Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Your Massachusetts High School Field Hockey Primer

Lincoln-Sudbury will be looking to bounce back in a big way in 2017.
By Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi)

Ed. Note- In our ongoing quest to cover more sports throughout the Commonwealth, SuiteSports will be bringing you field hockey coverage every week in this notebook, brought to you by reporter Marisa Ingemi. Each week, Marisa will give you the biggest games to watch and the story lines defining the season, plus update you on her state-wide Top 20.

After an off-year in the Dual County League, Lincoln-Sudbury has a lot to prove.

Things may have gotten even more challenging with a difficult goalie situation. Top goalie Elena Christenfeld was injured away from the field, and without another goalie in the program ready to step up, head coach Vicky Caburian has a rotation of field players ready to go.

“Everyone is willing to step in,” said Caburian. “Captains are willing to step in. That leadership is starting with these field players. For them to propose this, knowing they are key players. It’s a big sacrifice to help the team.”

Christenfeld is expected to be out for 2-3 weeks, but worse case is the entire season. Kayla Bain, one of the captains, will get to play in the cage for the first game of the year against Wayland.

“L-S is going to compete,” said Caburian. “To have the vision of stepping in goal for field players, they’ll learn so much and it will better our team.”

Still, the Warriors will play in one of Massachusetts field hockey’s most competitive conferences, the DCL.

Losing one of their top athletes, Bri Stokes, is also going to prove challenging for the Warriors, as she heads to Gettysburg College to pursue lacrosse.

Four returning seniors are back, including Bain, along with McKenzie Madden, Keira Semerjian, and McShane Sneath.

The team has no incoming freshmen, but five new players, three of them sophomores. It’s still one of the younger teams the Warriors have rolled out in some time.

“I think based on the commitment these girls are willing to put out, we’ll be there,” said Caburian. “We have good scrimmages against Winchester and Lexington, and I think we have great potential. We have a young team, but this is the best L-S team, condition-wise, I have seen in my tenure here. I could get right to coaching field hockey because we didn’t have to worry about condition.”

The team being in great shape should come in handy when facing adversity -- such as, say, having to play goalie for the first time with a competitive varsity team.

“This is a game of mistakes,” said Caburian. “Now, we have to fix a situation, and teams that win will be the one who make one less mistake than the other.”

Foxboro Re-Loading After Breakout Campaign

Foxboro made incredible strides in the 2016 season. After going 19-3-1, there is plenty of hope that the Warriors can break out again, despite losing eight seniors.

Kelli McCarthy, the Hockomock League MVP and a backbone of the team, is back in the cage for Foxboro. Last season, she had 13 shutouts in one of the strongest defensive efforts in the state.

What she does lose in front of her are Angela VandenBoom and Kelly Fisher, two senior defenders who graduated. Big seasons are needed from Holly O’Toole and Caroline Boudreau to fill in their shoes.

On offense, there are plenty of returners, led by the likes of Lily Daly, Sophia DiCenso and Jackie Brion. Last season, defense was the hallmark for the Warriors, but being able to net 61 goals over the course of the season was also a big help.

The Warriors might be one of the favorites to at least contend with Watertown to make a deep playoff run in Division 2. But first, a challenging Hockomock League awaits.

Players to Watch in 2017 

Goalie: Jonna Kennedy, Watertown: The future Boston College goalie had a tremendous junior campaign, leading Watertown to a state title. She now looks to remain undefeated in her senior year.

Forward: Carly LaCasse, Bourne: After tallying 30 goals as just a sophomore, LaCasse returns as one of the most lethal threats in the state.

Forward: Celia Walsh, Walpole: Scoring 43 points for the D1 champions, the Porkers will need even more from Walsh, as they look to offset the loss of graduated Melanie Weber.

Midfield: Casey Thompson, Central Catholic: With 38 points last season, heading into her senior year, Thompson could help Central Catholic make a run.

Defense: Kate Gregory, Andover: Not only was Gregory was of the state's best defensive players, she also chipped in offensively, throwing home nine goals for the Golden Knights.

Games of the Week

Wellesley at Walpole-
Tuesday, 3:45 pm: Walpole will get going without championship hero Melanie Weber and head coach Marianne Murphy against an upstart Wellesley team.

Foxboro at King Phillip- Friday, 5 pm: Already getting into the Hockomock schedule, the Warriors have a tough fight ahead against an improving King Phillip squad.

Top 20 Poll

1. Watertown
2. Walpole
3. Acton-Boxboro
4. Foxboro
5. Winchester
6. Lexington
7. Dennis-Yarmouth
8. Andover
9. Ipswich
10. Manchester Essex
11. Sandwich
12. Belmont
13. Wellesley
14. Needham
15. Central Catholic
16. Cohasset
17. King Philip
18. Triton
20. Lincoln-Sudbury


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