2018 FIELD HOCKEY PREVIEWS
By Nelson Coffin
While this week will be dedicated mostly to scrimmages, practices and non-league games, next week will be the starting point for conference play.
Although Notre Dame Prep, coming off its first title in school history, is the favorite to repeat in the A Conference, the Blazers will have to earn their way against tough opponents in a daunting schedule. B Conference champ St. Paul’s School for Girls has moved up to the A with Maryvale and John Carroll, making that league even stronger.
That leaves the B Conference open for many contenders, including C Conference winner Park, which has moved up to the B.
The C Conference will be up for grabs as well, with Friends and Mercy hoping to break through for the first time in more than a decade.
Teams are listed in alphabetical order and updates and additions will be added as they are received.
Many thanks to all of the coaches who have responded so far.
ANNAPOLIS AREA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
COACH: MALLORY O’HARA
2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 1-5-2
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 7-8-2
OUTLOOK: A pair of players who know how to score, center midfielder Sydney White (Verbally committed to Lehigh University)
and Messiah College commit Abigail Boyer, a forward/midfielder, lead the way for the Eagles. White, the program career record-holder for goals (34) and assists (26), will work with Boyer (19 and 17) to keep the attack flowing in the right direction.
Senior center forward Maggie Stallings and junior center back Livy Lenhart join the fun. A slew of other senior returnees, including Taylor Cho, Arianna Crawley, Courtney Fusting, Alyssa Hall, Bianca Iannicelli and Julia Moe, lend plenty of experience to the group. “With amazing talent and two college recruits, AACS is prepared and looking forward to a new and exciting season,” O’Hara said.
COACH: LESLEE BRADY
2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 6-5-1
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 11-6-1
OUTLOOK: When you talk about returning firepower, senior Margot Lawn’s accolades and numbers speak for themselves. Start with the 28 goals she scored as a junior that helped Lawn to IAAM All-Star and All-American plaudits with the added luster of being named one of the top 20 players in the U.S. by Max Field Hockey. Also back in the fold, sophomore midfielder Shelby Bumgarner, “will set up the offense for us,” Brady said, while junior Caitlin Koehler will run the defense for the Cavaliers. Other notables include senior midfielder Olivia Malamphy and sophomore defender Caitlin Lilliy Grant. “A lot will come down to defense and GK play,” Brady added. “Not a team to shy away from competition, our schedule includes nine teams ranked in the final Baltimore Sun poll of the top 15. NDP, GFS, Chesapeake, Severna Park, Broadneck, McDonogh, River Hill, St Paul's, and Hereford. All of which will help to prepare us for the IAAM tournament. The road to the IAAM championship goes through NDP, which went undefeated last season, yielding just four goals. However, we scored three of those, including two in an exciting overtime lost in the semifinals. Our girls are confident we can challenge them in the IAAM and are anxious to get started.”
GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL
COACH: TRACI DAVIS
2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 9-3
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 16-5
OUTLOOK: Despite being hit hard by graduation, the Grizzlies should have enough talent to contend again in the reconfigured A Conference with senior midfielder Leigh James, senior defender Emma Nesbitt and junior midfielders Celia Donner and Ryleigh McComas. The offense will get a boost from junior forwards Riley Patro and Macy Miller. “We have some rebuilding to do,” Davis confirmed. “Fortunately, we are returning with some strong experienced players. The team is working well together and hopeful for a shot at the championship but we are well aware of the strength in the A-Conference. With the moving up of Maryvale, John Carroll and SPSG, we will have our work cut out for us. It will be interesting to only face each opponent one time this year.”
INDIAN CREEK SCHOOL
COACH: JESSE LARSON
2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 2-6
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 4-7
OUTLOOK: Three stalwarts, senior midfielders Maddie Evans and Paige Wells and junior goalie Kendyl Underwood, will be charged with keeping Indian Creek in the thick of the B Conference chase this fall. “We are looking to bring a new style of play this year as well as develop a new group of underclassmen that will have to carry on the program next year after we lose a valuable senior class at the end of this year,” Larson said. “I like the new alignments and look forward to the day when alignment is based solely upon performance, i.e., top team moves up, bottom team moves down for each conference.”
JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL
COACH: ALICE PUCKETT
2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 6-2
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 7-8-1
OUTLOOK: “We are working hard to prepare for our move to the A conference,” Puckett said. “While this is a big jump, we are happy to have three of the schools (JC, Maryvale and St. Paul’s School for Girls) move up together.” A strong junior class that gained valuable playing time last year, including midfielders Katelyn Patrick and Ellie Bruggeman, defender Ryleigh Casserly and goalie Alexis Loder, should help make the upgrade a smooth one. Senior defender Audrey Barnhart and freshman Emma Campitelli add to the talent pool. “We are working on our passing game and trying to generate some offense out of transition,” Puckett added. “We have to be more physical as the pace of the game will be faster and more aggressive.”
COACH: JEN LANGDON
2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 4-7
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 4-8-2
OUTLOOK: Though Key ranked in the bottom half of the IAAM C conference last year, Langdon said that the Obezags allowed the second-fewest number of goals, 22. Last season. Because Key either lost or tied all of its four overtime games last fall, Langdon said that the program is intent on “building fast and strong players to help win games in regular time against these very closely matched teams.” Senior defender Delaney Snowden and sophomore forward Emma Morahan, who scored half of Key’s goals in ’17, return as anchors at either end of the field.
MARYVALE PREPARATORY SCHOOL
COACH: SHANNON RADEBAUGH
2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-1
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 12-7
OUTLOOK: Senior midfielder Elaina Stevers and sophomore forward Emma Radebaugh are returning IAAM All-Stars and will pace the Lions’ offense with senior midfielder Tess Keppel and senior forward Olivia Cerasoli. Senior Courtney Kelly anchors the defense. “Maryvale is looking forward to starting a new chapter in the A Conference this season,” Shannon Radebaugh said. “We know the competition will be tough, but this team is definitely ready for the challenge. We lost some key roles last year in our offense and defense. However, our offense will still get many scoring opportunities from Radebaugh and Cerasoli. Keppel is outstanding in controlling the middle of the field and Stevers is a versatile player who can contribute on both sides and Kelly will be our defensive lead. We look forward to competing among the best this season and growing and evolving each game.”
COACH: DENISE WOLF
2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-4
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 11-6-1
OUTLOOK: Senior IAAM All-Star and All-State midfielder Emma Shettig, who scored 24 goals as a junior, should be the anchor of the Eagles’ offense again this fall. The other returning junior mainstays are defender Jillian Ansell and goalie Liv Geoghan. “We are looking to have another competitive season,” said Wolf. “We expect to hang in the top half of the conference. We lost two starters, but have a very strong pool to pull from to replace our graduated seniors. The midfield line has shown great promise in our scrimmages and we will be working hard to develop our defense as we have to replace our graduated seniors.
With the new alignment, we will only play each team once, which makes some of our more competitive games that much more important.”
NOTRE DAME PREPARATORY SCHOOL
COACH: KATRINA ROSS
2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 12-0
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 18-0
OUTLOOK: What is most staggering about what the Blazers’ unbeaten ’17 campaign is that they claimed their first A Conference crown in school history with so many underclassmen, which should — and does — make them a heavy favorite to repeat this fall. With at least seven Division I commits on board, including senior midfielders Nathalie Friedman (Wake Forest), Meredith Medvetz (Wake Forest) and Olivia Kenny (Penn) and defender Rachel Borzymowski (Boston University), NDP has all the making of being dominant again. Sophomore defender Pyper Friedman will probably follow in the seniors’ footsteps when it’s her turn to sign a collegiate letter of intent as will others currently on the squad, according to Ross. “We are looking forward to a challenging and exciting season this year. With only losing one starter from last year's undefeated team, we are looking to improve on our season from last year by scheduling some of the top teams in the area and continuing to grow our game by competing against the best in Maryland,” Ross added. “It is our job as a staff to prepare these young women to continue their successes at the next level. The addition of St. Paul's, Maryvale and John Carroll to the A conference is exciting while adding more depth to our already strong conference. We are looking forward to playing these well-coached and competitive teams this season.”
ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL
COACH: CARLY LEVINE
2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 3-8-1
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 7-11-1
OUTLOOK: Junior midfielder/forward Shannon Smith and senior defenders Mary Griffin and Sophia Lintrenta will be the guiding lights for a team that boasts only four returning starters. “There are quite a few talented players, new to our team this year, that I look forward to seeing develop on the field this season,” Levine said. “I think it's great that we'll be playing our conference opponents only once during the season. It makes playoffs much more exciting when it's not the third game played against each other.”
COACH: BETZ WILD
2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 5-3
2017 OVERALL RECORD: 11-8
OUTLOOK: Led by senior midfielders Sydney Kirchenheiter and Marah Vain-Callahan, the Admirals should have plenty of stability on the offensive end of the field. Senior forward Abi Poindexter, junior midfielders Alaura Enright and Eva Gormley and sophomore midfielder Libby Wild add to the offensive thrust. Junior defender Haley Davis and senior goalie Jillian North give substance to the defense. After graduating 11 seniors with eight starters among them “the team continues to build more depth and experience with a greater number of club players than ever before. The new conference alignment gives us the opportunity to play teams we don’t usually see. Looking forward to playing our rival school, St. Mary’s, as a conference game.”