The last time a Cincinnati area girls’ field hockey team played for a state championship was 2010. Ask anyone in the Southwest Ohio Field Hockey League and they’ll tell you that’s long enough.
St. Ursula, Mount Notre Dame and Ursuline have all taken turns carrying the torch to state recently. Since 2008, one of the aforementioned schools have represented the region at state each season.
Last season, Mount Notre Dame made it to the state semifinals, but the Cougars lost 1-0 to Gahanna Columbus.
MND has four returning starters off last season’s 15-3-2 team. The Cougars lost 10 seniors to graduation, but have 11 seniors on this year’s team so expect an experienced squad.
Senior midfielder Ashley Wittman was a captain last season and first-team SWOFHL selection. Senior goalie Ally Benz is returning from an impressive junior season. The stopper had eight shutouts and 45 saves, earning her Goalie of the Year honors in the SWOFHL. Senior forward Moriah Flynn was also first-team All-SWOFHL last year with seven goals and six assists. Seniors Caroline Warning and Sarah Pisciotta will also play important roles this season.
St. Ursula was the last team to play in, and win, the state title. That was in 2010, the Bulldogs beat Thomas Worthington 1-0.
The Bulldogs finished second the league last season, but they have 11 returning starters that will provide consistency and leadership. Heading the charge to state for St. Ursula will be seniors Taylor Swope (Indiana commit), Claudia Vollman, Claire Conarroe and Maeve Conway.
First-year coach Jill Meiring said this group “have a desire to improve their skills every single day.”
Ursuline is two years removed from its last conference title. The Lions have a nice blend of experience and youth that could translate into a successful season. While this year’s roster includes 10 seniors, look for sophomore Jillian Shive to have another strong season. As a freshman, Shive led the league in total points (35).
Seventh-year Ursuline coach Elli Workum said her team has leadership and experience, and it should make for an exciting season.
Indian Hill, Summit Country Day and Talawanda should all field competitive teams this season.
Indian Hill has seven starters returning, a nice blend of youth and experience. The following girls will lead the way for Indian Hill this year: senior Rose Fessler, junior Jane DiGerraro, senior Rebekah Kim and freshman Georgia Kennedy and Shannon McCormick.
Summit Country Day has three returning senior starters to lead seven other returning underclassmen. Summit’s seniors are Lily Kaegi, Anne Klette and Lily Kroncke.
Elizabeth McSwain is a first-year coach at Summit. She and her assistant coach, Christina Cashen, are both former Summit graduates and field hockey players.
The regular season begins Aug. 16 and the state qualifying tournament starts Oct. 13.