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2020 HS field hockey preview: Perhaps four is better than two

  • The Windsor field hockey team finishes a warm-up lap around the athletic fields at the start of practice in Windsor, Vt., on Sept. 21, 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, players are required to wear masks while on the field and games will be played in four quarters instead of two halves. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Windsor's Karen Kapuscinski moves the ball upfield ahead of teammate Peyton Richardson during a drill at practice in Windsor, Vt., on Sept. 21, 2020. The juniors return on the defending state championship team that lost only four seniors to graduation. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Janiah Young pulls down her mask to take a drink of water during a break in field hockey practice in Windsor, Vt., on Sept. 21, 2020. Due to the pandemic, players are required to wear masks while at practice and in games (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • During a break in a scrimmage, Windsor goaltender teammates Sydney Perry, center, and Glenna Ricard practice chest-bumping as Lindsey Young, left, and Alexina Peckinpaugh watch. The Yellowjackets are defending field hockey state champions and are scheduled to open their season on Sept. 28. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2020 8:02:31 AM
Modified: 10/1/2020 12:56:11 PM

Field hockey coaches across the Upper Valley are adjusting to COVID-19 guidelines as the season begins, and they’re adjusting to another wrinkle as well: The sport has moved from two halves to four quarters.

The change messes with the pace of play and also could change the number of penalty corners and strokes in any given contest. Either way, the quality of field hockey shouldn’t change.

Hanover and Windsor each brought home state championships last fall, and Mascoma fell in its championship game. Hartford, Lebanon, Newport, Stevens and Woodstock all made the playoffs and will continue to develop.

And for yet another year, every team’s returning its head coach.

Hanover

Coach: Jean Essex (19).

Last year: 14-1-1, state champions.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Kate Blaisdell (F/M), Natalie Chapman (D). Juniors — Mia Edmonds (D/M), Gail Morse (F/M), Stella Pinto (D), Olivia Trummel (F).

Newcomers: Seniors — Sophia May (D), Quinn McCaffrey (D). Juniors — Olivia Evans (G), Natalie Feyrer (F/M), Jessica Lichtenstein (F), Taylor Vettori (M). Sophomores — Celia Groves (F), Sadie Higgins (M/D), Janina Li (F/M), Emily Perras (D).

Analysis: Hanover is 39-10-3 over the last three seasons and is coming off its first state title in 10 years. The Marauders graduated 10 seniors but return Northeastern-bound Kate Blaisdell, who tallied 15 goals and eight assists last year. Lebanon handed Hanover its lone loss of 2019; the two are slated to meet Oct. 13 at Merriman-Branch Field. Hanover will have to continue to develop and grow as the season progresses, coach Jean Essex said.

“The girls have been working and playing hard, learning a lot,” the coach said. “It is great to see them grow as players and as teammates, and I hope and expect to see their growth continue on an upward trajectory as the season continues.”

Hartford

Coach: Heather Scudder (32).

Last year: 10-4-2, lost in semifinals.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Bailey Cameron (G), Ryelee Potwin (M), Zoe Pfieffer (M), Morgan Barwood (M). Juniors — Elsie Davis (M), Grace Gardner (D), Caroline Hamilton (M), Chloe Jensen (M), Brianna Roberts (D), Kaedence Brower (F). Sophomores — Nedra Dwinell (M), Marina Grassi (M), Alice Piper (M), Ava Thorburn (D).

Newcomers: Senior — Jasmine Jenkins (M). Freshmen — Gabbi Gardner (D), Kamryn Brower (M), Madi Willey (D), Miranda Rogers (D), Kenndi Rhodes (D), Olivia Brackett (D), Kaelynn Courtemanch (G).

Analysis: The Hurricanes outscored opponents, 45-15, last season and return starting goalie Bailey Cameron, who came in clutch in Hartford’s quarterfinal win over Woodstock. Hartford also graduated seven scorers, including its top two. The Canes are 26-16-6 during their last three seasons of Scudder’s second stint at the helm.

Lebanon

Coach: Amanda Valliere (4).

Last year: 12-4, lost in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Autumn Crowell (G), Sydney Gonyea (F), Lena Nowell (M), Kaeley Skakalski (F). Juniors — Clara Smyrski (D), Sally Tretter (M), Molly Smith (F), Amalia Hickey (M/D), Claire Thibodeau (M/D).

Newcomers: Senior — Mary Gile (D). Junior — Molly Schutzius (D). Sophomores — Mikayla Thornton (M/D), Keira Houdegbe (M), Meagan Thompson (M), Ashlee Blashock (G).

Analysis: Sydney Gonyea returns after last season’s 22-goal performance, which led the Upper Valley in scoring. The Raiders return eight seniors, something that coach Amanda Valliere is excited to see.

“We have a solid core of returners who know each others’ playing styles, so I am excited to see how they and where they connect on the field,” the coach said.

Mascoma

Coach: Jenn Hammond (7).

Last year: 13-4, lost in finals.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Paige Jette (D), Sophia Guziewicz (D), Natalie Poitras (F), Lily Bennett (M). Juniors — Chloe Crate (F), Morgan Towne (M), Emilie Conrad (G), Allie Goulette (G). Sophomores — Carmen Zani (F), Rosie Bennett (D), Ari Lecuyer (D).

Newcomers: Junior — Brianna Withington (F). Freshmen — Zoe Barrett (M), Kylie Rogers (F).

Analysis: The Royals have reached the state championship game each of the last three seasons and compiled an Upper Valley-best 41-12-0 record along the way. Mascoma, which outscored opponents, 61-15, last season, graduated a handful of key offensive players but still returns six starters.

“We have a really strong core group of starters returning this season, versatile players, and great senior leadership,” said seventh-year coach Jenn Hammond. “But this group is working really hard, and they are determined to compete with the same level of intensity that has brought them to the level of success they had over the past three years.”

Newport

Coach: Steven Christensen (13).

Last year: 8-6, lost in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Eliza Bates (M), Jenna Maheu (D), Hayley Avery (M), Morgan Roberts (D), Maddie Miller (F), Kirsten Hurd (D), Kelsey Wheeler (G), Morgan Oakley (D). Juniors — Mia Fischer (D), Samara Mace (D/M). Sophomores — Bella Osgood (D/M), Maddie Norris (D/M), Jordan Ploss (F), Kirsten Williams (D).

Newcomers: Juniors — Kayleigh Pennington (F/D), Brooke Deane (M/D). Sophomore — Lauyrn Thorson (D). Freshmen — Eden Rotondo (F), Katie Sharron (M/F), Kaitlyn Ceron (D).

Analysis: The Tigers bring back Eliza Bates and Maddie Miller, who combined for 25 of Newport’s 43 goals last year. But Steve Christensen’s crew has its work cut out for it defensively, needing to cut back on the 36 goals allowed in 2019.

Stevens

Coach: Patty Deschaine (17).

Last year: 8-7, lost in the first round.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Julia Tursky (F/M), Gabriella Savo (D), Abbie Thurber (F), Zoey Foote (F/M), Abby Farro (D), Emily Herbert (M). Junior — Bri Frisbee (F).

Newcomers: Senior — Alex Perez (G). Sophomores — Sara Faro (D), Summer Barrette (G), Richelle Girard (F). Freshmen — Hannah Geil (F), Cameron Ferland (M/D), Isabella Eitapence (M), Danielle Varela (F), Elise Smith (D).

Analysis: The Cardinals are 23-20-2 over the past three seasons and are hoping to build off of a 2-1 loss to Mascenic in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Junior Bri Frisbee led Stevens’ offensive attack with 16 goals last autumn.

Windsor

Coach: Jody Wood (4).

Last year: 14-2-1, state champs.

Leagues: VPA Division III, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Senior — Hannah Wood (M), Sadie Balch (D), Alyssa Slocum (D), Paige Kleefisch (D), Madison Leduc (G), Linda Ricard (F), Glenna Ricard (G), Ashley Grela (F). Juniors — Meagan Holling (M/F), Lindsey Young (G), Karen Kapuscinski (F), Peyton Richardson (M/F), Reese Perry (M). Sophomore — Alexina Peckinpaugh (F).

Newcomers: Freshman — Amber Simonds (F).

Analysis: Windsor brought home its first state title since 2009 last year, running past Stowe, 3-0, in the finals. The Yellowjackets return two of their top scorers in Hannah Wood and Alyssa Slocum, plus stalwart Glenna Ricard is back in net. Coach Jody Wood has found plenty of success since she took over the program, compiling a 33-10-2 record in her three seasons.

“Girls are working hard and are excited to pick up where they left off last year,” the coach said.

Woodstock

Coach: Wendy Wannop (21).

Last year: 7-6-1, lost in quarterfinals.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Lili Sorrentino (F), Natasha Springer (D), Anna Steele (D), Lilia McCullough (F), Sadie Gravelle (D), Tobin Calder (M), Cassandra Summarsell (D). Juniors — Megan Tarleton (D), Sophie Yates (M), Nicole Fullerton (M), Nora Duane (D). Sophomores — Natalie Parent (F), Norah Harper (F), Lily Gubbins (F), Emma Allegretti (F), Myah Earle (D).

Newcomers: Sophomores — Kaitlyn Harle (F), Audrey Emery (G). Freshmen — Hannah Gubbins (F), Carter Willis (F), Claudia Shoemaker (F), Celeste Belisle (G), Lila Beckwith (F), Quinn Stickney (F), Georgia Tarleton (F).

Analysis: Woodstock held opponents to just 22 goals in 2019, but it will have to fill the void left by goalie Maggie Parker’s graduation. Lily Gubbins is the Wasps’ leading returning scorer with 10 goals and two assists. Wendy Wannop’s squad won six of its last seven games before a quarterfinal loss to Hartford.




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