Field Hockey

Preview: Challenges For Staples And Darien In Different Pods

Darien’s Lindsey Olson tries to get by New Canaan’s Rachel Gilio during an FCIAC playoff game last November. (Mark Conrad)

While the talent level in some FCIAC sports has diminished over the years, field hockey is one that is being driven up by an influx of great athletes. Every team seems to have at least one or two dominant players and some top underclassmen.

Unfortunately the regional season brought on by the pandemic means the great Staples-Darien rivalry may get put on hold for a year, which is a shame. It is one of the best in the conference — in any sport.

Fortunately, with a deep league each team will be tested in difficult pods. The Wreckers will have to contend with Ridgefield, Norwalk and Wilton, while the Blue Wave will be seeing a lot of New Canaan and Greenwich.

I Coulda Been A Contender

Darien: The Blue Wave don’t rebuild, it just reloads, and this fall is no different. Raina Johns, Lindsey Olson and Brinsley Rushe return, while more team speed will be provided by transfer Kaci Benoit. Darien will be strong defensively.

New Canaan: The Rams open tomorrow with the first of three games against Darien. Molly Mitchell had 14 goals and 10 assists last season, while Anna Lindeis is a strong finisher. Polly Parsons-Hills is another dangerous starter.

Norwalk: Tessa Albrecht has been a scoring machine her first three seasons, finishing with 36 goals a year ago. Lia L’Archevesque has been one of the league’s most underrated players as a three-year starter. Brie Muro is another one of six starters back.

Ridgefield. Beware the Tigers. They are a rising program ready to compete long term with the elite programs. Northwestern-bound Aerin Krys finished with 21 goals and 9 assists last season. Julia Carrozza and Izzy Redrup (16 goals) provide veteran leadership, with Lisa van Gompel an elite goaltender.

Staples. The Wreckers have to put their run for a fifth straight state title on hold. It would have been very attainable because the team is again loaded, with three college commits — Laine Ambrose, Izzy Devaney and Maya Reiner — leading the way. Expect a breakout season from Jess Leon as talent is spread around the field. 

Sleeper: It might be unfair to call Wilton a sleeper. There is so much young talent on the roster. Goaltender Michelle Prario is back, while Lizzie Kendra, Sammy Slough and Charlotte Casiraghi are all sophomores. And there is a deep freshmen class.

Pods

West: Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Stamford, Westhill. Predicted Winner: Darien.

Central: Danbury, Brien McMahon, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Staples, Wilton. Predicted Winner: Staples.

East: Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Warde, St. Joseph, Trumbull. Predicted Winner: Fairfield Warde.

Staples’ Julia DiConza races after a ball during a state semifinal win last year.

25 Players To Watch

  • Tessa Albrecht, Norwalk
  • Laine Ambrose, Staples
  • Julia Carrozza, Ridgefield
  • Charlotte Casiraghi, Wilton
  • Izzy Deveney, Staples
  • Elizabeth Falterer, Fairfield Warde
  • Sidney Falterer, Fairfield Warde
  • Charlotte Gans, Greenwich
  • Kaili Jacobsen, Fairfield Ludlowe
  • Raina Johns, Darien
  • Aerin Krys, Ridgefield
  • Lia L’Archevesque, Norwalk
  • Jess Leon, Staples
  • Anna Lindeis, New Canaan
  • Meg McCarthy, Trumbull
  • Molly Mitchell, New Canaan
  • Lindsey Olson, Darien
  • Polly Parsons-Hills, New Canaan
  • Jorja Pastore, Greenwich
  • Michelle Prario, Wilton
  • Izzy Redrup, Ridgefield
  • Maya Reiner, Staples
  • Brinsley Rushe, Darien
  • Sammy Slough, Wilton
  • Gigi Socci, Trumbull

Lineups

Danbury: G Stephanie Coelho, Savanna Dorsch, Grace Dyckman, Harley Hodge, Marissa Hope, Yari Martinez, Brennda Melo, Reggie Silva, Julia Wiblishauser, Ava Williams, Kira Hope, Shayenne Tomasik, Sofia Whelchel.

Darien: Lindsey Olson, Brinsley Rushe, Molly McGuckin, Evelyn Hidy, Raina Johns, Ryan Hapgood, Kaci Benoit.

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Fairfield Ludlowe: Lucy Sweeney, Grace Redgate, Sofia LaFalce, Meg Mazzeo, Sarah Booth, Izzy Mastino.

Fairfield Warde: G Sidney Falterer, Elizabeth Falterer, Maddy Goodman, Alexandra DiPierro, Caroline Pratt, Chloe Kronzer, Kerry McKeon, Erin McKee, Anka Dixon, Sarah Green, Bella Baptista, Caroline Buck, Lilly Guerrera, Amanda Massey, Catherine Melody, Amelia Melody, Katie Freidman.

Greenwich: Martina Arlia, Guada Balaguer, Isa Biagini, Maggie Bulis, Zita Cohen, Agustina Ferrario, Charlotte Gans, Nima Gupte, Kayla Johnson, Isa Lattuada, Justine Liguori, Klara Mueffelmann, Katie Nedder, Kathryn O’Donnell, Johnna Pastore, Jorja Pastore, Kyra Pires, Matea Sucic, Ellie Ybarra, Megan Young.

New Canaan: Polly Parsons-Hills, M Anna Lindeis, F Molly Mitchell, G Megan Lydon, Shawna Ferraro, D Rachel Gilio, D Keira Cooney, F Carolyn Baran, F Marlee Smith, M Shawna Ferraro, M Sophie Havens, M Zoey Bennett, D Caroline Brooks.

Norwalk: F Tessa Albrecht, F Lia L’Archevesque, M Brie Muro, Sara Spielman, Gemma Warde, G Sophia Taiyanides, F Grace L’Archevesque, Lizzie Arduino.

Ridgefield: Aerin Krys, Julia Carrozza, Riley Peters, G Lisa van Gompel, Olivia DeStefano, Lily Daubenspeck, Tishy Cacciapaglia, Maddie Wilson, F Isabel Redrup.

St. Joseph: Caroline Berardo, Evelyn Dooley, Teaghan Doyle, Alyssa Moher, Erin Parchinski, Lauren Pleszko, Kaitlyn Feliciano, Alyssa Moher, Seina Harper, Katherine Fitzgerald, Sara Sabin, Stephanie Rios, Katelyn Staron, Grace DeDonato, Emma Fahey, Katherine Gervolino, Kerrigan Gourley, Sofia Chaves.

Staples: Ella Williams, Izzy Deveney, Olivia Bernard, Emma Nahon, Sabrina Didner, Emma Ashe, Abby Ragland, Jess Leon, Laine Ambrose, Maya Reiner, Julia DiConza, Ava Ekholdt, Francine Stevens.

Trumbull: Meg McCarthy, Gigi Socci, Lauren Buck, Ella Consla, Joelle Nutter, Alannah Fleming, Meg Smith, Maura Carbone, Alex Baratta, Kayla Barbagallo, Ava Consla, Erin Foley, Devon Watson, Caroline Pagliaro 

Wilton: Lizzie Kendra, Sammy Slough, Charlotte Casiraghi, Michelle Prario, Nina Sylvester, Meghan Hanny, Caroline Luciano.

(Teams missing did not reply to repeated requests for information)

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