Penn Charter’s senior field hockey captains (from left) Ava Nicolucci, Catherine McInerney and Lily Carpenter. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

A total of six players from Penn Charter’s 2016 field hockey squad have moved on, but a number of talented young players, including freshmen, are helping to fill out the line-up for this fall’s campaign.

Former U.S. Olympic field hockey goalie Steve Wagner is entering his second season as head coach, and one of his assistants, Rachel Dyer, is a Penn Charter person through-and-through. She is a Charter graduate, a longtime coach and employee at the school and the mother of one of the Quakers’ new varsity players, freshman Kaylee Dyer.

The other assistant coach, Julie Park, comes to School House Lane straight from North Carolina, and has also become a member of the PC faculty.

After starting practice on August 21 and scrimmaging the following week, the Quakers opened their season at home last Tuesday, recoding a 5-0 victory over Central High School, the 2016 Philadelphia Public League runner-up.

Charter’s starters for this contest were well distributed among the four upper school classes, starting with senior captains Lily Carpenter, Catherine McInerney and Ava Nicolucci. Nicolucci also likes to propel a ball manually; she’ll be the most experienced member of PC’s pitching staff when softball season starts next spring.

Junior Elisabeth Ross is a national standout in squash, but she has also been starting for the hockey squad since her freshman year. Against Central, her classmates Bianca Bryant and Alexa Lenfest were also on the field for the start of the game. Avery Myers and Julia Steinhouse represented the sophomore class, and there were three freshmen, including Dyer.

One of the players who graduated from last year’s roster was seasoned goalie Janelle Sullivan, and now ninth-grader Zora Johnson has answered the call in the cage, logging her first varsity shut-out in PC’s opener. The other freshman starter was Lilly Avrigian.

The three captains are the only seniors on the roster. In the grades below, the Quakers sticksters will draw some depth from juniors Genevieve Green and Julia Lynch, sophomores Sarah Greenberg, Olivia Harbison (temporarily out with an injury) and Paige McAllister and freshmen Lilliana Gartanutti, Morgan Maloney and Abby Samuel.

With a plethora of penalty corners and a great advantage in time of ball possession, PC could have scored many more goals last Tuesday. Steinhouse got the hosts on the board, and after McInerney scored, Myers found the backboard to make it 3-0 at halftime.

In the middle of the second stanza, Ross drove the ball home from high in the circle. Down low, Lenfest was knocking on the door a number of times, but in the last minute it was McInerney who fixed the final score at 5-0 with her second goal of the afternoon.