Will new contenders emerge in the Virginia AAA Northern Region?

Westfield and Robinson finished under .500 in the regular season last year but are making strong pushes to the top of the Northern Region. The Bulldogs, already on course for the first winning season in school history, have a gaggle of talented defenders, including second-team all-region senior Brittany Grainer and Jefferson junior transfer Alyson Heon. Robinson, behind senior GK Jacki Raithel, has started 4-2-2, allowing just five goals.

Defense rules?

Westfield is not the only team with defense as a strength. Much of the top talent in the area plays in the back, with Oakton's Katie Moran and Stafford's Lauren Elstein highlighting a strong group of returners.

Bermuda on the mind.

Many Northern Virginia schools have switched to Bermuda grass fields in the past two years, which coaches said has helped the area boost its quality of play and remain competitive at the state level. The grass, which grows throughout the summer, speeds up the game, gives teams a smoother playing surface and is helping the area keep up with the traditional field hockey powerhouses in the Virginia Beach area, who often play on artificial turf.