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Reporter/Montgomery Field Hockey 2015: New coach, same goals for Gwynedd Mercy

Making the PIAA Class AA tournament has become an expectation for Gwynedd Mercy Academy in recent years.

The Monarchs have reached the state playoffs the past four seasons — last reaching the quarterfinals — and even with a new coach in Alex Malatesta McMahan, GMA has the goal of another deep postseason run.

“With a strong program full of returning upperclassmen, we anticipate consistency through the midfield and leadership that will allow our team to find success as a unit and be a strong contender in the post-season,” McMahan said.

McMahan, a Gwynedd grad who played field hockey in college at Richmond, takes over a team returning a trio of all-state honorees in seniors Ava Rosati (goalkeeper) and Meg Duvernois (midfield) and junior midfielder Kaitlyn McCauley).

In the Suburban One League Continental, North Penn finished tied for second in the conference and reach the District 1-AAA first round in 2014, but graduated seven starters and hopeful this year’s side can gel quickly.

Gwynedd Mercy's Megan Duvernois keeps between Merion Mercy's Annie Gormley Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Bob Raines-Montgomery Media

Gwynedd Mercy’s Megan DuVernois keeps between Merion Mercy’s Annie Gormley during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

The team the Maidens tied for second in the Continental, Central Bucks West, also made the district second round last year and has high expectations heading into 2015 after winning the Phriday Night Lights preseason tournament.

“We are extremely excited for what our team can accomplish this year,” CB West coach Courtney Lepping said. “We have a great mix of young and old returners who have been playing consistently over the winter, spring and summer.”

The Bucks return four all-conference players, including first-team selection junior Bryn Boylan.

Christopher Dock graduated its top goalscorer (Mattasyn Shisler) but Jill Bolton is back after putting 29 in the cage as the Pioneers aiming to contend again in the Bicentennial Athletic League.

Germantown Academy begins a new era after coach Ginny Hofmann retired at the end of last season after leading the Patriots for three-plus decades.

GA grad Jackie Connard has taken over the program that graduated 10 seniors but has a talented freshman in Sammy Popper, a member of the U.S. U-10 women’s national team.

Academy of the New Church looks to keep its spot atop the Friends School League and returning all-league picks Chelsea Duggan, Kyla Rogers and Susan Scappatura, the Lions have a chance for a fourth-straight FSL crown.

Abington
Coach: Amanda McMahon (eighth season).
League: Suburban One League National Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 5-12-1 (4-9-1 conference).
Key Losses: Jessica Moretti, Maeve Hughes, Courtney Klug.
Top Returners: Sam McGee (Jr., forward), Alyssa Herman (Sr., goalie), Evangeline Wang (Sr., defense), Rebecca Markham (Sr., midfield).
Others to Watch: Kaila Brown (Jr., forward), Sarah Boches (Jr., midfield), Jackie Kizel (Jr., defense).
Outlook: This year’s Galloping Ghosts have more individual talent, but building on their team play will determine if they improve in 2015. A boost for the Abington program is hosting games on the new turf at Memorial Field.

Academy of the New Church
Coach: Whin Sylla (seventh season).
League: Friends Schools League.
Last Season: 15-4-0 (8-0-1), FSL champion, lost to Agnes Irwin PAISAA second round.
Key Losses: Heather Schauder, Charlotte Mitchell.
Top Returners: Chelsea Duggan, Kyla Rogers, Susan Scappatura.
Others to Watch: Sammy Hill, Rachel Fink, Aubrey Asplundh.
Outlook: The Lions captured their third straight Friends School League crown in 2014, but has some big spots to fill on the field after the graduation of all-leaguers Mitchell and goalie Schauder. Rogers, Duggan and Scappatura are all back after making the All-PSL squad last year.

Central Bucks West
Coach: Courtney Lepping (third season).
League: SOL Continental Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 14-5-1 (10-4-0 conference), lost to Downingtown East in District 1-AAA second round.
Key Losses: Kim Hitchcock, Brianna DeAngelis, Jacq Fitzgerald.
Top Returners: Emily Halderson (Sr., defense), Anna Hall (Sr., midfield), Cadera Smith (Jr., forward), Bryn Boylan (Jr., midfield), Danielle Dundas (So., midfield), Taylor Mason (So., forward), Olivia Fitzgerald (So., defense).
Others to Watch: Courtney Westover (Sr., goalie), Macella Molenari (Sr., goalie), Ryan Murray (Jr., midfield), Casey Reichwein (Fr., defense).
Outlook: The Bucks won the Phriday Night Lights preseason tournament at Penn and with strong senior leadership in defense and an explosive offense West is ready to make the next step.
Boylan was a first-team all-conference pick at midfield. Returning to the attack is Smith (SOLC second team and Mason (SOLC third). Halderson made all-conference second team at defense.

Cheltenham
Coach: Elaine McGoldrick (11th season).
League: SOL American Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 4-14 (2-14 conference).
Key Losses: Munashe Holloman, Carrie Morgan, Annie McGoldrick.
Top Returners: Tegan Dorley (goalie), Madison Gianelle (forward), Dana Feeney (defense).
Others to Watch: Alexis Grady (defense), Sasha Narine (midfield), Tito Badejoko (defense) Lindsay Hopewell (defense), Haley Wilken (forward).
Outlook: The Panthers have a good amount of talent to put together a solid starting lineup, which could feature a few skilled freshmen. Forward Gianelle was an All-SOL American second-teamer in 2014.

Bob Raines-Digital First Media Christopher Dock's Jill Bolton drives the ball past Merion Mercy's Kelsey Farkas during the AA playoff game Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.

Christopher Dock’s Jill Bolton drives the ball past Merion Mercy’s Kelsey Farkas during their District 1-AA playoff game on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Christopher Dock
Coach: Michelle Waldspurger (fourth season).
League: Bicentennial Athletic League.
District-Class: 1-AA.
Last Season: 16-3-0 overall (9-1-0 league), lost to Merion Mercy in District 1-AA quarterfinals.
Key Losses: Mattasyn Shisler, Jeni Swartley, Mattea Ruth, Brooke Rotelle, Sarah Madaus, Eliza Wilkins.
Top Returners: Ali Balmer (Sr., forward), Deanna Clemens (Sr., back), Talia Santiago (Sr., back), Jill Bolton (Jr., center midfield), Emme Raieta (Jr., back), Jamie Kolb (So., back).
Others to Watch: Emma Chimera (Sr., forward), Haley Anderson (Sr., midfield), Alison Haines (Sr. forward), Katie Anderson Sr., back).
Outlook: The Pioneers need to find a new leading scorer with Shisler having graduated after her 30-goal effort. Bolton could step into that role, the junior midfielder — an AA all-state second team pick like Shisler — scored 29 times in 2014. Dock will be strong in stickwork and ball control as it battles with New Hope-Solebury, Lower Moreland and Delco Christian for supremacy in the BAL.

Germantown Academy
Coach: Jackie Connard (first season).
League: Inter-Academic League.
Last Season: 15-9 (6-6 league).
Key Losses: Allie Carrigan, Ashley Piszek, Ashton Roth, Hannah Sargent, Lauren Weiss, Katie Westrum, Meg Westrum.
Top Returners: Shayne Cerebe (Sr., forward), Allie Ernst (Sr., defense), Christine Weeks (Sr., midfield), Ali Crump (Jr., defense), Isabelle Jacobs (Jr., midfield), Carli McCrossen (Jr., forward), Hannah Santos (So., goalie).
Others to Watch: Lauren Rajauski (Sr., midfield), Sydney Brown (Jr., defense), Colleen Carrigan (So., forward), Maddie Cooper (So., forward), Sammy Popper (Fr., midfield).
Outlook: The sidelines will definitely be different for Germantown Academy after Ginny Hofmann retired after 36 years and 363 wins as head coach of the Patriots. Taking over the program is Connard, a GA grad who played in college at Brown.
The Patriots graduated 10 seniors, but the team has strong leadership and young talent, including freshman midfielder Popper, a member of the U.S. U-19 women’s national team.

Gwynedd Mercy
Coach: Alex Malatesta McMahan (first season).
League: Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
District-Class: 1-AA.
Last Season: 22-4 (10-2 league), lost to Villa Maria in District 1-AA final, lost to Moravian Academy in PIAA-AA quarterfinals.
Key Losses: Nicole Catalino, Corinne Persichetti.
Top Returners: Ava Rosati (Sr., goalie), Meg DuVernois (Sr., midfield), Colleen Osborne (Sr., defense) Maddie Meagher (Sr., midfield).
Others to Watch: Christina Motz (Jr., defense), Kathryn Catalino (Jr., forward), Kaitlin McCauley (Jr., midfield)
Outlook: The Monarchs have made states the past four seasons — winning at least a game on the PIAA level the last two — and should have the ability for a another postseason run under new coach McMahan, a GMA grad that played at the University of Richmond.
Back in the cage is Rosati, an all-state AA first-team pick who is headed to Penn. The Monarchs will also be strong in midfield, returning North Carolina commit DuVernois (all-state second team) and McCauley (all-state honorable mention).
Lansdale Catholic
Coach: Tricia Mazzeo (second season).
League: Philadelphia Catholic League.
District-Class: 12-AA.
Last Season: 3-15-2 (1-7-1 league).
Key Losses: Bri Susky, Carly Baluarte, Erin Edling.
Top Returners: Maryrose Connors (Sr., center forward), Laura Lindmeier (Sr., center back), Lindsay Currie (So., midfield).
Others to Watch: Mary Cleary (Sr., back), Mary Keenan (Sr.).
Outlook: The Crusaders graduated several key players from last year’s squad, but have worked hard in the preseason to get faster as LC tries to improve its standing in the PCL.

Lower Moreland
Coach: Danielle Kline (fifth season).
League: Bicentennial Athletic League
District-Class: 1-AA.
Last Season: 14-6-0 (9-5-0 league), lost to Gwynedd Mercy in District 1-AA quarterfinals.
Key Losses: Dani Blumenthal, Lindsay Boerner, Samantha Casey, Corey Mayer, Joey Riley, Halle Roesser, Megan Stoughton.
Top Returners: Alex Casey (Jr., goalie), Kasey Duffey (So., defense), Jamie Mayer (So., midfield), Erin Przybylinski (Sr., forward).
Outlook: After earning a district win last season, the Lions had seven starters graduate, including all-BAL first team picks Boerner and Corey Mayer, now at Drexel and James Madison, respectively. Midfielder Jamie Moyer was an all-league second team pick as a freshman.
“The team must now prove that they can be consistent and work together to play the entire game with success,” Kline said.
Methacton
Coach: Sarah Quintois (fourth season).
League: PAC-10.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 13-6 (8-5 conference), lost to Avon Grove in District 1-AAA first round.
Key Losses: Sammi Steele, Brittany Dickinson, Lexi Short.
Top Returners: Madeline Alderfer (Sr., midfield), Sarah Park (Sr., goalie), Emily Sayre (Sr., forward), Lauren Earnshaw (Sr., defense), Sara Sterchak (Sr., midfield), Gabby Owens (Sr., defense), Jen Reese (Sr., defense/midfield), Katie Markle (Sr., defense), Emily Mycek (Jr., midfield), Julia Dickinson (So., defense/midfield), Emily Owens (So., forward), Olivia Hoover (So., forward).
Others to Watch: Jackie Cerchio (Jr., forward/midfield), Gretchen Alderfer (So., defense).
Outlook: All-state first-teamers Steele and Dickinson graduated, but the Warriors return eight starters. A talented senior group — including Sayre, an all-state honorable mention — has been playing together for several years. Alderfer, Markle and Hoover were all All-PAC-10 second team picks.
“This year’s team is not only very skilled and experienced they also have been working well together and beginning to play as a unit,” Quintois said. “There will be high expectations set for this year’s team with a lot to work for in the league, district and beyond.”

Brianna O'Donnell of North Penn, center, and Downingtown West players Taylor Orsi, left, an dHeather Casey.   Tuesday, September 2, 2014.   Photo by Geoff Patton

Brianna O’Donnell of North Penn, center, and Downingtown West players Taylor Orsi, left, and Heather Casey during their game on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (Geoff Patton/The Reporter)

North Penn
Coach: Shannon McCracken (fourth season).
League: SOL Continental Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 13-7-0 (10-4-0 conference) lost to Downingtown East in District 1-AAA second round.
Key Losses: Casey O’Donnell, Amanda Laessig, Amanda Lashkevich, Marissa Elizardo, Frankie Tossona.
Top Returners: Jennifer DeLongis (Sr., midfield/forward), Emma Herb (Sr., midfield/forward), Morgan Rimmer (Sr., defense), Amber Blackshear (Jr., midfield) Brianna O’Donnell (So., forward).
Others to Watch: Kristin Kelly (Sr., defense), Sophie Kim (Sr., defense), Abbie Robers (Sr., forward), Katie Swanson (Sr., midfield/forward), Karli Marger (Jr., midfield), Seems Sajjan (midfield/forward), Brynne Schoppe (Jr., goalie), Mikayla Barrow (So., forward), Erica Kelly (So., back) Emily Crawford (Fr., forward).
Outlook: The Maidens graduated seven starters — including all-state selections Casey O’Donnell (first team) and Laessig (second) — from last year’s squad that tied Central Bucks West for second in the Continental and won a district game. How quickly the team gels will determine if North Penn will again be competing at the top of the conference.
NP’s defense is new, but the midfield is strong and its forwards are quick. Brianna O’Donnell and Blackshear were both on the SOL Continental third team while DeLongis made honorable mention.

Plymouth Whitemarsh
Coach: Marianne Paparone (21st season).
League: SOL American Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 13-5-1 (12-1-1 conference), lost to Neshaminy in the District 1-AAA first round.
Key Losses: Alison Spinelli, Rita Trainer.
Top Returners: Aurora Mills (Sr., attack), Paige Totten (Sr., attack), Grace McGuire (Sr., defense), Victoria Byrne (Sr., goalie), Frankie O’Brien (Jr., back), Kolby Bechtel (Jr., defense), Kerin Bechtel (Jr., attack), Jess Dixon (So., attack), Sophie Kolkka (So., midfield), Michelle McGrath (So., midfield).
Others to Watch: Claire McCallister (Sr., goalie), Carli Kligerman (Sr., defense), Sami Mangine (Jr., defense), Jess Bendl (So., attack), Emma Stanley (So., attack), Kennedy Reardon (Fr., midfield), Sam Spera (Fr., attack).
Outlook: The Colonials have won the past two SOL American titles, but are looking to improve their postseason performance after being bounced in the district first round the last two years. Having a large group of returners paired with some strong newcomers may get that done.
Kolkka, O’Brien and goalkeeper Byrne all made the SOL American first team in 2014. Forwards Mills and Toten made the second team while back in the defense is third-teamer McGuire.
“We feel like we will have more depth than in years past and barring injuries and maintaining good chemistry, we believe we can be very successful,” Paparone said.

Hatboro Horsham's Keeley Henry checks Souderton's Erin Saybolt Tuesday, Sept 23, 2014. Montgomery Media staff photo by Bob Raines

Souderton Erin Saybolt (left) is checked by Hatboro-Horsham’s Keeley Henry during their game on Sept. 23, 2014. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Souderton
Coach: Lauren Whiteside (fourth season).
League: SOL Continental Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 6-12-0 (3-11-0 conference).
Key Losses: Shelby Landes, Tara Maloney, Aimee MacFarland, Gabby Sedares, Alyssa Jones.
Top Returners: Erin Saybolt (Sr., forward), Courtney Kwiatkowski (Sr., defense), Nina Disco (Jr., forward), Rachel Kagarisa (Jr., midfield), Ali Casciato (Jr., midfield), Emily Kramer (Jr., defense), Jessica Gabriel (So., forward), Juliana Borisow (So., defense).
Others to Watch: Megan Mahaffey (Sr., goalie), Abby Benner (Sr., defense), Ashlyn Catto (Jr., midfield), Carly Manto (Jr., defense), Liz O’Hara (So., midfield), Sarah Goodwin (So., defense).
Outlook: The Indians are young, but that does not mean they lack experience. Several players return looking to help Big Red back to winning ways after two tough seasons.
“Our team camaraderie is high and our passion and excitement is even higher,” Whiteside said. “We are fired up and ready to compete in a high level.”
Forward Saybolt was an all-conference second team pick while both Kwiatkowski and Casciato earned honorable mention.

Upper Dublin
Coach: Heather Boyer (17th season).
League: SOL American Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 8-9-1 (8-5-1 conference).
Key Losses: Isabella Bucci, Courtney Vincent, Cydney Christian, Grace Schwabenland.
Top Returners: Sarah Blatt (Sr.,forward), Mikaylah Johnson (Sr., goalie), Kristen Jones (Sr., center back), Jillian Kenny (Sr., sweeper), Marlee Siegel (Jr., midfield), Alex Thompson (Jr., utility), Anna Gouveia (So., forward), Maddie Templeton (So., midfield).
Others to Watch: Molly Lunney (So., forward), Megan Connelly (Sr., defense), Allie DeMichele (So., midfield).
Outlook: The Cardinals added UD alum Kim Faust Frantz to the coaching staff as they try to improve upon last season’s third-place finish in the SOL American. Johnson was a second-team conference pick at goalkeeper, with the Cards also returning all-conference picks Kenny (third team sweeper) and Jones (honorable mention defense).

Wissahickon
Coach: Lucy Gil (12th season).
League: SOL American Conference.
District-Class: 1-AAA.
Last Season: 10-8-1, 10-3-1, lost to West Chester Henderson in District 1-AAA first round.
Key Losses: Ashley Laskowitz.
Top Returners: Kara Miles (Sr., center back), Marie Dickson (Sr., midfield).
Others to Watch: Jess Waite (Jr., forward), Sam Pak (So., forward), Kyra Myers (Jr., sweeper).
Outlook: With a team of experience upperclassmen, Gil expects to the Trojans to be competitive in 2014. Kara Miles earned all-conference first team honors last year, with the defense also returning Kyra Miles (honorable mention) at sweeper.

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