Key returnees and newcomers and outlooks of the eight high school field hockey programs in Chittenden County:
Coach: Allyson Archacki (13th season)
Last season: 1-11-3; lost to Rutland in Division I playdowns
Key returnees: Sky Clarke, midfield, senior; Maria Worden, midfield, sophomore; Violet Blustein, forward, senior; Sophie Gentchos, defense, senior; Ava Khal, midfield, sophomore; Paige Moody, forward, junior
Key newcomers: Ella Ambroggio, defense, junior
Outlook: A number of newcomers to the varsity level, including Ambroggio, give the Seahorses the perfect chance to begin building a foundation that can last into 2021. The presence of several key veterans in midfield, however, skilled players such as Clarke, Worden and Khal, should keep BHS in most games as they aim to hone a more potent attack than a year ago. “We feel that our midfield is pretty strong with our returning varsity players anchoring it,” Archacki said. “With such a short season we are trying to make our mark.”
Coach: Tucker Pierson (fifth season)
Last season: 10-6; lost to Bellows Falls in Division I semifinals
Key returnees: Lena Ashooh, midfield/forward, senior; Hailey Chase, forward, senior; Mackenzie Marcus, forward, senior; Sophia Stevens, defense, junior
Key newcomers: Tess Everett, midfield, sophomore; Paige Comeau, defense, junior; Madison Peet, defense, senior
Outlook: The Redhawks hope Ashooh’s transition from the front line to a center-midfield role will provide structure and aid distribution into the final third of the field where attackers like Chase and Marcus offer skill and experience. A larger roster includes a number of returners but also an equal number of newcomers ready to leave their mark at the varsity level. Gaining experience, particularly at the back, will be crucial in the early going as CVU navigates a shortened season without precedent. “We have no ‘easy’ games in this short season and no warm-up scrimmages against other teams, so we are all hitting the ground running,” Pierson said.
Coach: Katie Comeau (fifth season)
Last season: 7-8; lost to Mount Mansfield in Division I quarterfinals
Key returnees: Hannah Carroll, forward, senior; Brynn Coughlin, midfield, senior; Natalie Achilles, midfield, senior; Quinn Patrie, defense, senior; Taylor Dickie, defense, senior; Jaelynn Dusablon, forward, senior; Ryleigh Garrow, midfield, sophomore; Grace Robinson, midfield, sophomore
Key newcomers: Chloe Smith, goalie, senior; Sarah Bokelberg, forward, sophomore
Outlook: Smith and junior Ava Towers are each contributing in net after the departure of standout veteran Ciera Morse, along with several other gifted mainstays. Bokelberg has joined the forward line looking like a “seasonsed varsity veteran,” Comeau said, and bolsters what figures to be a capable attacking unit. Returning starters like Carroll, Coughlin and Achilles, among others, give the Lakers a sturdy foundation to start the year. “(We want to) enjoy every time we step on the field and be grateful that we are able to have a season in the midst of this pandemic,” Comeau said.
Coach: Grace O’Neil (second season), Barbara Isham (first season)
Last season: 5-10; lost to Champlain Valley in Division I quarterfinals
Key returnees: Ellie Reed, midfield, senior; Erin Noel, defense, senior; Ainsley Thorne, defense, senior; Annika Simard, forward, junior; Adowyn Byrne; goalie, sophomore
Key newcomers: Ashley Clark, forward, sophomore; Gigi Bruyns, midfield, sophomore
Outlook: Carrying an extra-big roster for 2020 in case pandemic restrictions meant the Hornets would only be able to scrimmage themselves, they now have a youthful, “offense-heavy” lineup to take into their Metro Division schedule. Linking that group with a strong, seasoned defensive corps is a midfield that includes all-stater Ellie Reed. “Our goals for this season are to capitalize on opportunities in the offensive circle, to have a constant stream of communication from start to finish each game, and to set our teammates up for success by being in the right place at the right time,” O’Neil said.
Coach: Meghann Rowley (fifth season)
Last season: 1-13-1; lost to Montpelier in Division III playdowns
Key returnees: Kaitlyn Tice, forward/midfield, senior; Emma Philbrook, goalie, junior; Ella Toner, midfield/forward, junior; Laurie Olsaver, forward/midfield, junior
Key newcomers: Too early to tell.
Outlook: The Yellowjackets’ small roster for 2020 includes a trio of freshmen and just two seniors. The bulk of the lineup comes from a junior class that features veterans such as Philbrook, Toner and Olsaver. Together they’ll be trying to improve on last year’s campaign, the program’s fourth one-win season since going 6-8 in 2013.
Coach: Paige Manning (25th season)
Last season: 8-7-1; lost to Rice in Division I semifinals
Key returnees: Ella Agran, defense, senior; Lily Poor, midfield, senior; Carly Hansen, midfield, senior; Bronwyn Towle, forward/midfield, junior; Allie Bliss, forward, junior; Jenna Symon, forward, junior; Hannah Burrington, midfield, junior; Fiona Stotz, forward/midfield, sophomore; Anna Simonelli, forward, sophomore; Alyssa Benson, forward/midfield, sophomore; Marcelle Barber, goalie, sophomore
Key newcomers: Too early to tell.
Outlook: The trio of senior captains — Agran, Hansen and Poor — are integral as starters and leaders for a younger squad that prides itself on cohesiveness, camaraderie and trust, Manning said. The younger contributors have boosted the overall speed and toughness and are working on spatial tactics to elevate their play on both ends of the field. The return of Barber, who stood out as a rookie last fall, means good things for the defense. “Barber’s power and intuitive reactions keep her in the right place at the right time,” Manning said.
Coach: Kelly McClintock (10th season)
Last season: 12-4-1; won Division I championship
Key returnees: Amy Hester, forward, senior; Evie Reid, midfield, senior; Libby Stevens, defense, junior
Key newcomers: Belle Brown, midfield, junior; Beatrice Frechette, forward, freshman; Elyse MacDonough, midfield, freshman
Outlook: Set to defend the Division I crown for the first time, the Green Knights have their work cut out for them after losing a number of fixtures from last year’s triumphant side. All-staters Caroline McClintock and Kate Buckley graduated while youngster Kate Mackenzie defected to the prep ranks. Four freshmen have joined to fill that void and the return of the skillful Brown from prep school make for a fresh start. “They show a lot of potential but there is certainly a steep learning curve for experience in a game, something that in a shortened season will make a little bit trickier,” coach McClintock said. “This group is up for the challenge though, and come in everyday ready to work and learn.” Expect Rice to lean on its defense early in the year.
Coach: Anjie Soucy (19th season)
Last season: 9-6 lost to Bellows Falls in Division I quarterfinals
Key returnees: Lindsey Booth, forward, senior; Emma Shedleur, forward, senior; Morgan O’Brien, forward, senior; Sam Crane, forward, junior; Mia Angwin, midfield, junior; Ella Troville, defense, senior; Izzy Redzic, goalie, sophomore
Key newcomers: Abby Guenther, forward, junior
Outlook: Graduation losses were few, just three, but still significant for the Wolves, who bring back 12 from last year’s outfit, the first to be knocked out of the D-I tournament shy of the final in five years. An already stocked attack featuring scorers like Booth, Shedleur, O’Brien and Crane is bolstered further by Guenther, a transfer, which should make for superior firepower as South Burlington reloads in midfield and in net. “We lost two starting midfielders along with our starting goalie, so filling those spots will be key to our success,” Soucy said. “Obviously, just being able to play some games is amazing so we’ll have to see how the season unfolds.”
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