Monday, September 14, 2015

Field hockey: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex rankings

Let's hope the rain will stay away for at least a little while after wrecking havoc with the schedule at the end of last week. In all, eight games involving teams in the Open Mike Top 10 were postponed.

But we've got a dandy on Tuesday night when Nos. 1 and 2 meet in Washington Township, as Warren Hills hosts Voorhees at 7 p.m. The powerhouse programs will renew what's been the indisputable best rivalry in these parts.

It will be the first regular-season matchup in two years after the Skyland Conference realignment moved Voorhees out of the Raritan Division for last season. Warren Hills scored a 5-0 win in the teams' lone meeting in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final -- the most lopsided result in the series since Voorhees' 4-0 win in 1993. In the 34 meetings prior to last season, all were decided by three goals or fewer, sans three ties.

Voorhees (2-0) still holds a commanding 30-20-6 edge in the all-time series dating to 1975, but the momentum has shifted to Warren Hills (2-0), which has won five of the last seven meetings. This will be the first matchup in the rivalry for new Streaks coach Kate Rothman. Under former coach Laurie Kerr, the Warren County school went 10-17-3 against the Vikings the past 15 seasons.

Now onto this week's rankings, the first set of the season:

1. Warren Hills (2-0) -- Blue Streaks are off and running under their new coach. The defending Group 3 champions opened the season with an impressive 5-3 win over Madison on Sept. 4, last year's Group 2 runner-up, and rolled to an 8-2 victory over Pingry on a rainy Saturday. Junior forward Dani Profita had a hat trick against Pingry and leads the Streaks with four goals. Senior forward Katie Thompson scored her second goal and added an assist.

Up next: Voorhees at home on Tuesday; at Montgomery on Wednesday; at Ridge on Friday.

2. Voorhees (2-0) -- Vikings rebounded from a tough 2-0 loss to state powerhouse West Essex on Sept. 5 for a 4-0 win over No. 8 South Hunterdon on Saturday -- improving to 26-18-7 all-time against the Eagles, whose last win was 2-1 in overtime in 2013. Senior forward and American University-bound Kathryn Roncoroni added to her career-record total with three goals in the win, giving her 92 overall. Junior midfielder Hannah Schiavo also found the cage, while junior goalie Annie Weiler made two saves in the shutout.

Up next: at Warren Hills on Tuesday; at Delaware Valley on Wednesday; Mount St. Mary at home on Saturday (annual Save the Cherubs contest).

3. Hunterdon Central (1-0) -- Red Devils opened their season with a 3-2 win over Hillsborough in a Skyland Conference Delaware Division clash on Friday. Junior midfielder Nikki Freeman, senior forward Amanda Whitlock and sophomore midfielder Brittany Bill scored the goals. Senior goalie Mollie Lafferty made five saves.

Up next: Pingry at home on Wednesday; North Hunterdon at home on Saturday.

4. Newton (2-0) -- Braves opened their season with back-to-back 3-0 wins against Johnson (Sept. 4) and Mount Olive (Wednesday). Senior midfielder Hannah Ervey and senior forwards Olivia Weiss and Emily Weiss scored in the win over Johnson, while Olivia Weiss added two more against Mount Olive. Junior midfielder Natalie Rivas, last year's leading scorer, also notched her first goal of the season. Senior goalie Katie O'Brien made four saves for the shutout.

Up next: at Belvidere on Monday; at North Warren on Wednesday; High Point at home on Friday.

5. Hackettstown (2-0) -- Tigers stormed out of the gate with an 8-0 win over Delaware Valley on Sept. 4, followed by a 4-0 win over No. 7 Belvidere on Tuesday. Junior forward Molly Gorczyca scored four goals in the win over the Terriers, while senior midfielder Cayla Andrews added two assists. Against the County Seaters, senior forward Kayli Yeisley had a pair of goals and Andrews scored her first goal to go along with her team-leading third assist.

Up next: Jefferson at home on Wednesday; at Wallkill Valley on Friday.

6. Phillipsburg (1-0) -- Stateliners opened their season with a 6-0 win over Delaware Valley last Tuesday. Senior forward Kylie Marhold scored a goal and added an assist, while senior forward Ellie Zgoda added a hat trick and junior Kendra Gatyas had two assists. Junior Samantha DeRogatis and sophomore Lauren Viscione combined for the shutout with five saves.

Up next: at Watchung Hills on Wednesday; at Hillsborough on Friday.

7. Belvidere (1-1) -- County Seaters evened their record with a 3-0 win over Somerville on Saturday in a Skyland Conference cross-divisonal matchup. Seniors Hannah Koch and Elizabeth Dalrymple scored their first goals of the season, while freshman forward Maddie Call notched her first career goal. Senior goalie Maddie Beaumont stopped one shot for the shutout after recording 23 saves in a 4-0 loss to No. 5 Hackettstown last Tuesday.

Up next: at Newton on Monday; at South Hunterdon on Wednesday; at Franklin on Friday.

8. South Hunterdon (1-1) -- Eagles dropped to .500 with a 4-0 loss to Voorhees on Saturday after opening the season with a 3-0 win over Mount St. Mary in a Skyland Conference Mountain Division matchup. Sophomore forward Julia Kreider scored a pair of goals in the win, while senior forward Ashley Eick and junior midfielder Mae Dienes also found the back of the cage. Junior goalie Giovanna Rubino made six saves.

Up next: at Pennington on Tuesday; Belvidere at home on Wednesday; at Somerville on Friday.

9. Sparta (1-1-1) -- Spartans opened with a 1-0 win over Lenape Valley on Sept. 4 and followed that with a 3-3 tie against No. 10 Wallkill Valley on Tuesday and a 2-1 loss to Montville on Saturday. Junior forward Jackie Hallack scored the game winner against the Patriots, assisted by senior forward Rhett Curran as senior goalie Courtney McKenna made seven saves. Curran scored two goals and added an assist against the Rangers, while Hallack had two assists. Hallack notched her second goal of the season on Saturday.

Up next: at High Point on Tuesday; Randolph at home on Saturday.

10. Wallkill Valley (2-1-1) -- Rangers have outscored their opponents 16-5 thus far, scoring a 7-0 win over Pope John in the season opener before a 3-3 draw against No. 9 Sparta. Sophomore forward Morgan Carr scored three goals and added two assists in a 5-0 win over Vernon on Thursday. Carr had the same line against Pope John and leads Wallkill with eight goals, scoring at least one in each game, after finishing with nine all of last season. She had the lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Blair Academy on Saturday.

Up next: at Mount Olive on Tuesday; Kittatinny at home on Wednesday; Hackettstown at home on Friday.

On the bubble: Lenape Valley (0-2); Kittatinny (1-0); North Warren (2-0)

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