USA Field Hockey
JPIL Play Heats Up the Courts
At the conclusion of round two of the Princess Junior Premier Indoor League, competition has heated up amongst competitors in each division. High Styx FH and Xcalibur FHC remain atop the leader board in both the Under-16 and Under-19 divisions while Philly Hockey Club and CNY lead the Under-14 division.
Due to the openness of the game under Hockey 5s Indoor Rules, matches have been high intensity with many goals scored. In both the Under-16 and Under-19 divisions, over 200 goals have already been netted this season. Marissa Poliks of SPark is the leading scorer of the Under-16 division with 12 of 202 goals. Gabrielle Major of Xcalibur FHC sits tops the score table in the Under-19 division with 21 out of 229 goals.
The new format of Hockey 5s is proving to be a test of speed, skill and fitness, especially for goal keepers. Many clubs have begun pulling goal keepers when in possession of the ball to generate more of an offensive attack and sending them back into play when possession is lost. It is a tactic used by many clubs in Europe that can lead to greater scoring opportunities, but leaves the goal cage vulnerable.
As the league continues, Under-16 and Under-19 clubs are vying for one of the top four spots at the end of pool play and the opportunity to compete in the championship games. Final ranking is crucial as it plays a deciding factor in clubs receiving invitations for the 2015 Junior Premier Indoor League.
Under-14 teams have been divided into two brackets: the Championship Pool and the Rankings Pool. The top four ranked clubs from Pools A and B will play in the Championship bracket for the opportunity to be crowned the 2014 Under-14 JPIL Champions. Clubs ranked 5th-8th in both pools will duke it out for final ranking.
The eight clubs still in the hunt for the Under-14 Championship are CNY, FC United, High Styx FH, Horizon FHC, Mystx United, Orange-Gottaloveit, Philly HC and SPark. The Championship Pool clubs resume play on February 2, while the other eight teams in the Rankings Pool resume play on January 20. All Under-14 games will be held at Marple Sports Arena in Broomall, Pa.
Under-16 play continues January 26 and Under-19 play continues January 20 at the Sportsplex in Feasterville, Pa.