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Technical execution is how athletes contribute to their team’s success.
The right combination of training (but not overtraining), resting, bonding, and building trust are always the building blocks that take teams to championship games.
Even rosters with the most skilled, experienced athletes run into teams that have a better game day than they have. It’s the hard work that every athlete puts into her season that makes it memorable – win or lose.
That said, there were several teams that played aggressively and cohesively in 2022, but ended their season just shy of a championship game or on the path to becoming champions.
Here are the final five out of 10 teams FAN predicts could repeat a similar or better season this fall. The teams are listed in alphabetical order. Part 1 published last week.
Our preseason lists continue next week with Part 1 that highlights Pennsylvania high school field hockey teams we predict could win states and districts in 2023.
The 2023 fall field hockey seniors are going to return to the field with a fire inside. The Lynx were 2022 PIAA Class 1A state semifinalists and District 3 Class 1A finalists. They lost to Wyoming Area in the state tourney, and to Boiling Springs in the District 3 championship game. Packed with talent on its roster, the Lynx have Taylor Vaccaro, Delaware University commit, and Molly Rothenberger, Longwood University commit, providing the team with experience. Mia Woodard, who scores plenty for Oley, is one to watch when given the ball, especially in the circle. Vaccaro was named to MAX Field Hockey’s Class of 2024 top 50 to watch nationally. Whether these players are on the field or helping one of their teammates, expect them to pick up where they left off last year.
Manheim Central powered through a tough 2022 to make it as far as the District 3 quarterfinals and the first round of the PIAA Class 2A tournament. The Barons were the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 2 Champions, and Lancaster-Lebanon League semifinalists. Mikayla Appel, Kiley Hosler, Ella Brubaker, and Libby Urban stand the chance to stir up brilliance again in 2023. The Barons ran into a strong, focused Hershey team in District 3 brackets ending their District postseason. Manheim Central faced a strong Villa Maria squad in the first round of states, which is where they ended their 2022 campaign. All of that experience, if channeled properly, could propel them into championship contention.
The Buffaloes will have a new leader this fall. Newport’s head coach Cheryl Capozzoli, who earned the program’s most wins in 2021, is now the head coach at Central Dauphin. She coached the Buffaloes to play long seasons. The most recent close call to earn a Class 1A state championship was in 2018, when they finished as a finalist and Wyoming Seminary took home the gold. Last season, Newport placed fourth in the District 3 playoffs. And, lost to Boiling Springs in the state quarterfinals round. The Buffaloes fought vigorously to try to unseat the undefeated Bubblers but were unable to equalize the 1-0 score.
Villa Maria Academy
The Hurricanes have made it to the PIAA Class 2A tournament for the past three years, which included making it on the 2020 abbreviated COVID-19 brackets. In both 2022 and 2021, the squad ended its run in the quarterfinals round. MAX Field Hockey, a stats-based website, ranked Villa Maria Academy 9th in Pennsylvania and 22nd nationally. Just to name two standouts – Ella Cellini, Class of 2025 top 150 to watch by MAX Field Hockey, and Caitlin Connell, top 100 to watch in the Class of 2026 – Villa could find itself breaking the state pattern in 2023.
The Warriors’ schedule is not easy street. And, when you look back over their scores from 2022, you have to wonder why they didn’t go further in the postseason. Upon further examination, the answer was clear. They played Wilson in the District 3 quarterfinals. Wilson went on to become finalists in District 3 and the PIAA Class 3A tournaments. Wilson’s defense in 2022 – they didn’t fold. But, looking at a new season, Warwick could bolster a new energy, especially with rising star Karys Craver on the team.