New coaches should fac­tor into Mid-Shore’s com­pet­i­tive mix

Record Observer - - Sports -

Dou­ble-over­time was needed to de­cide two sec­tional play­off games on the Eastern Shore last sea­son and this year’s reg­u­lar sea­son and post­sea­son ac­tion looks to be just as com­pet­i­tive. But with six new head coaches among the eight Mid-Shore high schools with field hockey, some new tac­tics could en­ter into the fray.

The four Class 1A teams, Kent County, St. Michaels, Queen Anne’s, and North Caro­line, will have to deal with de­fend­ing state cham­pion Po­comoke again this sea­son.

Po­comoke has ap­peared in the state tour­na­ment 27 times, sec­ond only to Sev­erna Park (32). The War­riors have won 19 state cham­pi­onships, in­clud­ing eight straight from 2003-2010 and 16 un­der for­mer head coach Su­san Pusey, who passed away last sum­mer. They won a state ti­tle again last year un­der new head coach Brandi Cas­taneda.

With the high tal­ent level on the Mid-Shore, who­ever faces the War­riors in the post­sea­son should be bat­tle tested.

Last year’s top Mid-Shore team, Class 2A Kent Is­land, a state semi­fi­nal­ist last sea­son, was de­pleted from a large grad­u­at­ing class, but would like noth­ing more than to re­turn to the state fi­nals, which are again slated for Wash­ing­ton Col­lege. The Buc­ca­neers won the state cham­pi­onship in 2008 and made the state tour­na­ment the last three years, reach­ing the fi­nal in 2014.

The Bucs fell to Po­comoke 5-0 in last year’s Bay­side Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onship game at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege.

Here’s a look at this year’s lo­cal teams:

Kent Is­land Af­ter grad­u­at­ing 11 from last sea­son, the Buc­ca­neers are young, all un­der­class­men, and look­ing to grow. They do re­turn two-time North Bay­side player of the year Abby Car­pen­ter.

Pro­jected starters are ju­nior for­wards Car­lie Do­mo­gauer and Emily Keller and sopho­more Celina Kauf­man; ju­nior midfielders Car­pen­ter, Keelyn Haarhoff, and Grace Boyer; ju­nior defenders Syd­ney Holtzner and Mad­die Hart­nett; and ju­nior goalie Hope Wobbe.

“Our goal this sea­son is to grow as a team, learn to play to­gether and use our speed and con­di­tion­ing to our ad­van­tage,” long­time Bucs head coach Jami Wilt said.

“Celina Kauf­man was a fresh­man on var­sity last year,” Wilt added. “This year Celina has moved into a start­ing po­si­tion. All of her off­sea­son train­ing has helped her grow as a player and we fore­see her step­ping up as an of­fen­sive threat. Sopho­more Marissa Plumer is new to the var­sity squad. As a de­fender she brings speed and ag­gres­sive­ness, which will be key to our young team.”

The past two sea­sons, Car­pen­ter’s stick skills have been un­ri­valed on the Shore and she will likely draw mul­ti­ple defenders through­out the sea­son. The last two years she has been se­lected to par­tic­i­pate in the USA Field Hockey Ju­nior Na­tional pro­grams.

“Abby’s ex­ten­sive train­ing and un­der­stand­ing of the game will be a key to guid­ing this young team this sea­son,” Wilt said.

Queen Anne’s Shana Corder is now the Lions head coach and Stephanie Ke­van has as­sumed the role of as­sis­tant.

The Lions are com­ing off a suc­cess­ful 2015 sea­son in which they fin­ished 10-4, earn­ing a spot in Class 1A East Re­gion fi­nal.

Af­ter de­feat­ing North Caro­line soundly, Queen Anne’s nipped Kent County 1-0 in dou­ble-over­time in the Sec­tion I fi­nal be­fore fall­ing to Po­comoke in the re­gion fi­nal.

The Lions re­turn six starters this sea­son. The mid­field at­tack is led by re­turn­ing starters Mckenna Blick, Gabrielle Corder, and Paige Mitchell. Two re­turn­ing starters are for­wards Kelsey Graef and Sara Wal­ford. Join­ing them is se­nior Con­ner Allen, a trans­fer from Saints Peter and Paul.

The de­fen­sive unit will be led by se­niors Olivia Lewis, Josie Inzer, and Madi­son Ja­sick. Emily Lane­hart will re­turn to de­fend the goal.

“This is a very strong group which has trained through­out the year to pre­pare for 2016,” Coach Corder said. “We have con­fi­dence that they will be com­pet­i­tive through­out the sea­son.”

Queen Anne’s gets an early test when it opens the sea­son by host­ing Po­comoke.

“We have many com­pet­i­tive teams in our di­vi­sion in­clud­ing Wash­ing­ton, Cr­is­field, and Kent Is­land that will test us early in prepa­ra­tion for post­sea­son,” Corder said. Saints Peter and Paul SSPP fin­ished 10-3 last sea­son, fall­ing to Worces­ter Prep, 4-2, in the semi­fi­nals of the Eastern Shore In­de­pen­dent Ath­letic Con­fer­ence play­offs last fall af­ter beat­ing the Mal­lards twice dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

The Sabres lost five se­niors to grad­u­a­tion but re­turn seven se­niors that should give Worces­ter a good bat­tle again this year.

New head coach Julie Cor­son is ex­pect­ing se­nior lead­er­ship from Me­gan Beane, Miles Clem­mer, Olivia Dis­sen, Cassidy Fishell, Kate Hen­ley, Madi Marciniak, and Kate Sovero. No­table ju­niors on the ros­ter are Mad­die Boehm, Mat­tie Con­ner, Brit­tany Cum­mings, Ju­lia D’Alb­ora, Hai­ley Flynn, Kel­ley Herte­landy, Sarah Mor­ris, and Mag­gie Parch­man, and new­comer Seth McGet­ti­gan.

“Our re­turn­ing sopho­mores, Sarah Bradley and Mor­gan Schisler, have stepped up on the mid­field and de­fen­sive lines, re­spec­tively,” Cor­son said.

New play­ers to the team in­clude sopho­mores Madi Mor­ris and Lil­lian Muck­leroy and six fresh­men.

“Our strengths are work­ing a small game all over the field — the team meshes well in give-and-go pass­ing sit­u­a­tions,” Cor­son said. “They have an abil­ity to find each other’s stick and move the ball in small spa­ces re­ally well. Our stand­out play­ers move flu­idly find­ing open spa­ces; our at­tack demon­strates of­fen­sive shots that some­times make me for­get I am watch­ing high school field hockey. As a unit, I am ex­cited to see how this team de­vel­ops through the sea­son.” Gun­ston

A for­mer col­lege player, Alison DeFino is the new head coach for the Herons, who also com­pete in the ESIAC.

DeFino coached mid­dle school field hockey for the last eight years at St. Anne’s Epis­co­pal School. Her daugh­ter Ab­bie, a Gun­ston grad­u­ate, is play­ing field hockey at Lynch­burg Col­lege this year. An­other daugh­ter, Becky, is a sopho­more for­ward for the Herons this sea­son.

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