2019 H.S. field hockey preview capsules
Coach: Kristy Behbehani (5th season)
Key returnees: Sr. A Kristen Healy, Sr. D Abby Mountain, Sr. D Natale Taylor, Sr. G Lydia Swan, Jr. M Lindy Erikson, Jr. M Caroline Real, So. A Sarah Healy.
Outlook: The Vikings went 14-5-1 a year ago, sharing the ECC tournament title with Stonington and advancing to the Class M quarterfinals. They did take some graduation hits, but return an experienced senior class anchored by Swan, an ECC all-star, in goal. "With new additions to the team, we have a lot of potential," Behbehani said. "I believe the success we achieved last year will carry over into this season."
Coach: Diane Kolnaski (9th season)
Key returnees: Sr. F Ella Bergandahl, Sr. G Hailie Kesterson, Sr. M Maggie O'Leary, Sr. D Allyssa McIlquham, Sr. D Paige Pollard.
Outlook: The Falcons went on a late six-game winning streak to finish 8-8 in 2018, and hope to ride that momentum into 2019, where they return eight starters. McIlquham was an ECC all-star a year ago and anchors an experienced defense that also returns Pollard and Kesterson, and depth could turn into a strength with 30 players in the program. Kolnaski expects a promising group of newcomers to help keep the Falcons competitive in the conference.
Coach: Jenna Tucchio (17th season)
Key returnees: Sr. D Sarah Flakus, Jr. M Teagan O'Brien, Sr. M Kaira Wiltshire, Jr. M Ellie Korinek.
Top newcomers: Sr. G Claire Evans, So. D Sophia Fernholz, Fr. D Anne Drago, So. M Eileen Ackley, So. M Sandy McGugan, So. F Dillon Griscom, So. F Olivia Monte.
Outlook: The Bears are young, but don't let that fool you. Despite key graduation losses, including The Day's All-Area Player of the Year (Miranda Arruda), Stonington has the ability to win its 10th straight ECC title in 2019 after going 17-2-2 a year ago and reaching the Class semifinals, where they dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to eventual champion Immaculate. "Despite our younger lineup," Tucchio said, "we have a strong core of players ready to defend our ECC championship and look for a long and successful run in the state tournament."
Coach: Molly Quiles (1st season)
Key returnees: Sr. M Kasey Kirchoff, Sr. G Nini Yangga, Sr. F Jess San Juan, Sr. C Molly Quiles, Jr. F Hannah Buczkowski.
Top newcomer: So. M Sophia Hathaway.
Outlook: Quiles, a five-year assistant, takes over as head coach, and must replace a strong senior class that include a pair of players (Cassidy Susi and Alyson Sanford) that made The Day's All-Area team. Despite those losses, Quiles believes the Lancers can return to the Class S state tournament after going 9-9 a year ago.
Stories that may interest you
Old Lyme, which has one four straight Class S girls' soccer championships, opened its 2019 season with a 1-0 victory over neighboring rival East Lyme on Saturday night.
Legendary New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli was complimentary of New London after the No. 3 Rams pulled away late for a 32-6 victory over the Whalers in the season opener for both on Saturday at Cannamela Field.
Stonington and Fitch advance to the championship of the Third annual Josh Piver Cup boys' soccer tournament with first round wins on Saturday.
Austin Richards threw three touchdowns passes to Andrew Cote and scrambled for a game-winning 29-yard touchdown with 2:38 left to help NFA rally from an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit and a 37-27 win over Xavier.