Preseason Top 10:
1- Shore Regional
2- Rumson-Fair Haven
3- Southern Regional
4- Point Pleasant Boro
5- Middletown South
6- Wall Township
7- Henry Hudson
8- Ocean Township
9- Jackson Liberty
Another year and more of the same for the projected field of Shore Conference field hockey powers Rumson-Fair Haven and Shore Regional. However, the two will have tough competition come at them from Southern Regional and Point Pleasant Boro.
For the fifth time in a row, Rumson-Fair Haven is the reigning Shore Conference Tournament champions and primed for a sixth title run. The Bulldogs lost production of 72 goals from a year ago and will rely on Meadow Maguire and Sarah MacGillis to continue their offensive production. Defensively, the Bulldogs will be sound once again and led by goaltender Cecilia Newman. RFH will look to add to their Shore Conference Tournament titles as well as finish the deal this season in South Jersey Group 2, where last year they lost to West Essex in the semifinal.
Shore Regional, no stranger to postseason success, was the lone Shore Conference team to capture their Group State title last season with a 2-1 win over Haddonfield in the Group 1 final. The Blue Devils will have very little let down coming into this season having lost only six seniors from last year. They return leading goal scorer Lily Santi, along with Taylor Cannon, Ryan Malfa, Isabella Sapanaro, Libby Doehner and Tiernan McLaughlin. These six players return offensive production of 98 goals. Rachel Dwyer returns between the pipes with 39 saves a year ago and 96 for her high school career.
Southern Regional continues to draw the eye of Shore Conference field hockey to the small knit community in Manahawkin. The Rams year in and year out continue to put up winning seasons and this year looks to be no different. Southern brings back their two big scorers from last year in Maitland Demand and Erika Barbera, a duo that combined for 46 gols and 20 assists. Lauren Baker returns for another season between the pipes for the Rams. Look for the Rams to jump on their opponents early and gear up for another run at the Shore Conference and South Jersey Group 4 titles.
Along with Southern Regional, look for Point Pleasant Boro to push the top two teams this season and compete for the reign at the Shore. The Panthers lost several players to graduation but will look to continue their winning formula that saw them go 21-2 last season. They will look to ride the hot offensive production from the trio of Jordan Carr, Heather Kimak and Cassie Campbell, who combined for 67 goals and 35 assists.
Field Hockey Previews and Predictions:
A North looks to be wide open this year with Middletown South looking to continue its dominance from a year ago. Last season the Eagles went 12-0 and return a potent trio on offense in Lia Simoniello, Gianna Racioppi and Kelsey O’Keefe. Looking to dethrone the Eagles will be Freehold Township, which returns Emma Butrym, Avery Drechsler, Chloe Rattiner and Paulina Caramanno. The Patriots battled the Eagles in two tightly contested games last season but dropped both affairs. It will be the depth of Freehold Township that got plenty of experience last season that could get them on top this season. Also looking to get back to championship form will be Colts Neck which finished at 7-4-1 in division last season. It will be the veteran Stephanie LoNano in net for the Cougars who will look to go out on top her senior season. Offensively, Colts Neck will rely on Isabella Ferrandino, Bella Rivero and Jessica Thesing. Prediction… Middletown South
A Central will most certainly be the toughest division all season long as it boasts the top two teams at the Shore and state – Shore Regional and Rumson-Fair Haven. But also look for Manasquan and Red Bank Catholic to take a step forward this year. Manasquan ran out one of the youngest rosters in the division last year and the experience should pay off for the Warriors. Red Bank Catholic lost a number of players to graduation but this is a program that is consistently in the mix. They return their triple threat on offense of Shannon Tringola, Gabrie Goehring and Julianne Kopec who combined for 39 goals last season. Prediction… Shore Regional
A South looks to be Southern Regional’s division to lose. No disrespect to the other talent in the division, but the Rams return the bulk of their offense, defense and goalkeeper Lauren Bakker. Jackson Memorial was the lone team to knock off Southern last season and finished 11-2-1 in division. The Jags return several key players to their offense in Claudia DiStaso, Abigail Reist and Sara Floyd. They also return keeper Mildred Trembley who finished with 74 saves last season and has 227 for her career. Prediction… Southern Regional
B North saw Wall Township run away with the division last year, but the Knights did lose a lot to graduation. Wall did however have a lot of underclassman earn valuable playing time and return their number two scorer in Lynne Walenjus. Also returning is four-year starter Mia Kepler in goal. Ocean Township could be the surprise team from last year that takes another step forward this year and brings the Spartans back to championship form. The Spartans will rely on the offensive production of Taylor Cerafice, Julia Morales, Allison Stuppi and Olivia Wnorowski, along with the stellar play of junior keeper Alexandra Ankiweicz. Prediction… Wall Township
B Central was a two-team race last season with Henry Hudson taking the division at 10-0 and St. Rose second at 8-2. Nothing seems to have changed this season with both returning a number of key contributors from a year ago. Henry Hudson amazingly returns their entire roster from last year including Cece Crowther, Holly Diovisalvi, Charlotte Bigotto and Alyssa Curry on offense and third-year starting goalie Genevive Keelan, who has 112 saves in her career. St. Rose returns Haile Pannkuk, Olivia Peters and Olivia Mastrocola to lead their offense that went from 104 goals in 2017 to 169 in 2018. Prediction… Henry Hudson
B South saw Point Pleasant Boro run away with the division last season, but it should be a tighter race this season with Pinelands and Jackson Liberty right behind them. The Wildcats return a large portion of the offense from a year ago that includes Adrian Diekman and Jamilyn Hawkins. Pinelands is a year removed from division champs and looks to have enough talent and veterans to compete for another title. Jackson Liberty played constant ball last season but lost a number of starters to graduation. The Lions will look to rebuild and reload and rely on leading scorer Natalie Wood and Samantha Granza to lead the way. Prediction… Point Pleasant Boro