connection and leadership between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

Belichick has one simple mantra, one which has actually made its way as a series of mini-documentary programs by NFL Films.

The mantra: “Do your job.”

So simple. And yet so difficult.

When I watch teams like the Eastern field hockey and McDonogh girls’ lacrosse, there is certainly something to be said about how just about any coach could win with the talent pool on the teams that have won games, seasons, and championships. It wouldn’t happen without a coaching staff who knows not only how to put the right talent in the right positions, but who also know the players most likely to buy into the system.

In other words, the players who would do their jobs.

After last night’s New England loss, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the partnership between Brady and Belichick will continue. That’s up to ownership and whether Brady wants to go through another season.

Dec. 30, 2019 — From the right hand

The field hockey program at Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) could have looked high and low for the coach needed to replace 1984 Olympian Gina Buggy.

Turns out, all EA needed to do was look in the same coaching box.

Stefanie Fee, who represented the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and also was part of the 2014 U.S. team which won the first major trophy for the women’s national team in 94 years of international competition, was hired recently as coach for the Churchwomen.

Episcopal, in Buggy’s final season as coach, finished as the winners of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA). This included wins over Louisville Assumption (Ky.), and Norfolk Cape Henry Collegiate (VA) in the National High School Invitational.

The Churchwomen, with high-performance players up and down its lineup, are a definite favorite for Inter-Ac and PAISAA honors in 2020, and hiring Fee can’t hurt.

Dec. 27, 2019 — United States Coach of the Year: Ali Good, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)

When Ali Good graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1999, she could have chosen to go into her family’s grocery business.

She did, but she also received a call from her high school, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.), to join the field hockey coaching staff.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Dec. 23, 2019 — A hire that USA Field Hockey may have gotten right

For the record, the hiring today of Caroline Nelson-Nichols continues USA Field Hockey’s trend of hiring foreign-born coaches the last 20 years, as the former Columbia University coach was born in Hamilton, Bermuda.

But Nelson-Nichols is as all-American as they come. She prepped at Salem (Va.) before matriculating to a Hall-of-Fame field hockey career at Old Dominion University. She would then go on to represent the USA in two Olympics, and she was an absolute rock at defense and defensive midfielder for the States.

It’s why, I think, her hiring is an inspired choice as head coach for a reeling U.S. women’s national team program. I don’t think this was a “panic button” choice at all; she’s a coach who has built good success in her time at Columbia, to the point where her incoming class of committed players includes Annabelle Brodeur, part of the No. 1 Oak Knoll field hockey team.

Nelson-Nichols will be, I believe, the kind of coach who can build the team from the back. WIth an elite world-level goalkeeper in Kelsey Bing, a defense can be built around her, with the rest of the parts finding their roles during training.

That training is going to have to come with dispatch: the first U.S. match of 2020 is one month from now against the world champions, Holland.

Dec. 20, 2019 — The Final Top 50

We’re back with our (reasonably) well-researched national Top 50. Heading this list, of course, are, once again, the two Garden State Firm rivals, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) and Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.).

The gap between the two teams has grown a bit thanks to a pair of 4-1 wins on the part of the Royals. However, next year the northern queens graduate a lot of seniors, and Eastern returns the nation’s leading scorer, Ryleigh Heck.

After some long evenings with copious amounts of vitamin-enhanced water and the occasional egg nog, here’s our Top 50:

1. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 26-0
2. Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 23-2
3. Delmar (Del.) 19-0
4. Somerset-Berkley (Mass.) 24-0
5. West Lawn Wilson (Pa.) 25-3
6. Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 18-1
7. Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) 19-0
8. Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 23-2
9. Greenwich (Conn.) Sacred Heart 21-2
10. Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) 16-3-1
11. Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) 23-1-3
12. Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 20-1-1
13. Winnetka New Trier (Ill.) 26-2-1
14. Palmyra (Pa.) 22-3
15. Dexter (Mich.) 19-1-2
16. Westport Staples (Conn.) 21-1-1
17. Oley (Pa.) Valley 25-2
18. North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) 23-2-1
19. Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 20-1-1
20. Gahanna Columbus Academy (Ohio) 20-0-1
21. Louisville Assumption (Ky.) 17-10-1
22. Maine-Endwell (N.Y.) 16-3
23. West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.) 24-3
24. Langley (Va.) 20-1-1
25. San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) 22-2-1
26. St. Louis Mary Institute-Country Day School (Mo.) 17-3-1
27. Mullica Hill Clearview (N.J.) 22-3-1
28. Gloucester (Va.) 19-2
29. Houston St. John’s (Tex.) 15-2
30. Severna Park (Md.) 16-2
31. Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.) 17-2
32. Fredericksburg James Monroe (Va.) 20-3
33. San Diego Serra (Calif.) 22-3
34. Owings Mills Garrison Forrest (Md.) 17-3-1
35. Skowhegan (Maine) 18-0
36. Denver Colorado Academy (Colo.) 18-0
37. Guilford (Conn.) 21-0
38. Sykesville Liberty (Md.) 16-0
39. Los Angeles Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) 18-0
40. Dover-Sherborn (Mass.) 21-1-2
41. Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic 16-2
42. Granby (Conn.) Memorial 18-0-1
43. Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.) 12-3-1
44. Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day School 18-3-2
45. St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 19-5
46. Pottstown Hill School (Pa.) 17-3
47. Weston Rivers School (Mass.) 18-0-1
48. Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate (Va.) 15-4-1
49. Windsor (Vt.) 14-2-1
50. Windham (N.H.) 16-1

And bear in mind:  San Jose Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) 18-2-2, Westminster (Md.) 13-5, Hanover (N.H.) 14-1-1, Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.) 19-3, Bronxville (N.Y.) 17-3-2, Emmaus (Pa.) 26-1, East Greenwich (R.I.) 15-1-1, South Burlington Rice Memorial (Vt.) 12-4-1, Bristol Mount Abraham Union (Vt.) 12-3-2, Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 15-3, Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels (Wisc.) 9-6

Dec. 17, 2019 — The Final Statwatch for 2019

NOTE: We’re calling an audible here, postponing our Top 50 until Friday, so today, we’ll run our Final Statwatch for 2019.

One of the things we do with Statwatch over the course of the season is compare what we’ve been able to find in statistical coffers with what is written in newspapers who cover the sport.

We’ve been able to establish, for example, that Cami Crook, the junior attacking midfielder for Somerset-Berkley (Mass.) is only the fifth player in recorded National Federation history to record as many as her total of this year, 47.

It’s notable, of course, that the national assist record-holder, Haley Schleicher, exceeded that number all four years when she was at Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.). But Crook, who is going to Providence College in the fall of 2021, is on the verge of another unique honor. She is just 11 goals away from becoming the latest member of the 100-100 Club, for players who scored 100 goals and assisted on 100 others. Amazingly enough, she would join her brother Lucas on that exclusive list.

So, with that, here is our final collection of American scholastic field hockey statistics, culled from, amongst other sources, MaxPreps, Berks Game Day,, The Washington Post, Long Island Newsday, The Boston Herald, the KHSAA, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Denver Post.

78 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
76 Katie McLaughlin, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.)
67 Lily Santi, West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.)
66 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
63 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
58 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
56 Jordan Carr, Point Pleasant Boro (N.J.)
53 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
53 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
51 Elizabeth Yeager, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.)
49 Lauren Wadas, Palmyra (Pa.)

49 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
48 Taryn Mayer, Huntingdon Valley Lower Moreland (Pa.)
46 Bridget Murphy, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
45 Talia Schenck, Lawrence (N.J.)

47 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
38 Elizabeth Yeager, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.)
38 Abby Periard, South Oldham (Ky.)

37 Carly Cole, West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.)
35 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)
35 Sydney Scales, Walpole (Mass.)
33 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
33 Ciana Riccardo, Downingtown (Pa.) West
32 Allie Palumbo, Mullica Hill Clearview (N.J.)
32 Natali Foster, Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.)
30 Sarah Beers, Oley (Pa.) Valley
30 Lilly Smith, New Hope-Solebury (Pa.)
30 Annabelle Hasselbeck, Weston Rivers School (Mass.)
29 Amy Griffin, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.)
29 Zoe Campisi, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.)
29 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
29 Alanna Richardson, Hamilton Pingree School (Mass.)
28 Hannah Berry, Holden Wachusett (Mass.)
28 Annabella Mason, Alexandria West Potomac (Md.)
28 Rachel Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)

206 Sophia Gladieux, Oley (Pa.) Valley
157 Lily Santi, West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.)
156* Kara Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
142 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
134 Jordan Carr, Point Pleasant Boro (N.J.)
133 Hope Rose, Harrisburg Central Dauphin (Pa.)
132 Bridget Murphy, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
122 Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
117 Annie Grace Louthan, Chesterfield Matoaca (Va.)
116 Hannah Maxwell, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
116 Lauren Wadas, Palmyra (Pa.)
109 Lauren Parente, Wyoming (Pa.) Area
108** Elizabeth Yeager, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.)
107 Annika Herbine, Emmaus (Pa.)

106 Ava Borkowski, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.)
103 Taryn Tkachuk, St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.)
102 Rachel Bohn, Newport (Pa.)
102 Alex Wesneski, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
100 Katie McLaughlin, Winnetka New Trier (Ill.)
**–four-year total

132 Cami Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
122 Lucas Crook, Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)

221 Emmaus (Pa.)
200 Voorhees Eastern (N.J.)
197 Somerset-Berkley (Mass.)
188 Gloucester (Va.)
167 Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)
156 Oley (Pa.) Valley

64 Delmar (Del.)
58 North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
42 Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.)
42 Somerset-Berkley (Calif.)

Thanks for reading Statwatch this season, and we’ll be back in the spring for interesting lacrosse doings.