It’s shaping up to be another big year for the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery area high school field hockey teams.
They’ll have a difficult time topping what they did in 2016. Dock Mennonite Academy, Methacton, Plymouth Whitemarsh and Central Bucks East all finished at the top of their league standings. Gwynedd Mercy Academy won the District 1 Class-A championship while Mount Saint Joseph Academy (2A) and Central Bucks West (3A) both reached district championship games.
Some teams are coming back even stronger this year.
North Penn, a squad that finished second in the Suburban One League Continental Conference with a 9-3 league record and won a district playoff game, returns two first-team All-SOL Continental forwards in seniors Bri O’Donnell and Mikayla Barrow.
Plymouth Whitemarsh went undefeated in SOL American play with a perfect 14-0 record. The Colonials return 10 seniors plus junior midfielder Sam Spera, who was selected to the all-league first-team as a sophomore.
Methacton follows up a 15-3-2 season and a district quarterfinals appearance with plenty of returning talent. Seniors Julia Dickinson (defense), Olivia Hoover (forward) and Emily Owens (offense) all earned first-team All-Pioneer Athletic Conference honors as juniors.
Dock will need to replace arguably the best player in school history — 2016 All-Area Athlete of the Year Jill Bolton, who took her 111 career goals and four Bicentennial Athletic League MVP trophies to Liberty University. The Pioneers now have senior defenders Olivia Boyle and Liv Anderson leading a young team still searching for its identity.
CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH
Coach: Pat Toner (2nd year).
Last Year: 9-9-1 (5-7), 2nd Round of Districts.
Key Returners: Kasey Dietzel, Ally Fitts, Casey Reilly, Megan Weeks, Annie Brady, Mel Dunton, Megan Gillard, Anna Gillard, Sierra Davis, Francine Richick.
Key Losses: Lauren Dougherty, Erin Chioffe, Molly Sullivan.
Season Outlook: “We have been working hard both on and off (the field). We have some holes to fill due to graduation and injury. If we can fill those holes, we should be competitive in our very strong league.”
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST
Coach: Courtney Lepping (5th year).
Last Year: 17-5-1 (9-2-1), 2nd place District 1, lost 1st Rd States.
Key Returners: Taylor Mason (12, midfield), Casey Reichwein (11, defense), Dani Dundas (12, midfield), Laura Kubit (12 GK), Liv Fitzgerald (12, defense).
Key Losses: Bryn Boylan, Cadera Smith, Ryan Murray, Abby Gilvary, Lydia Bothwell, Taylor Levant.
Season Outlook: “Based on what we’ve seen so far we have a very balanced team. I think we may even sneak up on some people that underestimate us. This group is truly coming together and playing well as a team. We have twelve seniors so I’m excited to see who steps up as leaders and how the chemistry continues to build. CB East, last year’s champion, is the team to beat. We look forward to facing the strength of our league and working towards making District Playoffs once again.”
Coach: Michelle Waldspurger (6th year).
Last Year: 19-4 (14-0), first round of states.
Key Returners: Olivia Boyle (12th, defense), Liv Anderson (12th, defense), Kate Strickland (11th, center mid), Macy Balmer (11th, striker).
Key Losses: Jill Bolton, Liz Wanamaker, Emme Raieta.
Players to Watch: Cedar Smith (10th), Kate Landis (10th), Elizabeth Longacre (10th), Sophie Zaskoda (10th), Elle Bergey (10th).
Season Outlook: “We have young team this year. We are working hard and working at playing together as a team. Our main focus has been playing for each other. This year’s team will be lead by my two seniors Olivia Boyle and Liv Anderson. They have been real focused on each of the girls and leading them both on the field and off. We are looking forward to everything coming together.”
Coach: Jackie Connard (3rd Year).
Last Year: 14-7 (6-5).
Key Returners: Colleen Carrigan (12), Maddie Cooper (12), Hannah Santos (12), Sammy Popper (11), Catherine McFadden (10), Maddi Ota (10), Grace Pacitti (10), Jordan Roche (10).
Key Losses: Isabelle Jacobs, Ali Crump.
Season Outlook: “Germantown Academy returns the majority of last year’s starting lineup for the 2017 season. The girls are committed to playing smart and selfless hockey. They’re are focused on recognizing their strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a team, and figuring out how to capitalize on strengths and improve on weak spots. I’m excited to see this group work together to meet new challenges this season!”
Coach: Sarah Quintois (6th year).
Last Year: 15-5-2 (10-2-1), PAC Playoffs, 3rd round of districts.
Key Returners: Olivia Hoover (12, forward), Emily Owens (11, forward), Julia Dickinson (11, defense), Gretchen Alderfer (12, defense), Katy Benton (11, midfield), Frankie Lucchesi (11, midfield), Liz Chipman (10, midfield/defense).
Key Losses: Addie Frey, Emily Mycek, Jackie Cerchio, Addy Borkowski, Lauren Rhoads.
Season Outlook: “The Warriors return six starters from last year’s team and have strong players to add to the line-up. This year’s team has great strength through the starting line and some experienced players who will see significant playing time. There is great sense of energy and excitement within the players on this year’s program. The team has sights on making the league, district and state playoffs.”
MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH
Co-Coaches: Mary Beth Stefanowicz (1st year), Jeannie Wallis (1st year)
Last Year: 20-5-1 (9-2-1). District 1-2A Finalist, State Quarterfinalist.
Key Returners: Ashley Moore (12th, defense), Jax Nyzio (12th, defense), Mary Kate Stefanowicz (12th, midfield), Grace Wallis (12th, midfield), Mari Kniezewski (11th, midfield), Julianna Kratz (11th, forward), Ellie Maransky (11th, forward).
Key Losses: Margot Biamon, Gabby Egan, Margaret Lynch, Hannah Poliwoda.
Season Outlook: “We have a very talented pipeline of players and look forward to great season.”
Coach: Shannon McCracken (6th year)
Last Year: 13-7 (9-3), district second round.
Key Returners: Mikayla Barrow (12, forward), Lauryn Fahey (12, midfield), Erica Kelly (12, defense), Bri O’Donnell (12, forward), Julia Scanlon (12, midfield), Emily Crawford (11, forward).
Key Losses: Amber Blackshear, Seema Sajjan, Brynne Schoppe, Tori Bickel, Alli Dickinson, Jenna Whitman.
Season Outlook: “We have a challenging start to our schedule playing top teams in the area and the conference is top notch, so it will be important to take it game by game, set goals, and prepare for each opponent. After finishing third in the Continental Conference and 9th in the District in 2016, the team is looking to be competitive in the league once again and has their eye on post-season play. This group of players is not only talented, but they work hard and are coachable.”
Coach: Erik Enters (9th year)
Last Year: 9-8-1, District playoff appearance.
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Taylor Hamm (12, sweeper), Gabby Martina (11, forward), Katie Wuerstle (10, midfield), Danielle Hamm (10 midfield).
Key Losses: Miranda Wesley, Abby Bergman, Natalie Johnston.
Season Outlook: “Perkiomen Valley returns again with a young but more experienced team from last year. We graduated nine seniors last year but only have nine total juniors and seniors on the squad this year. We will be carrying a large freshmen and sophomore group (30 girls) to round out our JV/Varsity program. The big change for this year is that our school board approved us playing off campus this year at the Training Center on their turf field in Spring City near Longstreth. For a team that was 2-7 in games played on turf and 7-1-1 on grass last year, the transition to a faster surface will be tough at first but we hope to be even more competitive in our away games this season. Last year PV gave up only 11 goals to our PAC opponents in 13 games. Although we will miss Miranda Wesley in goal, senior Hannah Roerden has been working very hard to prepare for the starting job in goal. With the addition of Samantha Rumler (Millersville ’17) – as our Varsity Assistant/Goalie Coach, and a healthy Taylor Hamm steading the defense, our team is hoping to lower that total to single digits. Perk Valley hopes to return to the PAC final four and have a good run in districts this year.”
Coach: Charise Halteman (2nd year).
Last Year: 17-1-3 (14-0), SOL American champs, lost in third round of districts.
Key Returners: Sophia Kolkka (12, defense), Jessica Dixon (12, forward), Michelle McGrath (12, midfield), Katherine Houghton (12, GK), Samantha Spera (11, midfield), Kennedy Reardon (11, midfield), Jennifer Byrne (11, defense).
Key Losses: Frankie O’Brien, Samantha Mangin, Kolby Bechtel, Kerin Bechtel.
Season Outlook: “Under the leadership of our ten seniors and a strong core of starting varsity returners, our team is in a great position to continue competing at a high level in our league and advance to the District One playoffs. The team has been working hard during preseason to grow and improve as individuals, and we have many players stepping up and setting high standards for the team. We have a lot of positive energy moving in to the start of our season!”
Coach: Jenny Anderson (7th year).
Last Year: 12-7-1.
Key Returners: Erin Wilson (12th, defense), Clare Kennedy (12th offense/midfield), Sarah Cooper (12th defense), Kara Smeltz (12th defense).
Key Losses: Lexie Nugent, Emily Hart, Lexi Ciano.
Season Outlook: “This year we are returning a core of the starters from last year’s team. We will look to build on the experience gained from last year and use it to help us be competitive in all of our games this year.”
Coach: Heather Boyer (19th year)
Last Year: 12-7-1 (11-3).
Key Returners: Maddie Templeton (12, midfield), Molly Lunney (12 forward/midfield), Emma Mead (12, forward), Sarah Herchenroder (12 GK), Meghan Muth (11. GK), Emma Kate Powell (11, defense), Ryann Kullman (11, midfield), Lauren Greene (11, forward).
Key Losses: Marlee Siegel, Shannon Reape, Jess Grodsky, Alex Thompson, Elizabeth Barber, Ruby Dougherty, Allie DeMichele.
Season Outlook: “At this point in the preseason, we are excited for the 2017 season. We will be competitive in every game we play this season, and if progress continues, a return to post-season play won’t be out of the question again this year.”
Coach: Angie Yanocha (12th year)
Last Year: 6-10-2 (3-6-1)
Key Returners: Molly Weygand, Rella Staley
Key Losses: Alyssa Adinolfi, Yasmin Gant, Tatum Thomas
Season Outlook: “Our goal is to continue to improve as a team and build from our basics. Several new players will be stepping into different roles this year and we hope to work successfully together as a team and get stronger with each game.”
Coach: Karen Grossi (10th year).
Last Year: 7-10 (7-7).
Key Returners: Jess Flanagan (12, attack), Chloe Tice (12, midfield).
Key Losses: Allison Felicetti, Emily Keene, Kylee Bowman, Becca Miekley, Madison Mull.
Season Outlook: “This is a rebuilding year. Many girls on our team are new to varsity and/or new to the position they will be playing this year. They have the skills and if they can learn to play together quickly we hope to see success.”
VILLA MARIA ACADEMY
Coach: Daan Polders (4th year).
Last Year: 20-3 (10-2), Catholic Academies champions, lost in State semi final.
Key Returners: Lindsay Dickinson (12), Erin Zielinski (12), Mary Harkins (11).
Key Losses: Annina Iacobucci, Jen Finley.
Season Outlook: “Our biggest challenge is playing better than last year and filling open positions. One of our strengths is the experience we have from the past seasons and use that to become a better team.”