This weekend, 59 teams will be converging on The Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, Pa. for the third National High School Invitational.
Over the course of the weekend, a record number of games will be contested — 68 in total.
In the past, we’ve done capsule previews of each and every game. But this year, we’re going to whittle it down to one particular key game in each of the 12 match windows. It’s not that the other 56 games aren’t going to be good. I’m sure there will be some gripping contests all over the Grounds, but these are the dozen games that I think will be the most interesting.
3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23: Winnetka New Trier (Ill.) vs. San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.): The thing about this game is that both teams are coming in with one tough loss. New Trier lost 3-2 to Frontenac Villa Duchesne (Mo.) at the Gateway Invitational; Torrey Pines lost 3-2 on Sept. 7th against San Diego Canyon Hills (Calif.). These are two of the better teams from out west, and this game deserves your attention
5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23: Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) vs. Houston St. John’s (Tex.): Oak Knoll, the New Jersey Non-Public champion, already has a loss on its schedule this year. The Royals are playing a St. John’s team which has not given up a goal in six games this year while scoring 40
7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23: Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) vs. Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Area: After 23 years in the stratosphere, winning 22 straight state titles on offer and setting a lot of National Federation records, you can’t blame the current Eastern team if it doesn’t play that exact same level of intense and skilled hockey it has exhibited in the past. This matchup against a Mechanicsburg team from one of the nation’s best field hockey conferences give as good an indication as any as to the Vikings’ competitive level
9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 24: Louisville Assumption (Ky.) vs. Upper Gwynedd Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.): Gwynedd-Mercy finished second in last year’s PIAA Class A final, but has ramped up its level this year, Assumption is the current holder of the Apple Tournament championship
11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 24: Severn Archbishop Spalding (Md.) vs. Sacred Heart Greenwich (Conn.): Spalding, after its title-winning IAAM “A” season, is 6-1 this season. Sacred Heart Greenwich is 3-1 after an opening loss to The Hill School
1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24: Houston Kinkaid (Tex.) vs. Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.): You’re going to see some of the players on this field at the top levels of Division I next year. Hope Haynes (UNC), Ella Barbacci (UNC) and Emma Watchilla (UVa) are amongst the committed players in this game
3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24: Pottstown Hill School (Pa.) vs. Norfolk (Va.) Academy: Both of these schools have had some impressive results thus far. Hill has wins over Sacred Heart Greenwich and Episcopal Academy, while Norfolk Academy beat public-school rivals Cox and First Colonial back-to-back a couple of weeks ago
5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24: Ashburn Independence (Va.) vs. Charlotte Myers Park (N.C.): Independence is one of the schools in Loudoun County, Va. who started play in 2016. They have a sophomore of tremendous promise named Sammie Goin. Myers Park is already benefitting from having the U.S. women’s national team practicing in its backyard. The Mustangs play their home games at Bessant Field
7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24: Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) vs. Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.): This is one of the best games of the weekend between two championship programs. Oak Knoll has won four straight NJSIAA Non-Public titles and Sem has won four straight PIAA Class A championships
9 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 25: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (N.Y.) vs. Ann Arbor Skyline (Mich.): Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake comes into this week with a 5-0 record, having beaten the likes of Shenendehowa and Guilderland this season. Skyline, winners of the Michigan High School Field Hockey League Division I championship last year, is 8-0 this season
11 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 25: Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J..) vs. Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.): Camden Catholic has a senior named Olivia Bent-Cole, who is in the pool of players for the U.S. women’s national team. The Irish are one of the best teams in South Jersey, and they will be going against an Episcopal Academy side which won last year’s PAISAA title, but have found the going tough this season
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 25: East Greenwich (R.I.) vs. Summit Kent Place (N.J.): East Greenwich has a skilled, stylish player named Alexandra Mega, who has scored a number of game-winning goals for her side as the team has won three straight RIIL state titles. Kent Place was 18-4 last season — three of its defeats to Oak Knoll. They are a good side and will give East Greenwich a stern test