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2022 HS field hockey preview: Upper Valley teams expect a strong season

  • Hanover High’s Savannah Walczak (10) pursues the ball during an Aug. 25, 2022, scrimmage with Keene at Merriman-Branch Field in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — Tris Wykes

  • Hanover High’s Hailey Pastel prepares to clear the Bears’ end during an Aug. 25, 2022, scrimmage with Keene on Merriman-Branch Field in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Tris Wykes—Valley News

  • Lebanon High’s Ashlee Blashock. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Tris Wykes—Valley News

  • Hanover High’s Hannah Boone. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Tris Wykes—Valley News

  • Mascoma High’s Kylie Rogers. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Tris Wykes—Valley News

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/1/2022 12:40:27 PM
Modified: 9/1/2022 1:07:09 PM

Last year was another banner fall for field hockey in the Upper Valley, with Windsor winning its third state title in a row, Hartford playing in a championship game and both Hanover and Lebanon enjoying typically strong seasons.

The Yellowjackets, along with Newport and Mascoma, are now led by new head coaches, and it seems a safe bet that we’ll see several local squads deep into the playoffs once again.

HANOVER

Coach: Jean Essex (20th year).

Last year: 13-1-1, lost in quarterfinals to Goffstown.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returners: Seniors — Janina Li (F/M/capt.), Reilly Loughman (G/capt.), Emily Perras (D/capt.), Grace Coughlin (D), Caroline Healy (M/D), Sadie Higgins (M/D). Sophomores — Eva Bell (F/M), Maggie Higgins (F/M).

Newcomers: Senior — Hannah Boone (F/M). Juniors — Jolie Reznek (F/M), Savannah Walczak (F). Sophomores — Jackie Anderson (F), Sophia Costa (F/M), Lauren Evans (M), Josefine Laabs (F), Hailey Pastel (D), Gwen Riordan (M/D), Lily Smith (M/D), Claire Uiterwyk (G).

Analysis: Hanover got through the regular season without a loss last year, then suffered a shocking upset in the NHIAA quarterfinals. With a strong collection of seniors and a sophomore class that will provide fresh energy, the Bears are hungry to get back on top.

“Many of the players are new to the intensity and demands of the varsity schedule,” Essex said. “There will no doubt be some bumps along the way, but the team has all season to improve, gel and gain in confidence. It will be a fun team to teach and to coach.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Heather Scudder (34th year).

Last year: 13-4, lost in state finals to Mount Abraham.

League: VPA Division II.

Returners: Seniors — Alice Piper (LW), Nedra Dwinell (RM). Juniors — Madi Willey (RW), Gabby Gardner (D), Miranda Rogers (G), Kaelynn Courtemanch (G). Sophomores — Madi Barwood (LI), Paige Trombley (CM), Paige Vielleux (G).

Newcomers: Juniors — Kam Brower (F), Kennedi Rhodes (D). Sophomores — Olivia Seaver (F), Dakota Smith (D), Devyn Potter (M). Freshmen — Grace Brothers (D), Lily Argyos (F), Charloetter Jasmin (M), Marley Olmstead (F), Flynn Moreno (D), Hailey Vanesse (F), Aubree Vail (F), Nella Bowen (G), Ren Maitel (D).

Analysis: The Hurricanes have just two seniors, but seven starters return from last year’s squad that came up one goal short in the state title game.

That leadership is complemented by a nine-member freshman class that will hope to lay the foundation for future success.

“It will take time for this group to come together, but when they do, we will be ready to give everyone a game,” Scudder said.

LEBANON

Coach: Amanda Valliere (6th season).

Last year: 13-3-2, lost in semifinals to Goffstown.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returners: Seniors — Mikayla Thornton (M/D/capt.), Ashlee Blashock (G/capt.), Keira Houdebege (M/D), Meagan Thompson (M/F). Junior — Lindsey Stark (F). Sophomores — McKenzie Ray (F), Abigail Gallagher (D).

Newcomers: Seniors — DellaRose Whalen (D/capt.), Morgan Kantor (F), Azzlyn Arnold (M/D). Juniors — Sophia Salo (F), America Carmona (M). Sophomore — Meghanne Cheevers (G). Freshmen — Savannah Therriault (F), Harper Rancourt (M/D), Peyson Fowler-Thorsen (M).

Analysis: The Raiders lose an influential senior class headlined by NHIAA Division II offensive player of the year Amalia Hickey, so there could be growing pains early on. Valliere will lean heavily on Thornton and Blashock in the back and Stark on the offensive end.

“It will take us some time to regroup, relearn and readjust, but we have dedicated athletes who want to compete and who really love to play the game,” Valliere said.

MASCOMA

Coach: Danielle Pushee (1st season).

Last year: 3-11, did not qualify for postseason.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returners: Senior — Carmen Zani (F). Juniors — Kara Miller (M), Kylie Rogers (F), Hailey Miller (D). Sophomores — Ann Buffington (F), Taylor Mansfield (M), Jillian Ballou (G/D).

Newcomers: Juniors — Gabbie Pierce, Bryanna Thurston, Izzy Adams. Freshmen — Makenna Houston, Ellie McGridy, Georgia Kondi, Aubrey Meyveagaci.

Analysis: In her inaugural campaign with the Royals, Pushee will have a young group that will look to return to the postseason.

“While we are a young team and many new players are starting this year, I am looking to my returning players to help lead the younger players,” Pushee said. “We have the potential to be a competitive team. We just have to find the right combination that works best for us.”

STEVENS

Coach: Patty Deschaine (20th season).

Last year: 11-5-1, lost in semifinals to Bishop Brady.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returners: Seniors — Sara Faro (D), Richelle Girard (F), Ashley Michaud (G). Juniors — Cameron Ferland (M/D), Izabela Eitapence (F), Danielle Varela (D), Emily Stevens (D), Elise Smith (M). Sophomores — Paige Simonds (D), Kirsten Martel (F/D).

Newcomers: Sophomore — Sarah Wheeler (G). Freshmen — Elizabeth Benware (M), Lilly Clark (F/M), Jill Ouellette (D), Vaida DeRosa (F).

Analysis: The Cardinals reached the semifinals last year on the strength of a postseason upset of Gilford, and with seven starters back, they’ll have a real shot to make a return trip to the final four.

“We look to be a solid team this season,” Deschaine said. “We have a good group of freshmen who I believe will surprise us during the season.”

WINDSOR

Coach: Blake Wardwell (1st season).

Last year: 11-5-1, won third straight state championship.

League: VPA Division III.

Returners: Senior — Alexa Peckinpaugh (M). Juniors — Gwen Ambrose (F), Fern Day (S), Sydney Perry (G), Amber Simonds (G), Annie Preece (G). Sophomores — Gabby Gilbert (F), Piper Vivian (F), Kiersten Carvahlo (D).

Newcomers: Sophomore — Matteson Tenney (F). Freshmen — Gianna Felice (M), Tatum Flanagan (F), Madison Holzwarth (D), Mackenzie Kleefisch (D), Ella Preebish, Emma Sauer (D), Hannah Tenney (F).

Analysis: After three consecutive state championships, former coach Jody Wood stepped down from her position, leaving Wardwell to lead the Yellowjackets — a team with just one senior but plenty of returning talent nonetheless. Expect Windsor to again be in the mix for another title.

“Coming off a state championship always sets the bar high,” Wardwell said. “With a new coaching staff, we are hoping to keep the wins coming. Windsor is always a competitor, and that will continue.”

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Leanne Tapley (2nd season).

Last year: 8-8, lost in quarterfinals to Mount Abraham.

League: VPA Division II.

Returners: Seniors — Emma Allegretti (D/capt.), Audrey Emery (G), Lily Gubbins (F/capt.), Norah Harper (F), Natalie Parent (F). Juniors — Charley Crowley (D), Hannah Gubbins (F), Gracelyn Laperle (M), Claudia Shoemaker (F), Quinn Stickney (M), Georgia Tarleton (D). Sophomores — Laura Audsley (D), Stella Capurso (M), Alice Cayer (D), Kamryn Jillson (D).

Newcomers: Senior — Fleur Smeyers (F). Freshmen — Kaitlyn Burres (F), Aleksandra Cirovic (M), Maggie Knox (F), Paige Stone (G), Corrine White (F).

Analysis: This is an important season for the Wasps in year two under Leanne Tapley.

With nine starters among Woodstock’s 15 returning players, expect the Wasps to have plenty of offensive firepower.

“We have a great group of young women who have been playing together for six-plus years,” Tapley said. “We have many returning players who will fill in the gaps of seniors that we lost in key positions.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.


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