Field Hockey: Riverside Opens the Season at No. 1 in the LoCo Top 5


Loudoun County, Va. — As the high school field hockey season starts in Loudoun County, one local team has started to stand out from the crowd, while several others are potential contenders. In a three-district county, we wanted a way to put things into perspective. Enter: the LoCo Top 5.

Of course, if you’re into hard numbers, check out the full Cedar Run District, Potomac District, and Dulles District standings.

1. Riverside (0-0, 2-0)

Due to Riverside overpowering Heritage on September 4, Riverside is the clear No. 1 team in the LoCo Top 5. Riverside is loaded with talent, with three returning VHSL 4A All-State team members: first team junior Gurnoor Dhaliwal, second team senior Amelie Fieser, and second team junior Eva Yacura, not to mention USA Field Hockey National Future Player Kellen Richbourg.

Riverside is poised for another historic season. Riverside has reclassified to 5A this season. We expect the same winning ways for Riverside through the regular season and into the VHSL 5A playoffs.

Next up for Riverside: No. 3 Loudoun County on September 9 at Stone Bridge

2. Heritage (0-0, 4-1)

Following its season-opening loss to Riverside, there may be some controversy, but we are going with Heritage as the No. 2 team until someone else, other than Riverside, defeats them.

Heritage is led by seniors Emma Grinell, Amayah Romnadia, and Grace Losty – who has returned from a torn ACL suffered in last season’s regular season game against Riverside– as well as sophomore Renee Schmidt, and newcomer, freshman phenom Ria Chhina, who showed flashes of hockey brilliance against Riverside.

Heritage rebounded from the loss to Riverside, by going out this weekend and winning the Justice Wolves Field Hockey Invitational, besting Falls Church, John Champe, Wakefield, and Justice.

Next up for Heritage: Potomac Falls on September 9 at Park View

3. Loudoun County (0-0, 3-0)

The resounding win over formerly undefeated Woodgrove on September 4, puts the Loudoun County Raiders into the third spot in the first edition of the LoCo Top 5 for the 2019 field hockey season. Loudoun County turned heads with their decisive win. The Raiders also dispatched reigning VHSL 5A State playoff teams Stone Bridge and Potomac Falls to open their season.

Loudoun County is led by sophomore Alyssa Markell, junior Emily Tyler, and senior Caili Shanahan, with a strong supporting cast playing with them.

Next up for Loudoun County: No. 1 Riverside on September 9 at Stone Bridge

4. Freedom (0-0, 4-0)

The Freedom Eagles are in the LoCo Top 5 for the first time in program history. The Eagles have started the season very strong, with three wins coming against Tuscarora, John Champe, and Loudoun Valley. Freedom is led by seniors Sally Steppling and Julia Tubridy and junior Lainey Pratzner.

Next up for Freedom: Kettle Run on September 9 at Kettle Run

5. Dominion (0-0, 2-0)

The Dominion Titans start the 2019 field hockey season as the No. 5 ranked team in the LoCo Top 5, based on wins over Rock Ridge and Stone Bridge. Dominion is the fourth team in the county to have an undefeated record, along with No. 1 Riverside, No. 3 Loudoun County, and No. 4 Freedom.

Dominion is led by senior backstopper Hannah Johnston, along with seniors Skylar Holmgrain, Maddie Beal, Jessie Lee, Ellie Newman, and Julia Samaha. With a senior-laden team, Dominion has the leadership to make a deep run in the VHSL Region 4C and possibly state tournament, depending upon how they fare against No. 2 Heritage and No. 3 Loudoun County in the season and the playoffs, as only two teams from the region can make the state tournament. Dominion plays No. 3 Loudoun County on September 25 and No. 2 Heritage on October 7.

Next up for Dominion: Stone Bridge on September 9 at Stone Bridge

On the bubble: Woodgrove (0-0, 3-1), Loudoun Valley (0-0, 2-2)


About Author

Keil Ritterpusch

Keil “Coach Keil” Ritterpusch has a passion for all things involving sports. Keil spent the last eleven years coaching field hockey in Loudoun County. He started as a rec league coach for Loudoun Field Hockey Association, then was a rec league coach for Potomac Field Hockey, where he helped to found, build from the ground up, and coach the Briar Woods High School field hockey club — before Loudoun County added varsity hockey. Keil was the first varsity head coach at Briar Woods, doing double duty for two years as an export compliance and licensing lawyer and a varsity head coach. In addition to rec league and varsity coaching, Keil has coached with the Metro Field Hockey Club and the Rapids Field Hockey Club and was a founding board member for the Loudoun County League. In addition to coaching, Keil has been an active umpire for LCL for six years. Finally, Keil plays in the Washington Field Hockey Association adult league with his son, Wilson, a sophomore at Heritage HS.

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