Midwest Field Hockey tournament begins play Thursday
By: Warren Mayes
The Midwest Field Hockey Championship bracket is set and defending champion Lafayette is the No. 6 seed.
Tourney play begins Thursday (Oct. 25). Lafayette (17-5) plays No. 27 Oakville at 4:30 p.m. No. 7 Marquette (17-7) faces No. 26 Parkway North at 4:30 p.m. Other local games find No. 8 St. Joseph’s Academy playing No. 25 Parkway West at 4 p.m.; No. 13 Whitfield meeting No. 20 Clayton at 3 p.m.; No. 23 Eureka squaring off against No. 10 Ladue at 3 p.m.; and No. 22 Parkway South going against No. 11 Ursuline Academy at 3 p.m.
The top five seeds — No. 1 Cor Jesu, No. 2 Nerinx Hall, No. 3 Villa Duschesne, No. 4 Visitation Academy and No. 5 MICDS — all have first-round byes.
Second-round play will be Saturday (Oct. 27). The quarterfinals will be held Tuesday (Oct. 30) and the semifinals are set for Thursday Nov. 1. The championship game will be played at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 3) at the Soccer Park.
Lafayette coach Kate O’Connell said the bracket looks good to her. She sees the tourney favorites being Cor Jesu, Nerinx Hall and Villa Duschesne.
“Last year’s team is different than this year’s team,” O’Connell said. “I am happy with it. Bottom line, you have to win all the games to get to a championship. We were not dissed at all (in the seedings).”
Marquette coach Richard Regina said it’s a fair bracket. His girls are fresh off their first Suburban Conference championship with a 9-0 record.
“I like the fact the entire St. Louis area is seeded; it really rewards teams that had good seasons,” Regina said. “Cor Jesu is the favorite as they were undefeated in St. Louis this year. Both Nerinx and Villa proved they can beat anybody, and there are four or five other teams, Marquette included, that can do damage in the tournament.”
The Mustangs were seeded fairly at No. 7, Regina said.
“Of course, we would want to be a seed or two higher, but every team can say that,” Regina said. “We are hoping that the No. 7 seed is lucky for us. Ultimately, we would have liked to be in the top 5 because we have never been there before, but eventually you have to win five games and on game day, the seed does not really matter. ”
Lafayette has two starters back from last year’s championship. The Lancers’ standout is senior Kate Barber, who can do it all. She leads the area in scoring with 33 goals and 31 assists for 97 points.
“That experience will be very valuable,” O’Connell said about the postseason.
Regina said his girls are excited about the postseason.
“Playoff hockey brings out the best in competitors,” O’Connell said. “Many of our players have been a part of overtime playoff losses in consecutive years, and that is a feeling that is really motivating.”
O’Connell said she does not know much about Oakville. However, that doesn’t make any difference.
“We will come out tough,” O’Connell said. “We never overlook anyone. We will prepare just like anyone else. We are playing really good right now. We are coming off a public school championship win.”
Marquette defeated Parkway North 8-0 early in season.
“That win came a day after a shutout loss to Villa, and we did a great job of scoring early,” Regina said.
He will emphasize to his girls they are not to overlook the Vikings.
“There is always that danger of looking ahead, but I try to remind our players every team they play from this point on is desperate to keep playing, and in that regard, teams are much different in October than they were in August,” Regina said. “Our mantra is just to play one more game.
“We are playing pretty well. We have had a couple of tough losses, but that was more of an end result as opposed to how we played. We are happy with where we are mentally and physically.”