Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Field hockey: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex rankings

We're just a day away from the state cutoff and will find out shortly which teams are playing who and where.

Before the pairings are announced on Thursday, we'll take a look at the probable seeds and pairings for all of the North Jersey sections on Wednesday so check back here to see who is in and where they're likely heading.

On to this week's rankings:

1. Warren Hills (14-1) -- Blue Streaks capped a 3-0 week with an 8-0 victory over Pope John in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex quarterfinals -- making it eight wins in a row for the Warren County school. In that win over PJ, senior forward Niki Miller pulled within one assist of Lindsey Schott's record of 46 (2008-11). It was originally reported here that Miller broke the record, but Warren Hills' season stat sheet was incorrect. Miller, a UMass recruit, entered the week with 53 goals and 45 assists for her outstanding four-year career. With 17 assists on the season, she's one shy of Lauren Cuff's school record (18 in 2002). Sophomores Nikki Profita and Sydney Muntone stayed red-hot with four goals and three goals, respectively in the Streaks' three wins last week.

Up next: at No. 2 Hunterdon Central on Tuesday; Peddie at home on Wednesday; No. 3 Voorhees at home on Saturday in the HWS semifinals.

2. Hunterdon Central (9-6) -- Red Devils went 2-1 last week, taking a fine Pingry team to the wire in a 5-4 loss in overtime last Thursday. Coach Jenn Sponzo's team rebounded with a hard-fought 2-1 win over No. 5 Phillipsburg in Saturday's HWS quarterfinals. Kendall Nickel and Sarah Pulkowski scored goals against the Stateliners. Central has a big showdown at home against No. 1 Warren Hills on Tuesday before heading to High Point on Saturday for the HWS semifinals.

Up next: Warren Hills at home on Tuesday; at Watchung Hills on Thursday; at High Point on Saturday in the HWS semifinals.

3. Voorhees (9-3-1) -- Vikings earned a third meeting with No. 1 Warren Hills with Saturday's 3-0 win over No. 8 Wallkill Valley in the HWS quarterfinals. Coach Taylor Webb's team also avenged a 1-0 loss to the Rangers in last year's quarters. Freshman Kathryn Roncoroni had a pair of goals in the win and is becoming a force for the Voorhees offense, which has struggled at times this season. Sara Diacik had a pair of assists in the win. Earlier in the week, Voorhees dropped a 3-0 decision to Warren Hills.

Up next: Montgomery at home on Tuesday; at Hillsborough on Thursday; at No. 1 Warren Hills on Saturday in the HWS semifinals.

4. High Point (12-1-1) -- Wildcats move up a spot after a 3-0 week -- extending their win streak to seven straight with Saturday's 2-1 victory over No. 6 South Hunterdon in the HWS quarterfinals. Senior Darby Smith found the back of the cage twice to help the Sussex school rally from a 1-0 halftime deficit, while raising her tri-county lead in goals to 21. Coach Bev Keur's club also hammered NJAC American Division bottom-feeders Mount Olive (7-1 on Tuesday) and Morris Hills (6-0 on Thursday).

Up next: Sparta at home on Wednesday; at Montville on Friday; Hunterdon Central at home on Saturday.

5. Phillipsburg (9-8) -- Stateliners finished last week with back-to-back losses, 4-1 to Montgomery and 2-1 to No. 2 Hunterdon Central in the HWS quarterfinals. It was their second loss to the Red Devils this season, falling 2-0 in Flemington on Sept. 24. Molly Zgoda scored a goal against Monty, while adding a pair of assists in Monday's 2-0 win over North Hunterdon. Freshman Kylie Marhold scored against Central and North in consecutive games.

Up next: Easton (Pa.) at home on Wednesday.

6. South Hunterdon (10-4-1) -- Eagles went 3-1 last week, closing with a tough 2-1 loss to No. 4 High Point in the HWS quarterfinals. Leading scorer Kaycee Zelkovsky had a heckuva week with 10 goals and five assists in the four games. The defense pitched four straight shutouts until the High Point loss. At 7-1 in the division, South has a chance to at least share the Skyland Conference Valley title.

Up next: Pennington at home on Tuesday; at Franklin on Thursday; Delaware Valley at home on Saturday.

7. Newton (8-5) -- Braves are on the fence for a possible home game in the North 1, Group 2 playoffs. They went 2-0 last week, scoring a 2-1 win over Lenape Valley and a 4-0 victory over North Warren in a pair of NJAC Freedom Division contests. Senior Stephanie Mocerino has picked up the offensive slack since the loss of senior forward Melanie Rudio -- out for the season with a knee injury -- with four goals and two assists in the wins. Junior midfielder Katherine Kellenberger added a goal and two assists.

Up next: at No. 8 Wallkill Valley on Tuesday; at Kittatinny on Thursday.

8. Wallkill Valley (7-5-2) -- Rangers have struggled of late, tying Kittatinny, 0-0, last Monday and falling 3-0 to Voorhees on Saturday in the HWS quarterfinals. In between, coach Irene Chernati's team posted a 2-1 win in overtime against Jefferson in an NJAC Freedom Division battle. Junior forward Casey Pustelniak and senior back Olivia Ganz scored the goals against the Falcons.

Up next: No. 7 Newton at home on Tuesday; North Warren at home on Thursday.

9. Pope John (7-5-2) -- Lions had won six of seven before hitting a roadblock against No. 1 Warren Hills in an 8-0 loss on Saturday in the HWS quarterfinals. Coach Gina DiMaio's team avenged a 3-1 loss to Morris Knolls on Sept. 10 with a 2-1 win on the road last Tuesday. PJ also beat Sparta for the second time this season, 2-0, on Thursday. Senior forward Rachel Spetz is pacing the offense with two goals and two assists in the last four games. Monday's game against No. 4 High Point was washed out.

Up next: at Vernon on Wednesday; at Mount Olive on Friday.

10. Hackettstown (7-6-1) -- Tigers are spinning their wheels a bit with three losses in their last five games. They opened last week with a 2-0 win over Lenape Valley before a 2-1 loss to Jefferson in a pair of NJAC Freedom Division matchups. The Warren County school closed with a 1-1 tie against Boonton in an independent clash. Senior forward Kate Lyng registered a pair of goals last week.

Up next: North Warren at home on Tuesday; at Parsippany on Thursday; at Belvidere on Saturday.

On the bubble: Belvidere (8-4-1).

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