With the private school season well underway, Virginia High School League teams began their highly anticipated return to play this past week. What might we expect as this season unfolds?
Players to watch
Kate Miller, Atlee: The 2019 All-Metro player of the year, Miller is Atlee’s all-time leading goal scorer with 204 to begin her senior season. Miller hopes to lead the Raiders to their first state crown after two straight runner-up finishes before she heads to Virginia.
Kerry Nease, Douglas Freeman: Nease shared Class 5, Region B player-of-the-year honors with Miller in 2019, scoring 101 goals for the Mavericks. She is a linchpin for Freeman’s hopes to supplant Atlee and advance to state tournament play.
Ellie Horner, St. Catherine’s: The senior, a first-team All-Metro honoree in 2019, mans the goal for the Saints, the third-ranked team in VISAA Division I. She shares the field with talented twin sister Claire, who plays midfield and will play for Cornell University next year.
Molly O’Keefe, Cosby: A second-team Class 6 all-state honoree in 2019, O’Keefe scored 71 goals for the Titans, who reached the state quarterfinals. The Penn State signee will be key for Cosby to return to state competition.
Hanna Pawela, Deep Run: After a breakout sophomore season in 2019, the first-team All-Metro honoree enters the season with 68 goals for the Wildcats, who also look to end Atlee’s reign in Class 5, Region B.
Hallie Brost, Collegiate: Leading the attack for the Cougars, Brost had 41 goals, 46 draw controls and 45 ground balls in the 2019 season.
Landin Bostian, Mills Godwin: The senior midfielder was a key contributor in the Eagles’ best season in school history two seasons ago. In a 14-4 campaign, Bostian contributed 51 goals, 10 assists and collected 40 ground balls.
Ashley Karn, Atlee: The senior is the perfect complement to Miller, garnering first-team All-Metro honors in 2019 with 47 goals and 42 assists. Karn will play her college lacrosse at VCU.
Teams to watch
St. Catherine’s: Working their way through a powerful regular-season schedule, the Saints turn to senior attacker Alexa Macaulay and midfielder Forster Worrell, along with the Horner twins. Claire Norfleet anchors the defense. Watch for freshman Porter Rhoades as she joins the Saints’ attack.
Collegiate: Christina Dobson moves from Atlee to serve as coach for the Cougars, ranked fourth in VISAA Division I. Having split two close matches with St. Catherine’s, Collegiate relies on defense, led by Haley Jenkins, and the unselfishness of their offensive game, with Brost and fellow senior Tate Crawford among several happy to assist rather than score.
Cosby: Coach John Henneberry moves sophomore Rachel Marlin from defense to goalkeeper, looking to develop the Titans’ back end thanks to deep offensive experience. O’Keefe battles alongside fellow seniors Taly Baumhover (23 goals in 2019) and Chloe Jackson (seven goals), and sophomore Elli Baumhover...Olivia Stass, a second-team All-Metro member two years ago, will lead James River, while eight seniors anchor a Thomas Dale team that includes Allison Miller and Eternity Harris.
Atlee: Miller and Karn are joined by four key juniors: goalkeeper Julia Baitinger, midfielder Maddie Tomaszewski, attacker Julia Freeman and defender Kiley Katz. New coach Bonnie O’Hara, who saw her Raiders defeat Hanover 20-6 Thursday in their opener, looks to lead Atlee to their third consecutive Class 5 state final and first state title.
Douglas Freeman: The Mavericks’ coaching staff refers to their roster as being “at almost full capacity.” Neese is joined by senior defenders Meredith Paul and Margaux Schimick, both second-team All-Metro honorees in 2019. They are high on sophomore midfielders Grace Moore and Bridget Wilson.
Deep Run: Nine starters return for coaches Morgan Nash and Lauren Coleman, including Pawela, Elena Sorkin (27 goals in 2019) and Regan Provenzo (24 goals). Junior Meg LaBorne returns in goal with a 57 save percentage. The Wildcats will lean on their athleticism while underclassmen gain experience.
Mills Godwin: Seven seniors will guide the Eagles, including Bostian and Mary-Jo Krongaard, who had 19 goals and 24 ground balls two seasons ago. Amber Stallings registered 138 saves for the Eagles. Sophomore Addi Schmidt and junior Caty Benton look to add offensive depth.
Glen Allen: It will be a youth movement for the Jaguars led by draw specialist and defender Madison Colestock and two freshmen: goalkeeper Evelyn Tull Springer and midfielder Grey Caplinger.
Midlothian: Riley Martin, a second-team all-region member as a sophomore defender, is one of four seniors for the Trojans, joined by Maddie Burke, Lily Debruycker and Shelby Harris. Half of the varsity roster are either freshmen or sophomores.
Hanover: The Hawks enjoy an experienced returning offense, including Lauren Kasper (38 goals in 2019), Teagan Quinn (31 goals) and Madison Pfister (17 goals, 73 draw controls). Senior Abi Long anchors the Hanover defense, and senior Elise Melia finally gets her chance between the pipes after two junior varsity campaigns. Coach Matt Ellinghaus is high on freshman midfielder Kenson Epperly.
Powhatan: Coming off a 9-7 season in 2019, the Indians begin play in the Dominion District led by attacker Jordan Krauss, who has committed to Christopher Newport. Lone senior Chloe DeGroat brings experience to the defense, as the Indians go with two goalkeepers in sophomore Jessie Fens and freshman Casey Grell.
Monacan: The Chiefs will need new blood on offense, with leading returning scorers Moriah Glidden and Natalie Seaton having tallied 16 goals combined in 2019. Senior Bailey Goldman and junior Britney Persinger anchor a defense that can call on either Anna Gorman or Megan Elliott in goal.
Patrick Henry: The Patriots are very young, relying on seniors Florly Brockwell, Anna-Laura Houston and Molly Strange-Boston for guidance early on. Juniors Paige Matthews and Caroline Bassett look to make their mark for coach Anna Mason, who also has two goalkeepers in Maisy Callahan and Maggie Sharpe.
Mechanicsville: Second-team All-Metro attacker Lilly Lutton and fellow senior Chloe Ulm provide important leadership and experience for the Mustangs.
Goochland: The Bulldogs make their debut in 2021 and will look to overcome the abbreviated training camp schedule to build a foundation for years to come. Juniors Ella Walton, Julia Phillips and Blair Bussells lead the attack, and sophomores Rayanna Tibbs and Ella Arnold help anchor a defense aiding senior Caitlin McDermott, playing her first season of varsity lacrosse in goal.
Note: With the quick turnaround between seasons and the high number of spring sports, the Times-Dispatch is not doing capsules for every school. These highlights are based mostly on forms returned by schools to the RTD.