Varsity field hockey wins first PAISAA championship in program history


Media: Austin Hertzog

Hill varsity field hockey won their first PAISAA championship on November 16.

Without a doubt, Hill varsity field hockey had a successful season. Not only were they able to capture their 12th Middle Atlantic Prep League championship title, but for the first time since the inception of field hockey at Hill in 1998, their first Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association title.

Just like last year, the matchup for the championship game this year was against The Episcopal Academy. Held at Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, on November 16, it was not the warmest of days, but Hill Field Hockey was determined to take home the plaque nonetheless.

The first goal of the game came from EA with 3 minutes left in the first quarter. Off an assist from Aubrey Turner ’25, Riley Savage ’25 matched the score also with 3 minutes to go in the second quarter. Savage scored again in the third quarter, making the score 2-1, with 15 minutes left on the clock. Eventually, EA tied the score, 2 -2.  Once again, like the 2021 PAISAA Championship, the game-winning shot was made during the final minute of the game. With 32.5 seconds remaining, Opal Sparling ’26, a defensive center midfielder, drilled a shot into the goal from inside the top of the scoring circle as part of a penalty corner play.

“Once my team earned a penalty corner, we left it to our coaches to decide what corner play to call,” Sparling explained. “When she [Coach Weissbach] called for me to take the shot, I felt both extremely nervous and excited to get the last chance of winning the game in the fourth quarter.”

“I feel honored to have contributed to the team’s accomplishments this season, especially because I love all the seniors that were on it this year. Everyone, though, played a part in this team’s success and I am truly grateful to be a part of the Hill Field Hockey Family,” adds Sparling.

Winning the PAISAA championship this year was very emotional for many, especially for co-captains Hala Silverstein ‘23, a goalkeeper and University of Michigan commit, and Kerry Elliott ’23, a right-back defender.

After stressing about the state final for many weeks prior, they felt a sense of relief. Silverstein even mentioned how she wanted to play the state final game again. As much as they were overwhelmed with joy and excitement, it was a bittersweet occasion for them since it was their last high school field hockey state final.

“Winning the PAISAA championship during my last year of high school field hockey was a perfect ending,” Silverstein said. “I have faith that the underclassmen will be able to continue the skills: not just how good we are, but also the team culture.”

“My last high school field hockey season was definitely successful; the best year yet. It was the perfect way, in my mind to go out,”  Elliott said.” “I am excited to come back next year and see how great the program is.”

Head coach Jennifer Weissbach feels a sense of accomplishments with the team. “I am so proud of this year’s team,” Weissbach said. “Collectively we bought into our team’s goals and found a way to consistently put the team first which allowed us to achieve what we did. Winning a PAISAA State Championship has taken years of culture building and hard work and I am proud that this group was able to win on the biggest stage in high school field hockey.”

Ranked first in Pennsylvania, second in the nation by Max Field Hockey, and with a record of 20-1-0, Hill field hockey is geared up and ready for next season. “We will deeply miss our sixth formers and I am excited to get back to work with our returners and newcomers to help defend our State Championship. Now that we’ve won it once, we are hungry for more. Again, I could not be prouder of the level of energy, effort, and focus we put into this season,” Weissbach concluded.