Field Hockey: 2015 Five Things to Watch

Written by Brad Everett on .

Here are five things to keep an eye on during the 2015 field hockey season.

*North Allegheny was absolutely dominant last season. Can the Tigers do it again and win their third WPIAL Class AAA title in a row? Statistically, the Tigers had one of the best seasons of any team in WPIAL history a season ago. The Tigers not only won all 17 of their games against WPIAL foes, but they outscored those opponents, 110-1. Only Pine-Richland scored against the Tigers, but the Rams were still defeated, 4-1. Those teams met again in the WPIAL championship, with the Tigers grabbing a 4-0 victory.

*Ellis School is looking to repeat as WPIAL Class AA champs. The Tigers claimed their fifth title last season courtesy of a 1-0 win against Shady Side Academy. The Tigers had last won a championship in 2010. The prospects of a successful title defense are promising considering the Tigers return all but three players. However, all three of those graduating players were all-WPIAL performers.

*Can the WPIAL produce a PIAA champion? It hasn't happened since ... well, it has never happened. As hard as it might be to believe, WPIAL teams have been shutout when it comes to winning PIAA titles. In fact, no WPIAL team has ever made it to the semifinals. Last season, both North Allegheny and Ellis School lost in the first round.

*Five players from last season's WPIAL Class AAA All-Star team are back. Fox Chapel and Peters Township have two apiece. Fox Chapel brings back junior midfielder Megan McCrady and sophomore midfielder Abby Pitcairn, while Peters Township returns junior forward/midfielder Kelly Bergman and junior forward Samara Schwartz. The other Class AAA All-Star back is Upper St. Clair senior midfielder Mary Cugini.

*In Class AA, seven members of last season's WPIAL All-Star team return. Three of them are from Shady Side Academy -- senior forward Sarah Anania, and senior midfielders Maggie Aiken and Corby Wolfe. The other returning all-stars are Winchester Thurston senior forward Fay Belloch, Sewickley Academy senior forward Maddy Casale, Aquinas Academy senior forward Jillian Kaercher and Ellis School senior defender Sophia Ogot.