STAFFORD — Common-wealth District player of the year Ashley Dowling, who led Stafford to a Northwest Region championship and a berth in the Group AAA state semifinals, is one of 16 all-star players representing the area next week at the National Field Hockey Festival in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Dowling will play center link for High Voltage Virginia, an elite squad that features seven Stafford players and two members of the North Stafford squad which also reached the state semifinals.
“We’re basically taking the top players in the area,” said High Voltage coach Robin Woodie, who guided Stafford to a 16-3 record. “With the makeup of our team, I think we can do well down there. I think we’re going to be very competitive.”
High Voltage will be making its third Thanksgiving holiday trip to the National Field Hockey Festival — a prestigious college showcase tournament that will be held from Nov. 22-25. The four-day competition features the best field hockey players in the nation.
In addition to Dowling, this year’s High Voltage squad includes midfielder Caroline Loving, sweeper Maggi Chamberlain, center back Lindsey Piester, wings Nikki Noel and Chelesa Garfield and goalie Caitlin Faller of Stafford. North Stafford midfielder Erin Cwick and center back Kristin Sondermann will make the trip along with Woodbridge sweeper Colleen Dunn and goalie Tracy Bannister.
Three members of Chancellor’s Group AA state championship squad — center link Maureen Phahler, center forward Shelley Fredo and midfielder Dani Woodie — joined the team this season, as well as midfielders Carly Driscoll from Brooke Point and Sarah Bland from Colonial Forge.
Woodbridge’s all-state center link, Kristen Leary, will also be participating in the festival as a member of the U-19 Rampage.
High Voltage, which earned a third-place finish two years ago, will also be competing in the U-19 division with seven guaranteed games against squads from Pennslyvania, New York, California, Ohio and Delaware. Last week, they tuned up for the tournament with a 3-0 scrimmage victory over the Virginia Express, from Albemarle.
“The seniors that we have are aware of what it’s all about. It won’t be as intense as the season, but they want to go down there and do well for Virginia,” Woodie said. “Winning is important, but we also want them to have fun.”