Let's Talk Draft Strategy

By Amy "Robo" Robertson
MAX WFHL Draft Pro Analyst 

Now that the teams are set and the draft for the first ever Women’s Professional Field Hockey League is fast approaching let’s talk about draft strategy and what these teams will be looking for to inform their picks.  The first step for each Professional team will be putting together a draft board.  The draft board should have at least 5-6 players for each draft pick so with 6 players to draft, each team will have a board that has at least 30-36 players on it in total.   Some teams may go deeper to make sure they are not in a position to scramble and have done their homework ahead of time.

Now, what will go into their draft board?  There will be a lot of research that goes on behind the scenes to get to know the players that are available.  Each team needs to take into account the possible choices of the teams that are before them in the draft order.  Then they will have to have produced different scenarios for “what if” a player they wanted is not available then who would be the next choice and how does that change who they will need down the line. 
The first pick will be an easy one in terms of who is a player that can do no wrong to their program, in other terms the team’s franchise player.  They need to make sure that this player will be compatible with the top talent that they already have and with what they need.  Many teams will favor the top talent of a College player that is more local to their franchise so that it will keep the local fans coming to games.  The WNBA (Women’s National Basketball League) is a good professional league to compare to since they have been able to create a league that has survived and thrived.  They have always been successful getting a player that already had a strong place in the heart of the fans of that region based on their college career…such as the Connecticut Storm of the WNBA will always try to grab a top pick that comes out of the University of Connecticut.  So, the first pick may be a combination of phenomenal talent and being from the same region as the professional team. 

The other very important determinant of picking players will be what the teams’ greatest needs are and finding matches to the type of style they play on the hockey field and the personality of their team and staff.   For instance, if I am the Empire State Hustle I may want to look at one or more draft picks coming from a place like Syracuse or University of Connecticut.  (They should be looking at Alyssa Manley, Roisin Upton, Alma Fenne and in goal possibly Jess Jecko).  They will want that local talent to also fulfill the needs of their system.  Since their style of play is both aggressive, fast to get the deal done and also consist of defense that creates attack and is stingy in the defensive circle. 

Then on the other hand you have a team like the Chesapeake Chargers who will most likely look to the graduation of players from Maryland, Delaware or James Madison.  They will want to find players who can thrive in a potent transition game.  I think some of the top two for them in the discussion would have to be players like Anna Dessoye, Sarah Sprink, Michaela Patzner and Taylor West.  

A lot of the players are like apples and oranges so what it will come down to will be who is the best fit.  The best player for one program may not be the best player for another program.  When you are looking to draft a team you really need to have a plan and have done your homework in terms of not just the hockey and physical attributes but the personality and moral character of each potential draftee.  Will they fit the personality of the coach and the team that you have?   The less risk you take with personalities the better.

This year’s eligible college seniors feature some of the best talent to ever be available for the professional level!   In my opinion I think there are at least 6-7 franchise type players who will be available in this draft.  

It will be fun to watch!  With each top draft pick taken off the board there will be a lot of frenetic movement to figure out what to do next!! 



Check back tomorrow as we announce the First & Second
Round Picks of the innaugural MAX WFHL Draft!


Don't forget to chime in on your FIRST ROUND PICKS!

We have extended the deadline to the end of the day Monday and
will now announce the "Fan's First Round Picks" Tuesday morning.





*Current Director of Curriculum & Coaching, In the Zone Field Hockey

*Blue Devil Network Field Hockey Broadcast Analyst

*USA Field Hockey Level III Coach

*25+ Years of Collegiate Coaching Experience, including:

      -Head Coach, Indiana University (started the program in 2000)

      -Assistant Coach- Wake Forest University, UMass & University of Iowa

*Played collegiately at the University of Massachusetts


A look at the NCAA Senior Statistical Leaders in 2015

Seniors in Division I Top 50 Goal Scorers in 2015 (goal per game)
Rank Player School Goals Games %
6 Maddie Copeland Princeton University 16 18 0.89
8 Welma Luus University of Maryland 20 23 0.87
9 Alma Fenne Syracuse University 19 22 0.86
14 Taylor West James Madison University 16 20 0.80
15 Kiersten Sydnor Bucknell University 15 19 0.79
15 Roisin Upton University of Connecticut 15 19 0.79
18 Natalie Barr Liberty University 14 18 0.78
18 Ashlee Krulock Liberty University 14 18 0.78
20 Rebecca Hu Dartmouth College 13 17 0.76
20 Elizabeth Jacobson Harvard University 13 17 0.76
23 Alyssa Delp Temple University 16 21 0.76
26 Sofi Laurito Boston University 16 22 0.73
28 Jen Buris Longwood University 12 17 0.71
30 Pippin Saunders College of William & Mary 13 19 0.68
33 Emma Russell Syracuse University 15 22 0.68
38 Rachel Valentine Lock Haven University 13 20 0.65
39 Selena Adamshick Saint Francis University 11 17 0.65
39 Christina Freibott Columbia University 11 17 0.65
42 Peanut Johnson Ohio State University 12 19 0.63
42 Jess Newak Wake Forest University 12 19 0.63
49 Bea Dechant Miami University (Ohio) 12 20 0.60



Seniors in Division I Top 50 Assist Leaders in 2015 (goal per game)
Rank Player School Assists Games %
1 Elizabeth Hitti University of Pennsylvania 18 16 1.13
2 Fiori Van Rijswijk University at Albany 17 18 0.94
4 Eliza Becker Dartmouth College 14 17 0.82
6 Anna Dessoye University of Maryland 18 23 0.78
7 Christina Freibott Columbia University 13 17 0.76
11 Roisin Upton University of Connecticut 13 19 0.68
12 Megan McCullough Quinnipiac University 12 18 0.67
13 Maddie Secco Stanford University 13 20 0.65
16 Lisa McCarthy Northwestern University 13 21 0.62
17 Teresa Benvenuti Princeton University 11 18 0.61
17 Adele Sammons Ohio University 11 18 0.61
19 Pippa Lewis University of Connecticut 14 23 0.61
24 Mackenzie Ellis University of Michigan 12 22 0.55
24 Laura Page University at Albany 12 22 0.55
33 Charlotte Martin Northwestern University 11 21 0.52
47 Emily Wold University of North Carolina 11 24 0.46



Senior Goalkeepers in Division I Top 50 Goals Against Leaders in 2015
Rank Player School Goals Games %
4 Jess Jecko Syracuse University 22 22  1.00
7 Dulcie Davies Stanford University 24 20 1.18
13 Lauren Blazing Duke University 30 21 1.39
14 Emily Leytham Davison College 25 19 1.40
20 Valerie Dahmen Wake Forest University 33 19  1.73
26 Leah Settipane Boston College 42 22  1.87
38 Kate McBeath American University 41 18  2.23