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2018 field hockey preivew: Talented MICDS motivated this fall after finishing second last season

By: Warren Mayes


MICDS looks ready to make another run for the field hockey championship this fall.

The Rams finished second in the Midwest Field Hockey Tournament last year. MICDS won three successive titles from 2013-2015 before losing to Lafayette in the quarterfinals in 2016.

“Many know the built-in motivation that a second place finish can provide, but we want to look beyond that and focus on building ourselves into the truly best team we can be,” MICDS coach Lynn Mittler said.

The Rams have three  talented junior who already have made their college choices. Mia Duchars will go to  Louisville,  Caroline Carr will go to Dartmouth and Reagan Calcari to New Hampshire.

The Lafayette Lancers were the public school champs last season. The Lancers wound up  17-3-3.  Lafayette was a Gateway Classic Pool champion and reached the Elite Eight in Midwest Tournament, losing 1-0 to eventual state champion Villa Duchesne.

Coach Melissa Schroeder is entering her sixth season leading the Lancers.  She has five starters back to build around.

The Marquette Mustangs went 15-5-1 last fall, losing to Lafayette in second round of postseason tournament. Coach Nina Walters has four starters returning.

St. Joseph’s Academy finished 11-3-1 under coach Claire Aubel. She has four starters back.

Coach Maggie Young and her Whitfield Warriors were displaced this preseason and will have a new field to play on this fall.

“This year we have had to relocate our preseason due to the PGA using our fields and campus for the PGA Championship,” Young said. “Though this may seem like a challenge teams wouldn’t want to face, we have embraced the opportunity to play a week and a half at Sportport on their water based turf.

“The speed of play, consistency in skills, and ability to work around rain has allowed us more uninterrupted practice time and freedom to create more dynamic practice plans. Having this opportunity right off the bat will allow us a smoother transition, skill-wise, to our newly renovated bermuda grass field behind our school.”

She has 13 players returning and Young said the Warriors are ready for the challenges they will face this season.

There is one new coach this season. Dave Richardson is back to coach at Parkway South. He returns after taking a three-year break from coaching.

Here is a look at the area’s teams in alphabetical order:

Barat Academy Eagles
2017 record: 6-11.
Coach: Debbie Watson. Entering 12th year as coach at Barat and 46th overall year.
Assistant coaches: None.
Returning number of starters: 4.
Players on team to watch for this fall:  Senior defense Emily Albers, senior offense  Aina Gadshava, junior goalie  Lauren Barrett, junior forward Brenna O’Shea,  senior Aina Gadshava.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Too soon to comment on new players. They are just learning but they will all get tons of playing time and contribute in each game.
Captains: Emily Albers, Lauren Barrett, Brenna O’Shea.
Players who have committed to college:  None.
Team strengths: Senior Aina Gadshava came to Barat from Russia. She never played the game until three years ago. Look for her to score and score and score. Junior Brenna O’Shea is one of the offensive leaders. She will be one of our finishers at the goal. Junior Lauren Barrett returns for year 2 in goal. She had a lot of offseason play and will lead the backfield well.
Goals: Team goals include a better than .500 season as we build a very young program into an established one that is respected by all.
Metro Women’s Athletic Association 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: We are in the toughest league in the Midwest. Look for strong league competition from St. Joe, Villa, Cor Jesu, and Nerinx.
Quote:  “As a long-time coach I want to say that building a young team is a privilege,” Watson said. “Every day is growth and energy. As the school year begins I can assure you that Barat Academy is building a tradition of excellence for many years to come.”

Eureka Wildcats
2017 record: 7-6-1. Lost 5-0 to Villa Duchesne in second round of postseason tournament.
Coach: Melissa Menchella. Entering second year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Pam’s Riiff, ALlie Gentry, Marie Deprospero.
Returning number of starters: 5.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Junior midfielder/defender Jensen Kitrel, senior forward Jenna Tojo, senior midfielder/defender Hannah Daffron, senior midfielder Madi Reisig, senior forward Gab Young.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore forward/midfielder Maddie Sherman, sophomore midfielder Hope Crane, senior defender Lexi Sigmund, sophomore defender Faith Orso.
Captains: None yet.
Players who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Lots of returners up front on the field, great team unity.
Goals: Finish the season with a winning record, more opportunities on goal than the previous year.
Suburban Division I teams: Brentood, Eureka, Edwardsville, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lafayette, Marquette, Oaksville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Summit, University City, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Kirkwood, Lafayette, Edwardsville.
Quote: “Last year  we graduated 12 seniors, so we have a lot of newcomers on our varsity squad,” Menchella said. “The upperclassmen have been doing a great job taking in the girls new to varsity this year, which has built up an incredible team chemistry right from the start. I am really excited to see our progress throughout the year and how much improvement we will have from the first game to the last. We have a good number of newcomers that can easily step up and fill in the holes from our senior heavy squad last year, so I am hopeful to see how we will come together as a unit throughout the season.”

Lafayette Lancers
2017 record: 17-3-3. Public school champions, Gateway Classic Pool champions, reached Elite Eight in Midwest Tournament, losing 1-0 to Villa Duchesne.
Coach: Melissa Schroeder. Entering sixth season as head coach.
Assistant coaches:Meghan Landwehr, Mark McAllister, Emelia Osborn.
Returning number of starters:  5.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior defenders Anna Reynolds and Lilly Balderston, dophomore midfield Elayna Malak, senior forward Katherine Goddin and sophomore Mia Simpson.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore midfielder Izzy McSpadden, junior forward Lauren Marshall and Rachael Bierschenk.
Captains: Anna Reynolds, Lilly Balderston, and Katherine Goddin.
Players who have committed to college: None.
Goals: I think the goal of any team would be to win you last game – the state championship game. My goal of any team would be to never get outworked since that is something we can control. We are going to focus in on possessing the ball as a team and playing with a sense of urgency this year.
Suburban Division I teams: Brentood, Eureka, Edwardsville, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lafayette, Marquette, Oaksville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Summit, University City, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Marquette, Edwardsville, Kirkwood.
Quote: “After losing a lot to graduation, I do feel that we will still be very competitive this season,” Schroeder said. “We have a ton of girls that have pushed themselves in the off season, and it really showed during tryouts. We will be young this year, but with that brings enthusiasm that I believe will help us compete. We have an awesome group of girls that came into season in shape and ready to work hard. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the first couple weeks are going. Most importantly, as a group, we are having fun. There is a ton of talent out there right now, so it will be yet another exciting year of field hockey.”

Marquette Mustangs
2017 record: 15-5-1. Lost 4-0 to Lafayette in second round of postseason tournament.
Coach: Nina Walters. Entering her sixth season as head coach.
Assistant coaches: Jenna King, Morgan Barker and Jackie Lindner.
Returning number of starters: 4.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior midfielder Emma Watson, senior midfielder Jessie Bulanda and senior midfielder Alli Sher.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Senior midfielder Robin Brouwer and junior defender Mia Rogers.
Captains: Betsy Baker, Jessie Bulanda and Emma Watson.
Players who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Great team chemistry. We have a big roster this year and every player fits in with the team. It is a really positive and supportive group of players.
Goals: Get better with each game and play till the final whistle. We have a very competitive schedule this year, so we are looking to play a complete game every game.
Suburban Division I teams: Brentood, Eureka, Edwardsville, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lafayette, Marquette, Oaksville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Summit, University City, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Kirkwood and Lafayette
Quote: “This season is going to be good, we have a hard schedule this year, but to be the best you have compete with the best,” Walters said. “Each game is going to help us prepare for the state tournament. This year’s team is a fun group. They work hard but also continue to have fun and enjoy the game.”

MICDS Rams
2017 record: 18-5-2. Lost 2-1 to Villa Duchesne in Midwest Field Hockey Tournament championship game.
Coach: Lynn Mittler. Entering 17th year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Margot McMahon, Maggie Dunson.
Returning number of starters: 8.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Lily Baker, Reagan Calcari, Caroline Carr, Molly Christopher, Mia Duchars, Skyler Lesslie, Arden Lilly, Katherine Rianhard.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Kate Oliver.
Captains: Arden Lilly, Katherine Rianhard.
Players who have committed to college: Junior Mia Duchars to  Louisville; junior Caroline Carr to Dartmouth; junior Reagan Calcari to New Hampshire.
Team strengths: Strong stick skills and field hockey IQ, creativity, prior experience.
Goals: Capture the elusive Midwest Championship we barely missed last year.
Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran South, MICDS, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win the conference: John Burroughs.
Quote: “We have a tremendous opportunity this year with so many dynamic players,” Mittler said. “I am excited to see the various combinations we can create and how we can continue to build the capacity of our individual players and our team. Many know the built-in motivation that a second place finish can provide, but we want to look beyond that and focus on building ourselves into the truly best team we can be. We want to push our skills and the level of our game higher than we have been able to achieve before and know that we will benefit from the contributions of every single player.”

Parkway South Patriots
2017 record: 3-17. Lost 2-1 to Lutheran South in postseason tournament opener.
Coach: Dave Richardson. Returning as head coach after a three-year break.
Assistant coaches: Jennifer Sommer.
Returning number of starters: 8 returning and 12 new varsity players.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Jada Robinson, Megan Ganninger, Emma Ivey.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Delaney Ditto and Meghan Sydow.
Captains: Jada Robinson, Megan Ganninger.
Players who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Building year with a change mindset from defense to offense.
Goals: Have a winning season.
Suburban America Division: Clayton, Lindbergh Oakville, Parkway South, Parkway West, Pattonville, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win the conference: Parkway West and Oakville.
Quote: “This year’s team quote is: The harder the conflict the sweeter the victory,'” Richardson said. “2018 will be a rebuilding year from a disastrous record of 2017. New coach, new offensive-minding team should result in more wins in 2018.”

Parkway West Longhorns
2017 record: 11-11. Lost 4-1 to Summit in first round of tournament.
Coach: Dawn Callahan. Entering fifth year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Taylor Rose, Tara Robben.
Returning number of starters: 6.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior foward Olivia Riemer, junior forward Callie Hummel, junior midfielder Makenna Rugani, junior midfielder Carly Anderson, junior back Val Riemer.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman midfielder Marissa Lui, freshman midfielder Anne Zahoran, sophomore goalie Karen Trevor-Roberts.
Captains: Olivia Riemer, Callie Hummel.
Players who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths: Have a solid core of returning players that have great team chemistry, with a lot of speed on our forward line.
Goals: To grow as a team and individual players from the beginning of season to the end. To play 60 minutes of uptempo possession hockey.
Favorites to win the conference: Oakville, Pattonville, Parkway West.
Quote: “I’m excited to see what this team can accomplish this season,” Callahan said. “We have a good combination of skilled returning players and talented newcomers all which are dedicated to improving their own individual skills and the level of field hockey at Parkway West which gives us the potential to have a record breaking year for the Longhorns.”

St. Joseph’s Academy Angels
2017 record: 11-3-1. Lost 1-0 to Cor Jesu is the postseason tournamet quarterfinals.
Coach: Claire Aubel. Entering fourth year as coach.
Assistant coaches:  Margaret Ott.
Returning number of starters: 3 field players, 4 with goalie.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Sophomore forward, Grace Kinzel senior defender Joni Halliday, junior goalie Katie Maxim.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman forward Laura Halliday, sophomore midfielder Mia Sansone.
Captains:  Seniors Joni Halliday and Eileen Cooney.
Players who have committed to college: None.
Team strengths:  Strong in goal. Lots of hard-working, naturally athletic girls with a positive attitude.
Goals:  Cohesive stick-to-stick passing, execute corner plays, have fun and play to our potential.
Metro Women’s Athletic Association 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, Villa Duchesne.
Quote: “We’re looking forward to competing this season,” Aubel said. “The girls on our team are all athletic, dynamic players and as such we expect to see some good ball movement and off-the-ball movement. It has been exciting to watch the girls push and motivate each other throughout preseason thus far and we’re excited to see how it all comes together as we play our first few games in the coming weeks.”

Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats
2017 record: 13-7-1. Lost 5-0 to Cor Jesu in second round of postseason tournament.
Coach: Nancy Schmer. Entering fifth year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Irene Taranhike.
Returning number of starters: 7.
Players on team to watch for this fall: Senior attacker Morgan Sickels, senior midfielder Sophie Clement, senior midfielder Hayler Fizer, sophomore defender Grace Clement.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Two strong goalkeepers will share the cage in senior Meredith Grass and junior Sabrina Granata.
Captains: Not named.
Players who have committed to college: Morgan Sickels and Hayley Fizer are still uncommitted.
Team strengths: Senior leadership. Depth in every position.
Goals: To focus on the little victories that lead to overall team success. To make it to the Elite Eight in postseason play.
Metro League teams: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win the conference: MICDS.
Quote: “In our fourth year as a varsity program, the Wildcats are determined to continue to build on last year’s successful season,” Schmer said. “This year, the Cats are senior strong with 16 seniors. With 22 girls on the varsity team, we have a strong starting lineup and depth in every position.”

Whitfield Warriors
2017 record: 7-14.  Lost 3-2 to Westminster Christian Academy in first round after winning the play-in game.
Coach: Maggie Young. Entering ninth year as coach.
Assistant coaches: Abby Lefler.
Returning number of starters: 13 returning player and, 9 starters.
Players on team to watch for this fall:  Senior defender/midfielder Alexis Williams, senior midfield/forward Lizzie Fagin, junior midfield Audrey Jennings, junior transfer Abby Morgan from Nerinx who will have an immediate impact in our midfield.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Abby Morgan, a junior transfer from Nerinx; Tia Sansone and Maxine Curlee, who are upcoming freshmen who will have an immediate impact on our defensive line.
Captains: To be determined.
Players who have committed to college: Junior Audrey Jennings will decide in the coming months.
Team strengths:  Shooting. Have a number of players who have the skill, strength, and knowledge to create shot opportunities and finish on scrappy play. The team chemistry is developing and believe in time that connection will be present in our team play on the field.
Goals: Our focus is to consistently develop our fundamentals. Scoring 30 or more goals this season is a goal we hope to achieve. With our experience falling in our midfield and forward lines, and our defense being relatively new, we recognize the importance accumulating goals to offset what may fall against us.
Metro Women’s Athletic Association 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 Duchesne, Cor Jesu, Nerinx, St. Joseph’s Academy.
Quote: “This year we have had to relocate our preseason due to the PGA using our fields and campus for the PGA Championship,” Young said. “Though this may seem like a challenge teams wouldn’t want to face, we have embraced the opportunity to play a week and a half at Sportport on their water based turf. The speed of play, consistency in skills, and ability to work around rain has allowed us more uninterrupted practice time and freedom to create more dynamic practice plans. Having this opportunity right off the bat will allow us a smoother transition, skill-wise, to our newly renovated bermuda grass field behind our school. I am looking forward to what will be a great year for Whitfield field hockey with a great group of girls eager to improve their game.”

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