Westfield field hockey ends championship season with first No. 1 final ranking


Westfield field hockey players celebrate after the Virginia 6A North region championship against Fairfax on Nov. 7. (Richard A. Lipski/For the Washington Post)
November 26, 2013

Since 2001, the first year The Post preserved complete records, a Virginia public school team has never finished No. 1 in the end-of-season field hockey rankings.

Until now.

Westfield (22-2) started the season with a 2-1 loss to rival South County. After a shutout loss to Tabb in a September tournament, the Bulldogs teetered at 4-2.

“At the beginning of the season, it was like a roller coaster,” senior captain Rachael Ulsh said. “We just kept going back and forth. But at some point, we started putting together good game after good game and got better and better. We decided we weren’t going to have any more lows, and it was going to keep going up from there.”

The Bulldogs’ ascent to No. 1 featured an 18-game win streak, including a 1-0 win against No. 2 Severna Park. They peaked in Virginia Beach, where their efforts culminated in a 2-1 win over First Colonial in the Virginia 6A final.

“We’re really good on that water-based [turf] surface,” said Ulsh — a 2012 second-team All-Met selection and University of Virginia recruit. “Our skills came together, and we just worked as a unit.”

While the Chantilly school is known for hosting state events within its massive sports complex, the 2013 field hockey team is the first state champion in a girls’ sport.

“I didn’t know that until we won; [Principal Tim] Thomas was glad to bring it home for the school,” Ulsh said. “It’s not like it’s a common thing for Westfield to win state championships.”

Bulldogs Coach Starr Karl — who has helmed local field hockey squads for nearly a quarter-century — realized early on that these Bulldogs possessed the depth required for a title run.

“It wasn’t one person, or two people, or three people,” Karl said. “In that state final, every single kid came to play that day.”

The Post Top 10

Westfield capped an 18-game winning streak with a 2-1 win against First Colonial in the Virginia 6A title game . . . Severna Park earned its 21st state title with a decisive 4-1 win against Wootton in the Maryland 4A final . . . Glenelg, which had won three straight state championships, fell to eventual state champion Century in overtime during the Maryland 2A state semifinals . . . Broadneck lost to Severna Park on an untimed corner in overtime in the Maryland 4A East region final.

1. Westfield (22-2)

2. Severna Park (13-3-1)

3. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (18-5-1)

4.Glenelg (15-3)

5. Broadneck (12-5)

6. Fairfax (19-5)

7. South River (14-3)

8. Wootton (16-1)

9. South County (18-3)

10. Spalding (24-1)

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