Monday, August 27, 2007

Field Hockey Preview: Can Anyone Stop the Bears?

pictured: Adair Landy, Johns Hopkins

Three straight Conference titles. 40 consecutive Centennial regular-season victories. Defending national champion. Can anyone stop the Ursinus field hockey juggernaut?

The Bears return a pair of first-team All-America performers in junior M Kait Sutherland (Perkiomenville, PA / Perkiomen Valley), the 2006 Centennial Player of the Year, and senior GK Jess Lamina (Doylestown, PA / Central Bucks West), a three-time first-team All-CC stopper. Sutherland had 12 goals and 15 assists a year ago, while Lamina had a 1.09 goals against average with seven shutouts. Junior F Jennie Moore (Phoenixville, PA / Phoenixville), a second-team All-CC pick after tallying 13 goals, will also be a key on offense. Ursinus is ranked No. 1 in the preseason NFHCA Division III coaches poll.

Johns Hopkins, the Conference runner-up a year ago, has returning firepower in juniors Adair Landy (Montclair, NJ / Montclair) and Emily Miller (Garden City, NY / Garden City) who both earned first-team All-CC recognition last fall. Miller led the Centennial with 19 goals and 10 assists, while Landy added 12 and eight. Junior Leah Horton (Wayne, PA / Upper Merion), a second-team choice, also returns for the Blue Jays. Hopkins is ranked 17th in the preseason NFHCA poll.

Gettysburg returns six of its top eight scorers and a three-year starting keeper in its quest to unseat Ursinus. Senior Cristi Farrell (Broomall, PA / Academy of Notre Dame) leads the offense after notching a team-high eight goals last season. Sarah Latta (West Chester, PA / Henderson) earned honorable mention All-CC honors on defense a year ago, while GK Katherine Corkhill (Paoli, PA / Academy of Notre Dame) has 17 career shutouts.

Muhlenberg made its first-ever trip to the Centennial semis in 2006 and welcome back All-CC performers Lauren Rutt (Stevens, PA / Cocalico) and Nikki Rhoades (Fleetwood, PA / Oley Valley) in its quest to return to the CC Final Four. Senior Jillian Duffy (Massapequa, NY / Massapequa) leads the offense after scoring 12 goals last season.

McDaniel will look to second-team All-CC B Brooke Dixon (Clayton, DE / Smyrna) to anchor the defense, while junior M Michelle Fluty (Huntingtown, MD / Calvert) leads the offense.

Franklin & Marshall looks to return to the five-team Centennial playoffs behind junior M Jessika Mancino (Lancaster, PA / Hempfield) who had a team-high five goals a year ago. Junior D Mollie Ruben (Hingham, MA / Hingham), a returning first-team All-CC selection, returns to anchor the defense.

Swarthmore's defense was tied for third in the CC in goals allowed per game (1.71) last fall and junior Anna Baeth (Frederick, MD / Frederick) returns after earning second-team All-Centennial recognition. Senior Abigail Fischer (Sudbury, MA / Lincoln-Sudbury) and junior Ashley Gunter (Crisfield, MD / Worcester Prep) combined for 17 goals last season.

Sophomore M Alyssa Sands (Copely, OH / Western Reserve Academy) scored five goals and handed out seven assists as a rookie and will lead Dickinson in 2007. Junior M Amy Spadanuta (Hackettstown, NJ / Warren Hills) is the leading offensive threat for Washington after tallying four goals a year ago. Haverford looks to junior D Julia McGuire (Bethesda, MD / Walt Whitman) to anchor the Fords' defense in 2007, while senior A Colleen Farrell (Pitman, NJ / Wilmington Friends, DE) scored eight goals last fall. Bryn Mawr will be young with five freshmen playing key roles with leadership provided by junior Lily Chen (Bedfordview, South Africa / Vivian Webb, CA).

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