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2017 high school girls field hockey preview

By: Warren Mayes


The St. Joseph’s Academy Angels will try to repeat as state champions in high school girls field hockey.
The Angels finished 2016 with a 21-2-1 record. St. Joseph’s defeated Cor Jesu 1-0 in the championship game to win the Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach Claire Aubel is entering third year as head varsity coach with the Angels.  She has five starters back including senior forward Annie Genovese, who has verbally committed to going to Saint Louis University.
Lafayette would like to repeat last year’s success. The Lancers finished 16-7-1 and reached the semifinals of the state tourney. Lafayette lost 2-1 to Cor Jesu.
Coach Melissa Schroeder will field an experienced squad with seven starters coming back for Lafayette.
Lynn Mittler is entering her 16th year as coach of the MICDS Rams. MICDS lost 2-1 to Lafayette in the quarterfinals of the Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament. Five Rams starters will be playing this fall.
Whitfield coach Maggie Young has seven starters returning from last year’s 14-6-1 squad. With the program continuing to add numbers, Young believes the Warriors will continue to grow.
There’s one new coach this fall. Melissa Menchella takes over at Eureka after being an assistant last season. Menchella is a Eureka graduate, where she was a multi-sport standout. She has nine starters back for her first season.
Here is a look at the teams in alphabetical order:
Barat Academy Eagles 
2016 record: 3-12-2. Finished 0-6 in MWAA. Lost 1-0 to Ursuline in first round of Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Debby Watson. Entering 10th year as coach.
Assistant coaches: None.
Captain: Senior Addie Grapperhaus and junior  Emily Albers.
Players who have committed to college:  Addie Grapperhaus is being recruited by six-plus colleges but has made no committment yet.
MWAA teams: Barat Academy, Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall, Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline Academy, Visitation Academy, Whitfield.
Quote: “Barat Academy will open its 10th varsity season,” Watson said. “The school is 11 years old but year one was JV. Each year the squad improves and loves the sport more and more.”
Eureka Wildcats
2016 record: 10-11-1. Finished tied for second at 5-1 in Suburban Division II standings. Lost 4-0 to Cor Jesu in second round of Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Melissa Menchella. Entering first year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Kristi O’Connor, Pamela Riiff.
Returning number of starters: 9.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior forward/midfielder Addi Kitrel, sophomore defender/midfielder Jensen Kitrel, Senior forward/midfielder Emma Cocos, Senior defender Claire Martin.
Newcomers expected to contribute: juniors Molly Kerr and Mia Shaw, sophomores Blaiz McPeak and Elsen Witte.
Captains: Have not been determined yet, going to decide next week.
Players who have committed to college: None, but graduated senior from last year Karra Kastner committed to LU Belleville late in the year last year if that counts?
Team strengths: Senior leadership–we have 11 seniors this year. We also have a great team chemistry already because we only graduated two girls last year and have a lot of returners coming back that have been playing together for a while. Finally, we have a good number of senior defenders, so I foresee defense playing well together this year and having good chemistry too.
Goals: Advance the farthest Eureka has in the state tournament, take more shots and create more goal opportunities, finish with a winning record.
Suburban Division I Teams: Brentwood, Clayton, Eureka, Edwardsville, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lafayette, Marquette, Oakville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Summit, University City, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Edwardsville, Marquette, Lafayette.
Quote: “I have been looking forward to this season so much, as I believe the squad we have this year will be the best to come through the Eureka field hockey program so far,” Menchella said.  “We have a large group of senior leaders that have great chemistry, are incredibly hard workers and are very passionate about the game.  Because of that, I am excited for this group to come together and reach the potential that they have to carry Eureka farther than it has ever gone this year.”
Lafayette Lancers
2016 record: 16-7-1. Finished 5-0 to win the Suburban Division II. Lost 2-1 to Cor Jesu in semifinals of Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Melissa Schroeder. Entering 5th year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Meghan Landwehr, Mark McAllister, Emelia Osborn.
Returning number of starters: 7 returning.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior midfielder Meghan Conroy, senior defender Jill Wipke, junior forward Katherine Goddin, junior defenders Lilly Balderston and Anna Reynolds.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Mia Simpson, freshman Elayna Malak.
Captains: Not  named.
Players who have committed to college: Meghan Conroy to Iowa.
Team strengths: Bring a lot of solid experience with this group that is coming back this year.  A good portion of our team has been playing varsity for at least two years.  The senior leadership is some of the best Schroeder said she has seen in her 10 years of coaching.
Goals: The goal of the program is the same almost every year, which is simply never get out worked.  We can’t control certain things in the game, but we can control how hard we work each day. Winning state would be up there on our list as well.
Suburban Division I Teams: Brentwood, Clayton, Eureka, Edwardsville, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lafayette, Marquette, Oakville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Summit, University City, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Kirkwood, Ladue, and Marquette.
Quote: “This is a very exciting year for us as we have quite a few girls that have been playing at the varsity level for three to four years and hoping to make their last season the most memorable one,” Schroeder said. “This group of upperclassman are one of the most dedicated, selfless, and fun groups that I have seen in my 10 years of coaching.  I haven’t met a group of kids that work together this well on and off the field.  Most importantly, every single girls comes ready to work hard and have fun each day.  It is going to be an exciting season for us hopefully.”
MICDS Rams
2016 record: 15-7. Went 3-1 to finish second in Metro League. Lost 2-1 to Lafayette in quarterfinals of the Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Lynn Mittler. Entering 16th year as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Margot McMahon, Alex LaBarge, Maggie Dunson
Returning number of starters: 5.
Captains: Lou Chalfant and Katie O’Hara.
Players who have committed to college: Lou Chalfant will play at Georgetown next year
Team strengths: Young and enthusiastic, willing to take risks in an effort to try more advanced skills or strategies
Goals: Advance further than the quarterfinals from 2016, continue to grow and develop throughout the season, reap the benefits of deliberate practice day in and day out
Metro League Teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran South, MICDS, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win the conference: John Burroughs.
Quote: “This is a relatively young squad that has the capability to continue developing throughout the season,” Mittler said. “I have a feeling that they may even surprise themselves with what they can accomplish if they can give themselves a chance. The end of our season last year has been a motivator from the first day of practice and I am eager to watch this team establish their own identity.”
Parkway West Longhorns
2016 record: 5-16. Finished 2-4 for eighth place in Suburban Division II. Lost 9-0 to Ladue in second round of Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Dawn Callahan. Entering fourth year as coach.
Assistant coaches:Tara Robben and Taylor Rose
Returning number of starters: 7.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior defender Claudette Roskamp, junior attacker Olivia Riemer, sophomore attacker Callie Hummel.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman midfielder Emma Wistuba.
Captains: Claudette Roskamp, Stephanie Ingberg.
Players who have committed to college: None at this time.
Team strengths: Good team chemistry and a good mix of experience and newcomers.
Goals: Win the Silver Division public school tournament, make it to the round of 16, play good possession hockey and continue to improve through out the season.
Suburban Division I teams: Brentwood, Clayton, Eureka, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lafayette, Marquette, Oakville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Summit, University City, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Lafayette, Ladue.
Quote: “I’m excited to see how this team grows throughout this season,” Callahan said. “We have a solid core of committed students-athletes that want to improve as a team. They are a fun group of young ladies to coach and they bring a lot of energy and excitement to the program.  We have a lot of speed on the forward line and a solid midfield and defense can’t wait to see what this team can accomplish this season.”
St. Joseph’s Academy Angels
2016 record: 21-2-1. Finished in third place at 4-2 in MWAA. Defeated Cor Jesu 1-0 to win the Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Claire Aubel. Entering third year as head varsity coach.
Assistant coach: Margaret Ellis.
Returning number of starters: 5.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior forward Annie Genovese, junior defender Joni Halliday, senior midfielder Carmen Sansone, senior midfielder/forward Jane Nester.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore goalie Katie Maxim.
Captains: Undecided as of now.
Players who have committed to college: Senior forward Annie Genovese to Saint Louis University.
Team strengths: Great team chemistry, experienced competitive natured girls.
Goals: Score on 75 percent  of offensive corners, post shutout victories.
MWAA teams: Barat Academy, Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall, Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline Academy, Villa Duschesne, Visitation Academy, Whitfield.
Favorites to win the conference: Villa Duschesne or Cor Jesu.
Quote: “This season is going to be a lot of fun,” Aubel said. “Our talent is evenly spread throughout the field so we’re looking forward to some good ball movement. There are quite a few teams to watch so-to-speak and we’re just excited to compete. The girls on our team this year are really competitive and they push and motivate each other to improve skills and technique while having a fun time doing so.”
Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats
2016 record: 5-14-1. Went 0-4 in Metro League. Lost 4-2 to University City in play-in round of Midwest Field hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Nancy Schmer. Entering fourth year as coach at Westminster and 27th year overall as a coach .
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Kuhn, Jennifer Johnston, Joan Holley.
Returning number of starters: 7.
Players on team to watch for fall: Senior midfielder Haley Schmer, senior attacker Lexi Berra, senior defender Bekah Warren, junior attacker Morgan Sickels, junior midfielder Sophie Clement.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman defender Grace Clement, sophomore defender Luci Hilboldt, junior goalkeeper Meredith Grass.
Captains: Seniors Haley Schmer, Taylor Siebenman, and Bekah Warren.
Players committed to college: None at this time.
Team strengths: Strong starting lineup. Anticipating a smart, solid defense and quick, explosive attack.
Metro League Teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran South, MICDS, Westminster Christian Academy
Favorites to win the conference: MICDS.
Quote: “In our third year as a varsity program, the Wildcats are hungry,” Schmer said. “A solid lineup of returning starters, seasoned senior leadership, and a fresh batch of newcomers should result in a history making season. Our team motto is ‘Fear – less.’ As a program, we will strive to do more by taking risks, pushing ourselves to achieve personal and team goals, and by fearing less on and off the playing field.”

Whitfield Warriors 
2016 record: 14-6-1. Finished in third place at 4-3 in MWAA. Lost 1-0 to Edwardsville in the Sweet 16 round of the Midwest Field Hockey State Tournament.
Coach: Maggie Young. Entering eighth year as Whitfield coach.
Assistant coaches: Chloe Nelson, Abby Lefler, Lauren Winsby, Alex Moro, the goalkeeping coach.
Returning number of players from last year – 10 players and seven were starters.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior MF Carli Besemer, senior F Lizzie Bell, senior D Katie Brison, junior D Alexis Williams, junior D Lizzie Fagin.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshmen Lexi Miller and Kate Courtney.
Captains: Carli Besemer, Lizzie Bell, Katie Brison.
Players who have committed to college: None at this time.
Team strengths: Strength of schedule, willingness and ability to play various positions when needed, strong defensive unit, developing a more diverse attacking unit.
Goals: Continue building the program, to increase our numbers and build back our JV program.
Goals: Individual skill improvement, return to the Sweet 16 round of Midwest Tournament.
MWAA teams: Barat Academy, Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall, Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline Academy, Villa Duschesne, Visitation Academy, Whitfield.
Favorites to win the conference: Cor Jesu or St. Joseph’s.
Quote: “’Right here, right now’ is the theme of our season keeping our focus on the process as well as our team development,” Young said. “I am very excited with this group of girls.  We have 18, up two from last year, and all of them are fun, kind, and genuine, not to mention fully invested in each other and committed to the sport and our development.”

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