Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s 2012 field hockey tri-captains (from left): Taylor Wrubel, Cassie Dunne, Chelsea Richardson (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The field hockey squad at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is one of the few teams at the school that hasn’t been impacted by the extensive renovation of the outdoors athletic facilities. The sticksters’ habitual pitch, located behind the Vare Field House, is one of the few fields that was not reduced to dirt over the summer.

Of course, the 2012 team will have to adjust to the usual personnel changes that come with a new academic year. The Lions lost five seniors from last year’s roster, including Ashlee Hale, a three-year starter in goal who signed with West Chester University, and Libbie Maine, the SCH recipient of the Girls Inter-Ac League Athletic Directors’ Award.

The SCH franchise is under new leadership this fall; incoming coaches Megan Cipolloni and Jenny Weir are both 2011 graduates of Virginia’s Lynchburg College. Cipolloni, who taught at Norwood Fontbonne Academy last year, is a Germantown Academy alum (’07) who went on to play at Lynchburg. There, she became a teammate of Weir, a native Virginian who was named the All-State College Division Player of the Year as a senior.

Obviously, Cipilloni is familiar with the Girls Inter-Ac League, in which the Lions finished 2-10 last fall thanks to a home/away sweep of Baldwin School.

This season, the candidates to replace Hale in goal are last year’s JV keeper, senior Alexis Berry, and a freshman, Laura Lasprogada. The team tri-captains are back Chelsea Richardson, midfielder Taylor Wrubel, and Cassie Dunne. Dunne, a Norwood Fontbonne Academy graduate, will miss the early portion of the season due to an injury she received playing ice hockey.

The other seniors on the squad are forward Jacky Willits and mid Jackie Gansky.

Last week in Springside Chestnut Hill’s first scrimmage, juniors Anna Kuo and Morgan Schneer started at forward and back, respectively, while sophomore Allie Billock joined the forward line and fellow 10th-grader Alyssa Fairman bolstered the defense.

Three freshman earned starting roles in the practice game: Remi Filippini and Madi Saltzman in the midfield and Mikaela Watson on defense.

The Lions will also be able to bring in experienced players off the bench, including junior Charlotte Cilio and sophomores Neema Herbert and Carlin Rode.

Friends Central was the Lions’ opponent in last week’s opening scrimmage, and their first three official games were also scheduled against teams from the Friends Schools League. This Tuesday (Sept. 4) SCH hosts familiar rival Germantown Friends, and the following afternoon the Lions will face a revealing test when they cross the Schuylkill to play Shipley School, the four-time defending champion in the FSL.