A thrilling one-goal game gave Regis Jesuit the 2018 field hockey state championship, but when looking at what's returning this fall, it might just be Cherry Creek - the team on short end of last year's title game - who heads into the fall as the favorite to win it all.
And the primary reason is that the Bruins are returning plenty of offense in the upcoming year. Among the three primary offensive stats, it is a Cherry Creek star sitting at or near the top of leaders when it comes to players returning in 2019.
Looking ahead, the 2019 field hockey season is returning enough firepower to build on the excitement that last year's season season ended with.
It might be too early to think about potential players of the year, but the fact is that with Amelia McCarthy returning for Cherry Creek there is certainly someone to watch early in the year.
McCarthy leads all returning players with 46 total points from the 2018 season. Colorado Academy's Katherine Merrifield follows McCarthy with 41 and will hope to have an even better campaign in her junior season.
Hailey Rhine out of St. Mary's Academy totaled 33 points while state champ Regis Jesuit returns Lauren Pendergast, who scored 27. It was Pendergast who scored both goals for the Raiders in the 2018 championship game. She may not be the top scorer to return, but potentially the most impactful.
To go along with total points, McCarthy and Merrifield return as the top two goal scorers from the 2018 season. McCarthy buried 19 shots into the net, barely edging out Merrifield by one.
Rhine comes in third with 14 and Denver East senior Luna Rosenzweig scored 12.
Denver East's Lucy McHugh led the state last year with 11 assists. She returns for her senior year looking to once again sit on top of the leaderboard after the 2019. McCarthy and St. Mary's Academy's Darian Smith each finished the season with eight making them every bit as dangerous as last year's overall leaders.
Pendergast is also right there as she dished out seven passes that led directly to goals.
With her ability to find scorers and to bury shots in the net at the right time, Pendergast is one of just many returning talents fixing to make the field hockey season a memorable one.