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A close look at the area’s 2021 field hockey squads

By Bill Rudick

With the 2021 high school field hockey season upon us, here’s a team-by-team preview. (Note: By press time, no information was provided for the West Chester Rustin Golden Knights, despite multiple attempts.)

Avon Grove High School

Coach: Giulz Antignani, fifth year

Top returning varsity players:

Madison Britton, junior, midfield; Elizabeth Landon, senior, defender/mid; Isabelle Huller, senior, forward.

Top newcomers:

Megan Winiarski, senior, mid/forward Cassidy Ashworth, sophomore, mid/forward; Allison Kressler, junior, midfield.

Coach’s comments: 

Madison Britton is one of our key players who can truly play anywhere on the field, but holds our middle together distributing the ball so well and is a force on our offensive line. Britton received honorable mention her freshman year and was named to second team All-Ches-Mont her sophomore year. We are looking forward to what her versatile skills will bring us this season.

Elizabeth Landon is a role player for us in our back field helping us calm the chaos, organizing our press, and her distributing skills. Lizzie is our go to for stepping up in our defensive circle. We look forward to her leadership in the back this season.

With having 11 seniors graduate from our program last year we are looking forward to a lot of new faces, new skill sets, and intensity this season. Our league is great competition, and we look forward to outside league competition as well.

Bishop Shanahan

Coach: Maria Kilcoyne

Top returning varsity players:

Claire Fader, midfield, junior. Sam D’Addezio, midfield, junior. Gabrielle Mallozzi, midfield, senior.

Top newcomers:

 Mia DiGenova, junior, goalie; Katie Thomas, junior, forward; Marissa London, senior, defense. 

Coach’s Comments: We have a very young and talented team with a bright season/future ahead. As each week passes we will only continue to get stronger and build chemistry on the field.

Coatesville

Coach: Doreen Taylor, sixth year

Top Returning Varsity Players: Lainey McGaughey, senior, mid; Madelyn Larkin, senior, mid; Cara Strickland, senior, mid; Lily Willard, senior goalie; Molly Atwell, junior back: Ella Pittenger, junior forward; Sydney Saxton, junior mid; Erin Whiteman, junior forward; Paige McKim, sophomore forward.

Top newcomers:

Ava D’Antonia, junior back; Nayviye March, sophomore forward; Breanna Scimone, sophomore forward.

Coach’s Comments: Lily Willard is a great leader and director on the field. Most saves in the Ches-Mont the past 2 years.  Still undecided for college. Sydney Saxton is another great leader and director on the field.  She is quiet and reserved off the field and a beast on the field.

We are looking forward to a great season.  We have a strong returning base who are hungry for wins.

Conestoga

Coach:   Regan Marscher, third year

Top returning varsity players: Kate Galica, junior forward; Lily Jamison, sr. midfield; Lily Wolfe, sr., defense; Amanda Hill, jr. mid; Lily Norton, jr. defense; Maggie Carson, sr. midfield; Alex Lepore, so. GK.

Top newcomers: Shae Wozniak, fr. Forward; Lexi Patterson, fr. Mid; Keating Hopkins, so. Mid; Emma Nikolic, so. Def.; Sydney Wright fr. GK.

Coach’s comments: Kate Galica has been the Central League leading scorer the last two years and brings experience to the forward line. Lily Jamisonis, a sparky midfielder committed to play at Georgetown.  Lily Wolfe has been a three-year starter at defense, and is committed to Quinnipiac.

Conestoga has depth and strength in all areas of the field-. We have some freshmen who will make an immediate impact.  We look forward to being league champion contenders again as well as make a good run in districts/states.

Downingtown East

Coach: Sarah Keer, third season.

Top Returning Players: Jackie Belbin, senior, forward; Lauren Sieczkowski senior, midfield; Alyssa Stott, senior, GK; Faith Fuqua, sophomore, midfield; Kirstyn Kolinsky, sophomore midfield.

Top Newcomers: Rylee Dennis, freshman, midfield; Nia Massey, freshman, forward; Kaitlin Sieczkowski, sophomore, defense.

Coach’s Comments: Lauren Sieczkowski is a strong attacking and commanding presence on the field, and a Ursinus College commit. Rylee Dennis is aggressive, with a very high field hockey IQ and great distribution ability.

Coming into my third season, I am expecting a lot of the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. The girls have been working incredibly hard throughout the summer, and pre-season to put us in a great position to start our season in a few weeks. If the girls are able to believe in themselves, they will put themselves in a great position to be successful.

Downingtown West

Coach:  Stephanie Bullock, fourth season

Top returning varsity players: Ciara Margetich, junior, forward; Ashley Plzak, junior, forward; Alyssa Freeman, junior, forward; Kate Mahmud, junior, forward; Peyton Margetich, senior, back; Lauren Tinson, senior, back; Gianna Jaszczak, senior, back; Mia Freeman, sophomore, mid/forward.

Top newcomers: Carly Smith, sophomore, forward; Kylie Briggs, sophomore, mid.

Coach’s comments: We are looking forward to a full and competitive season. With nine returning starters, and some newcomers that should be able to step up and have an immediate impact this season. We start with a tough game against Conestoga, and we are all excited and ready to get going. 

Great Valley

Coach:  Brenda Haley, third year

Top returning players: Kennedy Graham, senior, defense; Ella Winters, junior, offense; Nadia Nemeth, sophomore, offense/mid; Eva Nemeth, sophomore, mid.

Coach’s comments: Kennedy Graham, a captain this season, is committed to LaSalle-Kennedy, and has been a key piece of our defense. Ella Winters was the leading scorer for the team last year. Nadia Nemethled team in assists and was our second highest scorer last year. Eva Nemeth controls the midfield, has great stick work, and was second in assists last year. 

We are excited that we have a core group of talented players returning this year and can build on last year’s momentum.

Kennett

Coach:  Meghan Shumway, 15th year as head coach, 16th year at Kennett

Top returning varsity players: Maddi Sears, junior, GK; Kaitlyn Stolp, junior, center mid; Sarah Burns, junior, defense.

Top newcomers: Whitney Walker, sophomore, forward; Marissa Herring, freshman, defense.

Coach’s comments: Vivian Chiomento, our only senior returner is out for the season after having reconstructive ACL surgery over the summer. Kaitlyn Stolp, a varsity player since freshman year, and a verbal commitment to JMU, is a well-rounded player. She will be a great asset both offensively and defensively, she has great vision and strong transition skills. Jordyn MacMillan, is a third- year varsity starter, is moving from a midfielder with 2 goals and 3 assists to an attacking forward this season. Maddi Sears, starting in the cage since freshman year, will lead our defense with her experience and her superior speed and agility. Whitney Walker is fast with great ball handling skills and scoring technique.

Our program’s success has been progressively building year after year, I expect to see more growth again this season. We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to play a full schedule this season.

Oxford

Coach:  Karly Belford, fourth year

Top returning players: Abby Johnson, junior, midfield; Reese Dolinger, sophomore, forward; Riley Peery, senior, defense; Mia Gerrard, senior, forward.

Top newcomers: Ava McGlothlin, sophomore, midfield; Lily Fay, sophomore, defense; Mackenzie Clark, sophomore, forward.

Coach’s Comments: Abby Johnson has started varsity since she was a freshman, and plays for the WC Eagles in the offseason. She was the team leader in assists and scoring in the 2020 season. Abby is a strong player and high field hockey IQ, will step up in a leadership role this season. Reese Dolinger started varsity as a freshman last year, and plays for the WC Eagles in the offseason. She is strong on the ball and in the circle for the Hornets offensive pushes.

 This is a rebuilding year, but an exciting year for the Hornets. Graduated seven starting seniors, but the younger group is filling in nicely with their talents. A strong younger group but means great things for the Hornets future years. Look forward to a normal season that all the teams deserve.

Unionville

Coach: Maureen Richard, second year

Top returning players: Kayla Peakes, senior, defense; Katie Dettore, senior, defense; Liv Rizzi, senior, mid; Ellie Almeida, junior, mid; Brooke Phillips, junior mid; Molly Main, junior, forward; Zenna Mariani, senior forward. 

Coach’s comments: We have a strong returning defensive unit led by seniors Kayla Peakes and Katie Dettore. We expect to see some great turnovers in our midfield by returning players Ellie Almeida, Liv Rizzi and Brooke Phillips. That midfield unit will be feeding our forward line which features returning junior Molly Main along with senior and All-Chesmont selection Zenna Mariani.

We are thrilled to be playing a full season after such a challenging 2020 season.

Villa Maria Academy

Coach: Katie Evans, fourth season

Top returning varsity players: Maia Dechario senior, back, UConn commit; Caroline O’Brien senior, M/F, Wake Forest commit); Lindsey Roberts (senior, forward, Ohio State commit); Annie Shaw (senior, forward); Ryan Hickey senior, M/F, Drexel commit); Gia Whalen junior, M/F; Brynna Hill junior, M/F, JMU commit.

Top newcomers: Lauren Files junior, M/F; Caitlin Files junior, forward; Callen Todd sophomore, back; Ella Cellini freshman, M/F.

Coach’s comments: Lauren Files, Caitlin Files and Callen Todd aren’t true newcomers, but are ready and excited to take on bigger roles this year for our team. Looking forward to testing our seasoned team which is led by a very talented Senior Class. Maia is a strong, aggressive defender who will be key in our backfield. Caroline is a midfielder with amazing hands, vision, and versatility. Lindsey is talented and an unselfish playmaker who has exceptional skills. Annie is a forward with a knack for finding the back of the goal, especially in big games. Ryan is a solid midi who is strong on both sides of the ball. Gia is a player who can distribute the ball beautifully, and always gives 100-percent. Brynna is versatile and confident, and her game has really grown over the past year.

West Chester East

Coach:  Jessica Rice, second season

Top returning players: Kathryn Palmer, senior, mid; Ava Carnevale, senior, midfield; Gracie Treon, senior defense; Anna Capelli, junior forward; Carey Werley, junior, defense. 

Top newcomer:  Keira O’Flynn, freshman

Coach’s comments: We have a senior goalkeeper, Nora Whitcomb, and a junior goalkeeper, Claire Madarasz, who both seem to shine in the cage.

This season should be a strong one for us (knock on wood). We have a lot of talent in our returning players and the group seems to work very well together on the field all the while, having a strong bond off of the field, too.

West Chester Henderson

Coach: Courtney Evans, third year

Top returning varsity players: Lauren Fulling, senior, attack/midfield; Ella Fulling, senior, attack/half back; Hilary Hoffman, junior, attack; Molly DiCampli, junior, back.

Top newcomers:  Parker Jordan, freshman, midfield.

Hilary Hoffman is a dynamic forward that has high levels of speed and endurance. She will be an active member of our main line of attack.  Lauren Fulling is a leader for our team who shows the most consistency on the team. Her speed on the right side will help our team tremendously. Overall Lauren is one of our more athletic players who really understand the game.

This season is a fresh start with a new look. Five starting positions have become open and players have been working extremely hard all pre-season to earn one of these spots. The senior class is ready to lead their team to a competitive season. The Junior class has some key varsity starters that are returning and know what it takes to have their team play at the next level. The sophomore class is ready to push the upper class to stay focused during practice and give them a clear goal each day. The freshman class is extremely athletic and large in numbers. Overall this team works every day as a unit and is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful on-field and in the classroom.

 

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