Haverford’s Jess McCarthy, left, is a two-time All-Delco with an eye on a third and a Central League title.
It isn’t often that a sport returns as much firepower from the previous year in the same way that the 2012 field hockey season does. Seven different girls who were named to the 2011 All-Delco team return from the 12-girl squad, but they’ll be tested by young up-and-comers if they want to hold on to those titles. With that being said, here’s a look at those returners.
Alana Dumas, Episcopal Academy, Sr. * 26
Katie Kelly, Archbishop Carroll, Sr. * 24
Jess McCarthy, Haverford, Sr. ** 18
Emily Faught, Academy of Notre Dame, Sr. * 17
Moira Putsch, Academy of Notre Dame, Jr. ** 17
Grace Boston, Cardinal O’Hara, Jr. * 16
Eleanor Kirby, Garnet Valley, Sr. * 5
* denotes All-Delco selection
Dumas broke the EA school record for goals in a season last year as her 26 tallies nipped the previous mark of 25. I have my doubts that 26 will last very long as the bench mark, as I suspect Dumas has a 30-goal season in her. She might have the best top-end speed in the county. When she hits the open field, she’s almost impossible to chase down. She’ll suffer from the loss of key teammates at the midfield position like All-Delco Leslie MacManus and Weezie Chakejian, and she’ll garner even more defensive attention from defenses, but 30 goals is a realistic number for her to shoot for.
Kelly and her twin sister, Megan, committed to the University of Virginia in the offseason. While Megan barely missed the cut for All-Delco honors a year ago, Katie earned her first nod as she displayed a knack for coming through in the clutch for the Patriots. With two-sport All-Delco Maddy Lesher and her team-leading 26 goals off to Loyola (Md.) to play lacrosse and All-Delco Kerri Hunt and her 14 goals gone, too,, Carroll will need both Kellys to step up their offensive game even more. They should be right in Dumas’ neighborhood of 30 goals each.
Haverford might be looking for a new coach after Dana Ramsden abruptly resigned to take a teaching position in New Jersey, but it would be surprising if whomever the new coach is doesn’t know to get McCarthy the ball early and often. McCarthy might be the best pure talent in the county. She’s got very good speed, tremendous stickhandling skills, a high field hockey IQ and a blistering shot that makes her a threat to score from anyone. The Drexel commit made the U.S. U19 team this summer and she figures to lead a potent Fords team to what it hopes will be a Central League title-worthy year.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Faught‘s goals actually dip a bit this year due to the different circumstances surrounding Notre Dame. With 2011 Player of the Year and goalie Emily Fuss off to Dickinson, the Irish will be breaking in a new goalie. Because of Faught’s exceptional two-way skills, don’t be surprised to see head coach Adele Williams have her play more of a defensive role this year. Faught, who will join the Kelly twins in Charlottesville, should still rack up a ton of assists and will have her scoring chances, too.
If Faught’s goal tally is going to dip a bit, there’s a good chance Putsch will pick up the slack. She tore her ACL on the first day of lacrosse practice as a freshman, and she didn’t return to the Notre Dame lineup until midway through the season. Despite early limitations on her playing time, Putsch still fired in 17 goals, a number she could conceivably double this year if she stays healthy. Putsch, who also made the U.S. U19 team with McCarthy, is considered one of the elite junior prospects in the country. She’ll show why that is with a strong junior season.
Boston might be the poster child for a young, explosive Cardinal O’Hara team with visions of knocking Carroll off its perch atop the Catholic League. The Lions were a year away last season against a bigger, stronger, faster, and more experienced Patriot team, but she and a bevy of her talented classmates have an eye on the league championship this year. Boston was selected the Catholic League MVP a year ago with her 16-goal, 16-assist breakthrough year. Don’t be surprised if she nears 25 goals and 20 assists this year.
Kirby is unlikely to get anywhere near the other six girls’ goal totals, but that’s not her game. Instead, she’ll be asked to do a little bit of everything yet again by head coach Erin Arrowood. Penalty strokes, shutting down the other team’s best player, inserting corners…whatever you need, Kirby’s got it. She still has offensive talent — expect 20 or so points from her — but her game varies dramatically from the high-flying scorers that joined her on this list.
As preseason camps start to get into gear, I’m going to try to get some feedback and perspectives on as many teams as I can around Delco. Let me know if I should be on the lookout for anything in particular.
– MATT CHANDIK