The Varsity Field Hockey Team is embracing the challenge of moving up to the A Conference in 2018. With a strong junior class and many players working on their game throughout the year, Coach Puckett is optimistic about the big leap. "This will be an intense season as we face two of the strongest teams in the the state; NDP and Archbishop Spalding" said Puckett. "We have our work cut out for us but with 3 scrimmages behind us we have been able to pinpoint our weaknesses and focus on improving each day."
One great addition to the team has been assistant coach Lindsey Puckett, a 2013 University of Maryland graduate, who brings youth and enthusiasm to the program. Winning 2 ACC titles and 2 NCAA National Championships while playing at Maryland, she will be working with the offense and help strengthen fundamentals and game strategy.
The team has 13 returning players: Seniors: Audrey Barnhart, Caroline Hock, Olivia Webster, Rachel Parr, Emily Pollard and Annemarie Bonner. Juniors: Ellie Bruggeman, Ryleigh Casserly, Kendall Rittmeyer, Katelyn Patrick, Helen Butler, Alexis Loder, and Kate Gromacki. Newcomers include: Brooke Smith, Sophia Shukla, Emma Balint, Megan Foulk, Kat Paradiso, Jamie Alatzas, and Emma Campitelli.
The offense will need to create scoring opportunities and sharpen their circle play as the season opens at the South River Tournament on Saturday, September 1st. Kendall Rittmeyer, Ellie Bruggeman, Katelyn Patrick, and freshman Emma Campitelli will need to supply some offensive punch to keep the pressure off the Patriots defense. Rittmeyer, Bruggeman, and Patrick all saw plenty of varsity minutes as sophomores with Patrick receiving All-Conference honors. Defensively, Audrey Barnhart has provided a spark in the back along with Ryleigh Casserly, Brooke Smith, and Helen Butler. This group will need to gel quickly as the team prepares for the opening of the 2018 season. Solidifying the defense is junior goalkeeper Alexis Loder, who is coming off a tremendous year of hockey. Alexis was selected to the U.S. Field Hockey's National Futures Championship Tournament in which her team won the bronze medal. Coach Alice Puckett has this to say, "Alexis has worked so incredibly hard in the off-season. It is such a reward to see someone who has worked so hard reap the benefits!"