John Carroll tops C. Milton Wright for summer field hockey crown




Bailey Swart (left) had two goals and Kate Gromacki added a score for John Carroll School in its victory over Carolina Blue (C. Milton Wright) in the Summer Sevens field hockey summer league final at North Harford Monday evening.

by Derek Toney

The 2018 field hockey season was forgettable for John Carroll School. The Patriots are hoping the coming season will be a different story.

John Carroll won the Summer Sevens League championship with a 5-1 victory over Carolina Blue (C. Milton Wright) at North Harford Monday evening.

The second-seeded Patriots led wire-to-wire in the final to finish 10-3-1 in the league. John Carroll outlasted two-time reigning IAAM A Conference champ Notre Dame Prep, 2-1, in a shootout, in the semifinals.

Last fall, the Bel Air school won two games (2-10) as a member of the IAAM A (won one league match). This year, the Patriots are in the B where they won three straight titles from 2014 to 2016.

John Carroll coach Alice Puckett was excited to see her squad build some positive momentum heading into preseason practice in a couple of weeks.

“We had eight weeks of summer league and we’ve had plenty of players,” said Puckett. “Everybody’s been dedicated which you always don’t get in the summer.”

The Patriots, Carolina Blue (C. M. Wright) and Notre Dame Prep were joined by Girls of Fall and Cool Cats (Fallston), Pride and Roar (Dulaney), Hawkey (North Harford), Iron Will (Patterson Mill), Blue Thunder (Bel Air) and Gold (Hereford), Cardinal Red (Hereford)  in the league. Girls of Fall was the playoffs’ top seed, but fell to Carolina Blue in the semifinals (2-1).

In the final, John Carroll got scores from Kate Gromacki, Swart and rising senior Kendall Rittmeyer to open play. Rising sophomore Erin Cowie just before the halftime buzzer for Carolina Blue’s only goal.

Swart, a transfer from Havre de Grace, and rising senior Ellie Bruggeman each tallied in the second half for John Carroll.

Puckett, heading into her fourth season at her alma-mater after a legendary 37-year run at Fallston (11 state titles), focused on keeping things “light.”

“It’s not the intensity we might have during the regular season, but we’re still learning,” said Puckett. “It generates excitement for the season.”

Gromacki, who will attend Washington College in the fall of 2020, is hyper-excited about the coming season. She’s missed a majority of past two seasons because of injury.

“We’ve developed our passing game. We used to be a dribbling team, head down and dribbled which the coaches didn’t like,” said Gromacki. “Tonight, we had chemistry built with our passing…It was great to see.”


at North Harford

Final standings

Girls of Fall (Fallston No. 1) 9-2-1

John Carroll School 8-3-1

Pride (Dulaney No. 1) 6-6

Hawkey (North Harford) 6-6

Carolina Blue (C. Milton Wright) 6-5-1

Notre Dame Prep 4-4-2

Iron Will (Patterson Mill) 4-6-2

Cool Cats (Fallston No. 2) 3-9-0

Gold (Hereford No. 2) 1-8-2

Blue Thunder (Bel Air) 0-11-1

Note: Cardinal Red (Hereford No. 1) finished placed first in standings but didn’t participate in playoffs

Monday’s playoff results


No. 5 seed Carolina Blue 3, No. 4 Hawkey 1

No. 6 Blazers 8, No. 3 Pride 1


Carolina Blue 2, No. 1 Girls of Fall 1

No. 2 John Carroll 2, No. 6 Blazers 1


John Carroll 5, Carolina Blue 1