by Tom Utescher

Germantown Friends field hockey tri-captains (from left) Cary Anne Kane, Maddie Andrews, Allison O’Connor. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Germantown Friends School graduated seven members of its 2011 field hockey team, and most of them were three-year varsity players. The success of the 2012 campaign will depend largely on how well the Tigers can blend the newer varsity players in with their returning veterans.

In Friends Schools League competition, every challenger for the title will be trying to get past defending champ Shipley School, which has won the league six of the last seven years. The Tigers, who last claimed the FSL crown in 2003, reached the league semifinals in 2011 and fell to Shipley, which went on to thump Moorestown Friends, 4-0, in the title bout. GFS finished with an overall record of 10-7.

The defensive unit should be the first to gel for Germantown, owing to the number of experienced athletes at that end of the pitch. The team tri-captains are senior backs Cary Anne Kane and Allison O’Connor, and junior Maddie Andrews, the returning starter in goal. The other three seniors on the varsity roster, Lindsay Freed, Lydia Wood, and Rebecca Blaich, are also defenders, as is new varsity addition Emma Newman, a junior.

The rest of the 11th grade contingent play farther up the field. Back from last season are forwards Isabel Ballester and Alex MacBeth and midfielders Katharine Cusick and Dana Schulman. Two other juniors will be joining in this fall; forward Sydney Weigert and mid Veena Advani.

Sophomore defender Sarah Kane was the only freshman last year to become a member of the regular varsity roster. Fellow 10th-grader Ellie Chalphin could add depth to the forward line, but at present she’s still recuperating from a pre-season ankle injury.

Coming up from the middle school program, defender Abigail Gard is a freshman who has caught the attention of the coaches.

Back at the helm for GFS is Maribeth Wicoff, who is entering her fourth season with the Tigers. Longtime assistant Dana Griffin will be joined by a new member of the staff, Phoebe Jones, who is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.