The Academy of the Holy Cross field hockey team were within striking distance of yet another Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship, when a sudden-death overtime goal from Olney’s Our Lady of Good Counsel ended its five-year reign.
That season-ending goal left senior Courtney Hogan and her teammates at the Kensington school, with a feeling they don’t want to experience again.
“I think we were all kind of frozen. It took a few minutes to set in that it was over. Especially having 11 seniors on the team it was different to end the season like that,” Hogan said.
With just six returning seniors, climbing back to the top of the WCAC could be a challenge. But the Tartans have done their part this summer to prepare for the upcoming season, staying in game shape with on- and off-field workouts. Part of their offseason routine included CrossFit classes, held at the same gymnasium where their new coach, Hannah Closson, is a certified Level 1 trainer.
On average about 15 girls showed up for the weekly strength and conditioning classes, which are geared toward field hockey and involve strength-building of the core, lower body and hamstrings.
“They’re pretty intense,” Hogan said.
Closson who replaced Lindsey Weller after one season, hasn’t had many chances to work directly with the team — tryouts only began Friday — but said that seeing them during their CrossFit clinics has helped her familiarize herself with the girls.
“The girls have been putting in a lot of hard offseason work this summer,” Closson said. “We’re really looking forward to getting our season started and making our way back to the championship.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase hung around with Maryland’s best teams last season, but when it needed scoring, it could rarely get it. Despite the lack of offense, the Barons went 9-7 season and reached the Class 4A West Region final, where it was defeated 1-0 by 4A state finalist Thomas S. Wootton (Rockville). That playoff loss was their fifth 1-0 defeat and seventh time they were blanked. B-CC coach Morgan Kauffman said the team will need more consistency from its offense this fall.
“We’ll just need to start clicking to put it together. But the talent is there,” Kauffman said.
“Different teams and different players are going to emerge,” Blandamer said. “... Hopefully we’re going to be able to adjust to what our opponents throw at us and just bring our best game every week.”
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 last season and losing to St. Stephens/St. Agnes (Va.).
Holton-Arms School (Bethesda) and Bullis (Potomac) reached 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.”
Wootton went 17-1 last season, reaching the 4A state championship for the first time in more than three decades. Though there will be some new faces — about half of its starting lineup graduated — coach Kearney Blandamer said the Patriots have a talented returning core that includes senior Julia Lee (All-Gazette honorable mention), junior Rachel Maizel (second team) and junior Lacey Rubin.