Here’s a look at some of the local field hockey teams:
• Coach: Allyson Archacki (seventh season)
• Last season: 6-7-3; lost in the Division I quarterfinals
• This season: 0-2
• Key returnees: Mallory Cross, midfield, senior; Camille McCobb, defense, senior; Sally Matson, defense, junior.
• Key newcomers: Fiona McSweeny, forward, junior; Devin Libby, goalie, sophomore.
• Outlook: After losing 12 players to graduation, Archacki has the Seahorses in full rebuilding mode. The coach will rely on Cross to provide strong leadership for the new crop of players. “I think the strength will come from Mallory being in the midfield,” Archacki said. “She knows the game, she’s a competitor.” With Cross providing the leadership, Archacki is focusing the players on developing the skill game, using passing and stick skills to beat other team’s speed. “They have talent,” Archacki said. “We just really have to work with our skill.”
• Next game: Wednesday vs. Champlain Valley
• Coach: Kate McDonald (14th season)
• Last season: 8-3-4; lost in the Division I quarterfinals
• This season: 1-0
• Key returnees: Sami Harvey, midfield, senior; Lily Schmoker, forward, senior; Cathryne Asch, defense, senior; Catherine King, midfield, senior.
• Key newcomers: Tashia Pashby-Brockwood, goalie, junior; Stasha Rup, midfield, sophomore; Kate Machavern, forward, junior.
• Outlook: With a few key members of last year’s squad gone due to graduation — including goalie Evangeline Dunphy — the Redhawks should be in the midst of a rebuild. But with a number of experienced players returning, including Harvey, Schmoker and Asch, McDonald is excited about the team’s potential. “We have a lot of returning seniors, they provide a lot of consistency and strong leadership,” McDonald said. “We have a nice blend of returners and newcomers, we are off to a good start.”
• Next game: Wednesday at Burlington
• Coach: Molly DiMasi (second season)
• Last season: 1-14; lost in the Division playdowns
• This season: 0-2
• Key returnees: Katina Messier, forward, junior; Ellyse Fredricks, midfielder, junior; Olivia Trevisani, defense, junior; Abby Ladd, goaltender, sophomore; Erin Horton, forward, sophomore.
• Key newcomers: Samantha Messier, midfield, freshman; Kelsi Wallace, , defense, freshmen; Grace Provost, midfield, junior; Emma Lamothe, midfield, sophomore.
• Outlook: A very young team, with no seniors and just four juniors, the Lakers are looking to build on the foundation of good skills that DiMasi focused on last season. “They have definitely have shown me that they are more experienced and have a strong knowledge of the game, so we don’t need to work on basic stuff,” DiMasi said. Combine that with good chemistry and the outlook for this season is positive, DiMasi said. “The girls have passion in and we can build as one team.”
• Next game: Friday vs. Rice
• Coach: Heather Garrow (ninth season)
• Last season: 13-1-3, won the Division I state title over Hartford
• This season: 1-0
• Key returnees: Kathleen Young, midfield, senior; Tiffany Barnes, midfield, senior; Cristina Tellez, midfield, senior; Siena Teare, forward, senior; Maria Grant, goalie, senior.
• Key newcomers: Erin Murphy, forward, junior; Jenna Puleo, forward, freshman; Elise Kearney, defense, junior.
• Outlook: The Division I defending champions enter the season with a lot of talent and a few question marks. The talent will make the Hornets’ midfield one of the best in the state, with Young, the reigning Free Press player of the year, Barnes and Tellez providing four years of varsity experience at the position. There is also experience at the forward position, though the team will have to replace some goal-scoring, with two of last year’s top scorers gone to graduation. The biggest question mark for Essex will come on defense, where the team will have to replace almost all of last year’s starters. “We still have a ways to go before everything is gelling,” Garrow said. “We still have some defensive work to do but I am confident we can get where we need to be.”
• Next game: Tuesday vs. South Burlington
• Coach: Heather Wells (10th season)
• Last season: 6-9; lost to Lyndon in the Div. III quarterfinals
• This season: 1-0
• Key returnees: Rachel Peltier, midfield, senior; Christina Watson, midfield, senior, Nicole Brady, forward, senior; Cassandra Besranleau, forward, junior; Selena Patterson, forward, junior; Tatiana Garrow, forward, junior; Paige Hibbard, defender, junior.
• Key newcomers: Too early to tell
• Outlook: For most teams graduating 14 seniors would signal a rebuilding year, but a group of players that have played together for years should help the Yellowjackets in the wins column. “It was nervewracking knowing we lost 14 seniors,” Wells said. “But these girls have played together for so long, they are really tight knit.” With an abundance of talent at the forward and midfield positions, that promises to be a strength for Milton. “The camaraderie really stands out on the field,” Wells said. “Things are looking good, they really pulled together.”
• Next game: Tuesday vs. Stowe
• Coach: Paige Manning (19th season)
• Last season: 4-8-1; lost in the Division I playdowns
• This season: 0-1-1
• Key returnees:Sierra Villemaire, forward, senior; Kristin Gandini , midfield, senior; Elena Newbrough, midfield, senior; Maryel Likhite, defense, junior; Shannon Springer, forward, junior.
• Key newcomers:Lauren Hagerty, defense, sophomore; Margaret Thompson, midfield, sophomore; Perry Willet, midfield, freshman; Abby Carter, midfield, freshman.
• Outlook: With an almost perfect mix of experienced players to provide leadership and young players to provide an infusion of talent, the Cougars are very positive about this season. “This is a super talented group,” Manning said. “They could make a push (for the playoffs), we just have to keep working hard.” The key to the team will be the leadership of the senior captains, Villemaire, Gandini and Newbrough, and the core group of juniors coming in with strong varsity experience. “They kids came in really fit,” the coach added. “They are ready to play.”
Next game: Wednesday vs. Mount Abraham
• Coach: Kelly McClintock
• Last season: 12-1-2; lost in the Div. II state final
• This season: 1-1
• Key returnees: Lucy Stillman, senior, forward; Caroline Provost, senior, midfield; Sierra Combs, junior, forward; Claire Sheahan, sophomore, midfield; Paige Hauke, senior, defense.
• Key newcomers: Michelle Bolger, senior, forward; Jackie Bartlett, senior, goalie
• Outlook: After falling in the title game the last two seasons — the team’s only loss in both years — the Green Knights are determined to finish the job this season. “Our team is very hungry after being denied a title for two straight years,” McClintock said. “They are coming full force.” Captains Stillman and Provost will provide the leadership and, along with the rest of the senior class, the motivation get back to the championship. Newcomer Bolger should help replace some of the offense Rice lost to graduation.
• Next game: Monday at Middlebury
• Coach: Anjie Soucy (13th season)
• Last season: 7-6-3; lost in the Division I semifinals
• This season: 1-1
• Key returnees: XiXi Halvorson-Phelan, senior, midfield; Casey Johnson, junior, midfield; Conner Shea, senior, forward; Emma Sheffield, junior, forward; Maddi Grabowski, sophomore, defense; Melissa Valgoi, sophomore, defense.
• Key newcomers: Joan Vera, freshman, forward.
• Outlook: Soucy is in a unfamiliar position at South Burlington. The coach finds herself with 12 underclassmen and is looking to recharge the Rebels’ program. “We have a lot of young kids, but they are improving every day,” Soucy said. “With this kind of progress I am excited to see what kind of impact they can make in the playoffs. Speed will be the strength of the Rebels’ squad and the coach sees the team improving each game as the younger players get much needed game experience. “I feel like we are going to get better as the season goes on,” Soucy said.
• Next game: Tuesday at Essex