Girls Prep D1 Poll: Veteran Williston club gets edge

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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Girls Prep D1 Poll

RankTeamPrevious RankingWLT
1Williston2014
2Nobles2432
3Loomis Chaffee1763
4Kent2011
5New Hampton1773
6Pomfret1742
7Tabor1851
8Choate1572
9Westminster1346
10St. Paul's2242

If the last few years have shown us anything in New England Girls Division I prep hockey, it is that the talent pool is getting wider. Where in the past only a few teams could be considered as potential champions, now there are numerous solid teams that could lay claim to a title.

In a top ten poll, there isn’t a lot separating most of the teams, which should make for an exciting season on the road to playoff weekend in early March of 2016.

Morgan Fisher Williston
Morgan Fisher
Williston

A team that went undefeated until the semifinal round of the New England tournament last year, and returns all but one player from that squad, it would be hard to go against a team like that. So, we will go with Williston (20-1-4) as the #1 team in HNIB News Girls D-1 Prep Pre-season poll.

The Wildcats also boast eight seniors that will provide the necessary leadership, including Boston College-bound forward Delaney Belinskas, Providence College recruit Rachel Rockwell on defense, and UConn commit Morgan Fisher in goal.

Lucinda Quigley Nobles
Lucinda Quigley
Nobles

#2 Nobles (24-3-2) was ousted in the quarterfinal round last winter, very uncharacteristic for the Bulldawgs, so you can bet they will be full of fire this season, led by Boston College recruits Caitrin Lonergan and Bridget McCarthy, and junior Becca Gilmore on the front lines, and Lucinda Quigley (a Brown recruit) on the blue line. No one can look past this club.

Another team boasting several Division I recruits is #3 Loomis Chaffee (17-6-3). The Pelicans, also a quarterfinal ouster last March, will be powered up front by recruits Linda Essery (Yale), Sharon Frankel (Princeton) and Bailey Coyne (Northeastern), and from Paige Capistran (Northeastern) on defense. The key for Loomis will be goaltending, as All New England first teamer Brittani Bugalski has graduated.

#4 Kent (20-1-1) enjoyed a memorable season in 2014-15, making it to the semifinals before an unbeaten season came to the end. The Lions will have Wisconsin recruit Alyson Baldwin back in goal, and that will be key. If Kent can replace the offensive production lost to graduation, it will be in the mix.

You want a darkhorse, how about #5 New Hampton (17-7-3)? The Huskies have been improving each of the past few seasons and may be ready to make the challenge this year. They, too, have some top talent, with the likes of defenseman Cayla Barnes (Boston College recruit, USA U-18 team), defenseman Julia Lee (Brown), and forwards Taylor Curtis (Harvard), Sierra Lee (Brown) and sophomore Savannah Norcross (Boston College). Keep an eye on this team.

A finalist last winter, #6 Pomfret (17-4-2) returns some talent, but will have to replace some players lost to graduation. The Griffins will also have a new coach, as former Williston assistant Erin Davey takes over the helm.

Abby Ellis Tabor
Abby Ellis
Tabor

If the incoming class can play up to its potential, #7 Tabor (18-5-1) will be hard to defeat. The Seawolves return starting goalie Lizzie Hanson and defensemen Abby Ellis (Union College recruit) and Victoria Young (Holy Cross commit). Up front, Martha Peppes has committed to UNH, while newcomers Rachel Moore and Olivia Finnocchairo have committed to Boston College.

#8 Choate (15-7-3) was a playoff team a year ago, but will need its younger players to step up if the Wild Boars hope for a return trip to the post-season.

2014 New England champion #9 Westminster (13-4-6) was the odd man out come playoff time last winter, showing just how much parity there is in the D-1 ranks. The Martlets certainly can reappear in the post-season. Senior forwards Sarah Migliori (Brown) and Catherine Crawley (UConn) have committed.

And, defending champ St. Paul’s (22-4-2) closes out our first Girls D-1 Top Ten poll. If the Pelicans can successfully replace the talent lost to graduation, they, too, will be in the hunt.

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