New coach, new blood look to energize the field hockey team

Last year’s field hockey season ended on a bittersweet note. While the Jeffs lost in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament, they won their final two regular season games in overtime against powerhouse teams from Williams and Trinity Colleges to earn their NESCAC playoff berth. This year, Sept. 9 marks the team’s first test at home against Wellesley College.

Good leadership on and off the field is always important, especially with a relatively young team.  Senior co-captains Christine Ryan and Molly Jacobs should set strong examples for the rest of the Jeffs if they maintain their characteristic stellar play, while their fellow classmate Lauren Sozio hopes to follow suit after spending last fall studying abroad in Italy.

However, this talented trio makes up the entire senior portion of the roster. The paltry number of seniors combined with a number of key losses to graduation creates a void which must be filled this year by emerging talent. The Jeffs will be without five starters from last fall, including standout forward Abby Ouimet ’03, the team’s leading scorer last year.

Also missed will be Second-Team All-NESCAC defender Molly O’Connor ’03, forward Jenna Obelsky ’03, midfielder Katherine Ryan ’03 and defender Carlyn Lamia ’03. Obelsky, Ryan and Lamia were the team’s third, fourth and sixth leading scorers respectively. While the Jeffs will certainly miss such contributors, 10 incoming first year players and a plethora of talented sophomores and juniors, should make the future look bright nonetheless. “The presence of the 10 new players should greatly benefit our team, especially after last year’s losses,” Christine Ryan said.

The Jeffs’ defensive effort should be spearheaded by goalie K.C. Cosentino ’05. The mindful Cosentino racked up 394 minutes between the posts last season, and during that time she amassed 53 saves and allowed an average of only 1.24 goals per game. Sophomore Anne McMullen, who tallied 57 saves and 691 minutes of playing time last year, will most likely add to the effort in the cage.

Hopefully the goalies will see little action, thanks to Jacobs and a strong bunch of returning defenders including juniors Alicia Pichard and Emma Feinstein, and sophomores Lauren Schmale, Sarah Rothbard and Cassie Schifter.

On the offensive side of the field the Jeffs are looking to score, and score often. Versatile midfielder and forward Ryan tallied three goals, 31 shots and two assists last fall, enough to make her the team’s second leading scorer.  Ryan’s offensive efforts will be aided by juniors Erin Leydon and Sara Harlow, and sophomores Erin O’Hare, Katherine Skrivan and Molly Gilbert.

Strong coaching can make all the difference in the world. Carol Knerr, who spent the past two seasons sharing the position of head coach with veteran leader Christine Paradis, recently assumed the sole coaching title after Paradis decided to take a hiatus from field hockey. This season, Knerr’s invaluable guidance and personal experience will be further aided by rookie assistant coach Julie Zoolkoski, a former field hockey standout at The College of William and Mary.

In spite of their youth, the team is optimistic about its potential. “Our goal, as always, is to win the NESCAC tournament,” explained Ryan. “We’re still a really young team, but we have the talent to perform well in NESCAC this year.”