PAISAA schools FAN predicts will go deep into the 2023 postseason: Episcopal Academy, The Hill School, Notre Dame de Namur

Last year's PAISAA championship thriller at Villanova was The Hill School's first championship.

The Hill School can finally say they got the happy ending they’d been fighting for – for years – after they flipped the script on the Episcopal Academy in 2022.

Fewer field hockey programs participate in the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association, but they aren’t without having the same sizzle found in the PIAA. In fact, The Hill School often vies for the top post on MAX Field Hockey’s state and national ranking lists.

Female Athlete News looked at the upcoming squads and is taking a shot at which teams we think will come out near the top by the end of the 2023 season. The schools are listed in alphabetical order.

The Episcopal Academy

While the academy dropped its final contest of the season to The Hill School 3-2 in the final minutes of the championship game, the same situation occurred the year prior, but broke their way. The tug-of-war continues this season to see if both can land on the finale stage again to duke it out for the trophy. As finalists, Episcopal finished 16-4-1; ranked No. 7 in Pennsylvania; and, ranked No. 13 nationally. The academy’s roster is packed with talent from seniors all the way down to freshmen. For example, in the Class of 2024 Kiley Gallagher (ranked among the top 100 nationally by MAX Field Hockey, a stats-based website, and committed to Lafayette), Grace Murphy (ranked among the top 100 nationally by MAX Field Hockey), Bella Notaro committed to Bucknell, and Isabel Andrews committed to Dartmouth College. Caroline Powell is committed to Boston College, as well as ranked among the top 100 nationally in the Class of 2025 by MAX Field Hockey. And, Rebecca Block and Eliana DeGennaro were both ranked top 100 to watch in the Class of 2026.

The Hill School

As students at The Hill School converge onto its campus, the 2023 field hockey team can know that they broke their curse. The Hill School struggled to knock down the door to win the championship but has come painfully close to winning throughout the past few years. Opal Sparling, Class of 2026 and ranked top 100 nationally to watch by MAX Field Hockey, slammed the winning goal into the cage last season. The Hill School’s former coach Jennifer Weissbach said Sparling had several Division I coaches seeking information about Sparling at the completion of the game. Sparling, a sophomore, joins other powerhouse athletes like Natane King and Aubrey Turner (both Class of 2025 and ranked top 50 nationally by MAX Field Hockey), as well as Sofia Ferri and Abigail Gerdeman, who were also ranked in the top 100 in the Class of 2026 to watch by MAX Field Hockey. The Hill School finished as the No. 1 team in Pennsylvania and No. 2 nationally with a record of 20-1-0 last season. Also on last season’s resume, they were Mid-Atlantic Prep League Champions.

Academy of Notre Dame de Namur

Don’t overlook Notre Dame de Namur this season. They weren’t ranked nationally by the end of last year’s season, and they finished No. 15 in Pennsylvania, but they were still ranked and that’s for a reason. The Villanova area academy finished as PAISAA semifinalists with a record of 16-5-0. Trying to narrow down standouts is difficult in the crowded field of sleek athletes. Starting in the Class of 2024, there’s Saylor Milone (committed to Michigan, ranked top 10 nationally by MAX Field Hockey), Maeve Seeger (committed to Boston College, ranked top 50 nationally by MAX Field Hockey), Mia McCloskey (committed to College of the Holy Cross), and Reese Czajkowski (committed to Bucknell). In the Class of 2026, there’s Reese Milone, Kiera Sack, and Maura Seeger, who were all named to the Class of 2026 players to watch list.

*This story has been updated to note Amanda Dressel is not an athlete at Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Photo: Chelsea Martin

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