GA field hockey head coach Jackie Connard is flanked by her 2019 team captains, seniors Catherine McFadden (left) and Grace Pacitti (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

For the first time since 2014, Germantown Academy is starting the field hockey season without stick star Sammy Popper. A member of U.S. junior national teams in various age groups for many years, Popper has moved on to Princeton University.

Only one other player graduated from the Patriots’ 2018 Inter-Ac League champion team, though, and as a whole, the Class of 2020 is one of the strongest that GA has had in a while.

The co-captains are Catherine McFadden and Grace Pacitti, and veteran goalkeeper Olivia McMichael is back in the cage. Their other returning seniors are Annabel Brewer, Lily Ernst, Ella Henry, Madison Kurtz and Jordan Roche.

Back with her fellow 12th graders is Maddi Ota, who did not play last fall but was on the varsity hockey team as a freshman and sophomore. She has made a verbal commitment to play lacrosse for the University of Colorado.

Juniors Katie Shapiro and Sophie Towne are now third-year varsity players, and their classmate, Ella Brant, played varsity in 2018.

Now sophomores, Sydney Cameron and Bri O’Hara were already on the top team last season, and two current freshmen who have made the 2019 varsity team are the younger sisters of two veterans, Gracen Brant and Claire McMichael.

Back on the sidelines are head coach Jackie Connard (fifth season) and venerable assistant Brooke Watson, and joining them this fall is 2015 GA graduate Allie Carrigan, who went on to Yale University.