Field hockey is no longer just a fall sport at Thomas S. Wootton High School. After a 16-1 season and a trip to the Class 4A state championship game last fall — the Rockville school’s first in three-plus decades — the Patriots have turned it into a year-round activity.
This offseason’s itinerary included Montgomery County Summer League games, routine scrimmages with Gaithersburg’s Quince Orchard, three tournaments, a team camp at American University and weekly workouts with the trainer.
“We’ve stepped it up a lot. We’re really excited and I think our excitement is making us do all this,” senior Julia Lee said. “... Since there are so many options, a girl could always make it to one of them.”
Wootton didn’t lose a game last season until its meeting with Severna Park in the state championship after going 13-1-1 in 2012. Seven seniors graduated — including three All-Gazette first team players — but the busy offseason has allowed the returning and incoming players to become comfortable with each other, coach Kearney Blandamer said.
Lee, a forward, is expected to be one of Wootton’s top contributors, teaming up with junior Lacey Rubin to carry the Patriots offense, Blandamer said.
“We have a very good variety of players. Even younger players, some sophomores, a lot of juniors too. Even some freshmen,” Lee said. “… If we really work together and get really fit, we can really just play off each other.”
Look for junior Rachel Maizel — a star runner on Wootton’s track and field team — to help lead the defensive unit.
“I think this is a very capable team,” Blandamer said. “… Different teams and different players are going to emerge ... Hopefully we’re going to be able to adjust to what our opponents throw at us and just bring our best game every week.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase hung around with Maryland’s best teams last season, but when it needed scoring, it could never get it. The Barons went 9-7 season and reached the region final, where it was defeated by eventual state semifinalist Wootton 1-0 — that was their fifth 1-0 loss and seventh shutout loss of the season. B-CC coach Morgan Kauffman said the offense needs more consistency this fall.
“I think that offensively, we’ll just need to start clicking to put it together. But the talent is there,” B-CC coach Morgan Kauffman said.
Olney’s Our Lady of Good Counsel is looking to defend its Washington Catholic Athletic Conference crown after defeating rival Academy of the Holy Cross (Kensington) in the finals.
The Falcons graduated 12 seniors but return several key players, including fourth-year varsity goalie Caroline Campbell.
“We have a solid core,” Theda Bagdon said. “... The girls have a better idea of fitness and where the game is going.”
Look for Bethesda’s Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart to make a run at an Independent School League championship after reaching the reaching the finals and losing to St. Stephens/St. Agnes (Va.) last year. Holton-Arms School (Bethesda) and Bullis (Potomac) appeared in the ISL semifinals.
“Coming off a successful season last year (league record: 10-3-1) and with 10 returning players, Stone Ridge expects a strong performance this fall,” Apitchaya Pimpawathin wrote in an email to The Gazette. “Team chemistry and strong individual talent make Stone Ridge a team to watch in the ISL.”