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Reporter/Times Herald 2018 Field Hockey Preview

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Sam Spera moves up field with the ball near Springfield’s Hannah Grothusen during their game on Oct. 5, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery News field hockey teams are just about a week away from getting the 2018 regular season started.

There is plenty of talent returning from last year and new players ready to replace those who have graduated.

In the Suburban One League, North Penn finished second in the Continental Conference last season, but needs to replace a large and talented senior class that led the Knights to the District 1 Class 3A quarterfinals. Plymouth Whitemarsh won the American Conference with a 14-0 record in 2017. The Colonials will look to continue that success and translate it to district wins with a good amount of starters returning, led by senior Sam Spera.

In the Pioneer Athletic Conference, Methacton is coming off a dominant season. The Warriors went 20-1 last year and 10-0 in league play. The PAC champions return seven starters from the 2017 squad, but lost their top two scorers. Katy Benton and Molly Frey are both seniors that earned 1st team All-PAC and All-State honors last season. They should be near the top of the PAC again and hope to make noise in districts and qualify for states.

Methacton’s Katy Benton tries to pass the ball upfield past Phoenixville’s Hannah Syrek. (Sam Stewart/Digital First Media)

Jenkintown, Lower Moreland and Dock Mennonite all are primed to make runs in the Bicentennial Athletic League. All three finished over .500 in league play last season with Jenkintown at 8-5, Lower Moreland 11-3 and Dock 10-4. Lower Moreland finished third in the District 1 Class-A playoffs.

In the Catholic League, Archbishop Carroll finished 8-1, Archbishop Wood 6-3, Lansdale Catholic 4-5 and Bishop McDevitt 2-7. Carroll and Wood each return a 1st team All-Catholic player. The Patriots bring back defender Keri Daly and the Vikings return midfielder Katelyn Manero.

ARCHBISHOP CARROLL
Head Coach: Christina Elisio (3rd season)
Last Year: 11-5, 8-1 PCL
Key Returners: Keri Daly (12), Maeve Riehman (12), Carly Bateman (11)
Key Losses: Hannah Bateman (Catholic), Jade Orsatti, Madison Nord (Scranton), Sydney D’Orsogna, Jenna Barrett, Mary Bushner
Season Outlook: “Many of the girls have varsity experience which we believe will help them this season. They display confidence on the field and mesh well as a team. The girls are willing to play any position in which they are needed and ready to step up this year. These girls demonstrate teamwork both on and off the field. They work hard each day and keep raising the bar. Their skill work has improved and their vision on the field is remarkable. They work extremely well together as a UNIT! Our biggest challenge that we face is having lost 5 starters to graduation mostly in the mid field and on defense. We have girls who are playing different positions this year than they did last year. We are extremely excited and confident about our team and season. With change comes opportunity and we know the girls are up for the challenge!”

BISHOP McDEVITT
Head Coach: Diane Lieber Campbell (1st season)
Last Year: 2-7 PCL
Key Losses: Sara Murray, Julie Rock, Danielle Greenburg
Key Returners: Erin Coffey (12), Jackie Carroll (12), Leah Humber (11)
Season Outlook: “We are looking to rebuild our program this year. Last year we were plagued with many injuries. We changed our conditioning routine to assure that the players are in the best possible shape. We have strong returning players and a number of talented freshman. Our goals for this year include making it to playoffs in the PCL’s and reclaiming the title of District 12 A Champions for the PIAA.”

Dock Mennonite’s Macy Balmer advance the ball upfield near Gwynedd Mercy Academy’s Caroline Sweeney at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken during their game on Oct. 23, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

DOCK MENNONITE
Head Coach: Michelle Waldspurger (7th season)
Last Year: 10-9 overall, 10-4 in BAL, District berth
Key Returners: Kate Strickland (12), Macy Balmer (12), Kate Landis (11), Cedar Smith (11), Sophea Zaskoda (11), Elle Bergey (11), Libbie Derstine (10), Olivia Yetter (10), Kylie Godshall (10), Savahn Duerksen (10), Casey Harper (10)
Key Losses: Olivia Boyle (New Haven)
Season Outlook: “Looking forward to this year — we only lost two from last year and we are off to great start — our captains will be leading this team and girls are working hard, having fun, and have set goals this season to reach so we are looking forward to achieving them — I see a lot of good positive energy and that can effect your level of play on so many levels”

METHACTON
Head coach: Sarah Quintois (7th season)
Last year: 20-1, 13-0 PAC, second round of Districts
Key returners: Katy Benton (12), Molly Frey (12), Grace Hirst (12), Frankie Lucchesi (12), Rachel Alderfer (11),Liz Chipman (11), Alexa Kratz (10)
Key losses: Gretchen Alderfer (Towson), Julia Dickinson (OSU), Olivia Hoover (Harvard), Emily Owens (Drexel), Jillian Kratz
Season outlook: “Methacton returns 7 starters from last year’s PAC championship team. The Warriors have big shoes to fill on the scoring and defensive end. The team graduated their two top scorer from last fall. Several strong younger players will add nicely to the line-up. This year’s team has great strength through the starting line but several other players will see significant time. There is a great sense of energy and excitement this year and the team is ready for the season to begin. The team has sights on making the league, district and state playoffs.”

MOUNT ST. JOSEPH
Head coach: Sue Wentzel (1st season)
Last year: 17-5-1, 10-2 Catholic Academies, District 1 berth
Key returners: Mary Kniezewski (12), Julianna Kratz (12), Ellie Maransky (12), Maeve McCarthy (12), Madeline Niekelski (12), Rory Williamson (11)
Key losses: Grace Wallis (UVA), Mary Kate Stefanowicz (Bucknell), Ashley Moore (Scranton)
Season outlook: “The Mount Field Hockey team looks to be on top in the Catholic Academy League.  With a mix of returning starters and newcomers, the Mount will prove to be a strong competitor. Senior co-captains Jules Kratz & Ellie Maransky lead the offensive line backed by a strong defense in senior co-captain Mari Kniezewski, senior back Maddie Niekelski, junior back Rory Williamson, and senior goalie Maeve McCarthy.  Players to watch are sophomore mids Kennedy Cliggett, Megan Maransky, & Meghan McGinley.  With finesse on the field and passion for the game, this team is a force to be reckoned with!”

NORTH PENN
Head Coach: Shannon McCracken (7th season)
Last Year: 12-5-1, 9-2-1 SOL Continental, 11th seed in District 1 berth
Key Returners: Emily Crawford (12), Meghan Daniels (12), Kristin Varilla (12)
Key Losses: Mikayla Barrow (Appalachian State), Lauryn Fahey, Rachael Fisher, Anissa Gardizy, Erica Kelly (Fairfield), Bri O’Donnell (Penn State), Kellie Pickford (Salisbury), Morgan Rees (Susquehanna), Julia Scanlon (Catholic)
Season Outlook: “We have a challenging schedule playing top teams in the area and the conference is top notch, so it will be important to take it game by game and prepare, prepare, prepare. 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 young, but they are hungry. They work hard, are athletic, and get along really well.”

North Penn’s Emily Crawford moves the ball up field with Central Bucks South’s Annie Brady in pursuit during their game on Oct 31, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

PERKIOMEN VALLEY
Head Coach: Erik Enters (10th season)
Last Year: 13-7, 7-6 PAC, District berth
Key Returners: Gabby Martina (12), Danielle Hamm (11), Katie Wuerstle (11), Arianna Martina (11), Kelly Battinger (11), Saige Shine (10), Cristina Dougherty (10).
Key Losses: Taylor Hamm (University of the Sciences, Basketball), Hannah Roerden (Roanoke)
Season Outlook: “This is one of the deepest teams PV has probably ever fielded. Our bench goes 12-13 deep with a healthy competition for playing time. Our freshmen group coming in is very talented so don’t be surprised to see 3-4 of them seeing significant Varsity time throughout the season. Gabby Martina, Danielle Hamm and Katie Wuerstle will continue to be extremely tough matchups for opposing teams and won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season. A really good vibe for this team heading into the season.”

PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH
Head Coach: Charise Halteman (3rd season)
Last Year: 16-3, 14-0 SOL American, District playoff berth
Key Returners: Ava Borkowski (10), Jennifer Byrne (12), Meghan DiGiacomo (12), Kaleigh Missimer (10), Samantha Spera (10), Kennedy Reardon (10), Livia Truong (11).
Key Losses: Jess Dixon (Del-Val College), Julia Fiddler, Sophie Kolkka (St. Joseph’s University lacrosse)
Season Outlook: “This year’s team is led by seniors Jen Byrne, Meg DiGiacomo, Kennedy Reardon, and Sam Spera and they have set the tone this preseason through their hard work, skill level, and fitness. Under their leadership, the team is running smoothly and practicing with intensity. With many returning starters and a core of returning attack players we are in good shape to compete at a high level throughout the season and our new freshman are adjusting to our style of play nicely and are already finding ways to contribute. We are ready to put the team to the test!”

SOUDERTON
Head Coach: Sue Casciato (1st season)
Last Year: 8-11
Key Losses: Jess Gabriel, Julianna Borisow
Key Returners: Courtney Kenah (11), Anna Gwiazdzinski (11), Caitlin Lennon (12), Jess Schmidt (12), Jenna Hunsicker (12), Grace DeThomas (12)
Season Outlook: “Souderton enters the season with a lot of experience and team speed. After losing a number of close games last year to strong teams, we’re working hard to become more efficient on offense. We expect to be very competitive in league play and improve our power ranking status.”

Souderton’s Courtney Kenah scores on Pennridge goal keeper Mackenzie Bross during their game on Oct. 5, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

UPPPER DUBLIN
Head Coach: Heather Boyer (20th season)
Last Year: 10-8, 9-5 SOL American
Key Returners: Ryann Kullman (12), Madeline Casey (12), Emma Kate Powell (12), Meghan Muth (12), Jamie Rock (12), Lauren Greene (12), Lydia Casey (11), Maisie Hanson (10), Allie Rock (10).
Key Losses: Maddie Templeton, Molly Lunney, Emma Mead, Sarah Herchenroder, Ashley Bonanni, Allie DeMichele
Season Outlook: “With the re-alignment of the SOL American Conference, as well as a new classification for PIAA, the team is intent on being competitive in each game and contending for post-season playoff opportunities.”

UPPER MERION
Head Coach: Angie Yanocha (13th season)
Last Year: 5-12, 4-9 PAC
Key Losses: Nahje McClure (Eastern), Rella Staley
Key Returners:  Molly Weygand (12), Kaleigh Smith (12), Nitzy Urias (12), Olivia Colatriano (11), Rosalee Banks (12), Kelly Dimarzio (12), Deann Boyer (12), Samme Deskiewicz (11), Danielle Linnebaugh (11), Leah Kaczur (12)
Season Outlook: “We continue to strive to improve our skills and conditioning. With a big group of seniors this season we hope it will help lead the team to more wins this year.  We are also very excited that our school has finally gotten a turf field and with that, we hope to see overall improvement in the team’s skill.”

UPPER MORELAND
Head Coach: Casey Dellostretto (1st season)
Last Year: 7-10, 5-9 SOL American, District 1 berth
Key Losses: Jess Flanagan, Chloe Tice
Key Returners: Madison Casey (midfield), Kayla Meakim, Claudia Zanine, Cassidy Hirsch, Moria Olexa, Kladinne Belaong, Kiersten Kroll, Phoebe Longstreth, Meredith Marsteller
Season Outlook: “We are continuing to grow and rebuild the field hockey program. With many key returning players, we look forward to a great season. We have the skills and leadership if they can continue to play together we hope to have a successful season.”

WISSAHICKON
Head Coach: Lucy Gil (15th season)
Last Year: 11-8, 10-4 league
Key Returners: Grace Ball (11), Hannah Havrilla (11), Meghan O’Reilly (11)
Key Losses: Sammi Pak (Northeastern), Emily Purnell (Westchester)
Season Outlook: “We have a core of very talented and dedicated athletes that have been working year-round to improve their skills and come back stronger than ever. We are optimistic that we will have a good run this year.”

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