Grizzlies primed to take care of unfinished business; state champ South River is No. 3 


by Katherine Dunn

After back-to-back championships in the IAAM A Conference, Notre Dame Prep may have an uphill battle for a third title this fall as Garrison Forest’s loaded lineup puts the Grizzlies in the No. 1 spot in the VSN Field Hockey Preseason Top 20 Poll.

The two meet twice this season with the A Conference trimmed to just five teams. Both should be hotly contested games, but the Grizzlies, ranked No. 22 nationally by MAX Field Hockey, appear to have the early edge with most of their lineup returning. The Blazers graduated a large contingent, including co-Players of the Year Nathalie Friedman and Rachel Borzymowski.

Baltimore area teams swept the 2018 state titles — South River (Class 4A), C. Milton Wright (Class 3A), Liberty (Class 2A) and South Carroll (Class 1A). All remain among VSN’s top teams, but not all can repeat as champs. After the state’s biennial reclassification, Liberty moves to Class 1A with Carroll County rival South Carroll this season.

Pictured above: Garrison Forest School, with Ryleigh McComas (left), Riley Patro and Celia Donner, is ready to reclaim the IAAM A championship in 2019 after three straight final losses. The Grizzlies are No. 1 in VSN’s Field Hockey Preseason Top 20. 

Here is the complete 2019 VSN Field Hockey Preseason Top 20:

2019 VSN FIELD HOCKEY PRESEASON TOP 20 

1. GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL GRIZZLIES

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #2

2018 record: 16-3

Coach: Malcolm Belin

Players to watch: Celia Donner, Sr., defense; Daniela Mendez, So., forward; Ella Kokinis, Fr., forward

Long hit: With only two starters lost to graduation and an influx of new talent, last year’s IAAM A Conference finalists are loaded for new coach Belin as they aim for their first title since 2012.

2. NOTRE DAME PREP BLAZERS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #1

2018 record: 20-1

Coach: Katrina Ross

Players to watch: Pyper Friedman, Jr., defense; Meredith Medvetz, Sr.; midfield; Brooke Borzymowski, Jr., goalie

Long hit: Despite a big hit from graduation, the Blazers return considerable talent to make a run at a third straight IAAM A Conference title led by Friedman, an U.S. Indoor National Team player.

3. SOUTH RIVER SEAHAWKS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #4

2018 record: 16-2

Coach: Megan Atkinson

Players to watch: Meagan Quick, Jr., midfield; Caitlin McGuirk, Sr., defense; Kyliegh Thome, So., defense

Long hit: The defending state Class 4A and Anne Arundel County champions will rely on a mix of veterans and newcomers try to repeat in both highly competitive races.

4. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING CAVALIERS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #6

2018 record: 14-4

Coach: Leslee Brady

Players to watch: Caitlin Koehler, Sr., defense; Shelby Bumgarner, Jr., defense; Becca Lawn, So., midfield

Long hit: The Cavaliers return 10 seniors to bolster a run at the IAAM A Conference title after falling in the semifinals last season to eventual champ Notre Dame Prep.

5. MCDONOGH SCHOOL EAGLES

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #5

2018 record: 9-3

Coach: Denise Wolf

Players to watch: Kori Edmondson, So., midfield; Jillian Ansell, Sr., defense; Blake Cunneen, Sr., forward

Long hit: After an overtime loss to Garrison Forest in the IAAM A Conference semifinals, the Eagles bring back seven starters to keep battling.

6. SEVERNA PARK FALCONS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #11

2018 record: 9-6-1

Coach: Shannon Garden

Players to watch: Lila Slattery, Sr., midfield; Lauren Aguilar, Sr., defense

Long hit: After graduating 12 seniors, the Falcons have reloaded with a talented, cohesive combination of veterans and youngsters as they aim for the Class 4A title.

7. LIBERTY LIONS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #7

2018 record: 17-2

Coach: Brenda Strohmer

Players to watch: Christine Goetz, Sr., defense; Kayleigh Ward, Jr., forward

Long hit: The defending state Class 2A champions move to Class 1A where they should make a run at another state title as well as at the top spot in Carroll County.

8. ARUNDEL WILDCATS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #9

2018 record: 11-5

Coach: Carrie Vosburg

Players to watch: Sara Pique, Sr., defense; Lana Hamilton, Jr., midfield

Long hit: The Wildcats bring back a solid group of veterans aiming to improve on last season’s finish as 4A East Region finalists.

9. HEREFORD BULLS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #13

2018 record: 12-7

Coach: Caitlin Duvall

Players to watch: Anna Brandt, Sr., midfield; Katie Martino, Sr., forward

Long hit: A strong core of seniors returns with plentiful experience as the Bulls aim for another run at the state Class 2A title after falling to Liberty in last year’s state final.

10. DULANEY LIONS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #15

2018 record: 13-7

Coach: Lauren Iacoboni

Players to watch: Sidney Snyder, Sr., forward; Allie Mercer, Jr., goal

Long hit: New coach Iacoboni has only a few holes to fill as the veteran Lions aim to return to the state Class 4A final where they fell to South River last year. 

11. CHESAPEAKE-ANNE ARUNDEL COUGARS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #12

2018 record: 12-7

Coach: Joan Johnson

Players to watch: Eve Vickery, Sr., goalie; Shelby Bennoit, Sr., midfield

Long hit: Class 3A state finalists last season after winning two straight titles, the Cougars, now in Class 2A, will try to keep the success rolling, anchored by 2018 All-State goalie Vickery.

12. NORTH HARFORD HAWKS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #16

2018 record: 13-3

Coach: Carla Harward

Players to watch: Ava Schmidt, Sr., forward; Samantha Crone, Sr., defense

Long hit: The Hawks graduated a few key players but bring back enough seniors to challenge for the top spot in UCBAC Chesapeake.

13. MARRIOTTS RIDGE MUSTANGS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #18

2018 record: 9-7

Coach: Stacie Gado

Players to watch: Emma Gladstein, Sr., midfield; Elle Clevenger, Sr., forward

Long hit: With seven starters back, the Mustangs have experience and strength in all areas of the field as they try to improve on last season’s sectional finalist berth.

14. C. MILTON WRIGHT MUSTANGS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #3

2018 record: 18-1

Coach: Kelsey Lovelace

Players to watch: Annie Keele Sr., midfield; Finley Moreland, Sr., goal

Long hit: The defending Class 3A champions graduated seven starters but return the talent to remain among the top teams in UCBAC Chesapeake.

15. BEL AIR BOBCATS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #17

2018 record: 8-3

Coach: Amy Chmielewski

Players to watch: Peyton Hale, Sr., defense-midfield; Ali Chmielewski, Sr., forward

Long hit: Only six seniors return, but four four-year starters should keep the Bobcats competitive as their teammates gain experience.

16. GLENELG GLADIATORS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #8

2018 record: 13-2-1

Coach: Nicole Trunzo-Bell 

Players to watch: Sarah Kang, Jr., midfield; Rachel Barker, Jr., goalie

Long hit: After considerable turnover and the loss of four-year starter Kathryn Hoffman to an ACL tear, the defending Howard County champions have great potential despite their youth.

17. BROADNECK BRUINS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #10

2018 record: 10-4-2

Coach: Shannon Hanratty

Players to watch: Sammy Dupcak, Sr., midfield; Corinne Sage, Sr., midfield

Long hit: After graduating 13 players, the Bruins will be rebuilding but still could have a big impact on the Anne Arundel County race.

18. CENTURY KNIGHTS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

2018 record: 12-4

Coach: Terry Duryea

Players to watch: Kaitlyn Huber, Sr., defense; Claire Hollinger, Sr., goal

Long hit: With eight starters back, the Knights should continue to challenge Liberty for the top spot in Carroll County despite losing their top player, Grace Bruce, to a torn ACL.

19. SOUTH CARROLL CAVALIERS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: #20

2018 record: 12-8

Coach: Julie Radnoff

Players to watch: Rachel Linn, Sr., forward; Meghan Radnoff, Sr., midfield

Long hit: The Cavaliers didn’t allow a goal in their six-game playoff run and should be stingy once again with a veteran defense.

20. ST. MARY’S SAINTS

Final 2018 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

2018 record: 14-3-1

Coach: Kaitlyn Marsh

Players to watch: Gracie Driggs, So., forward; Hope Davis, Jr., midfield

Long hit: The defending IAAM B Conference champions graduated just two starters and aim to repeat in a bigger, likely more challenging conference.