DOVER, Del. - The Wesley College Field Hockey team will be looking to improve upon last year's record as they enter the 2016 season. The squad lost a trio of key seniors to graduation last year, but returns several other key players including All-Conference selections Morgan Seymour and Lauren Niezgoda to this year's squad.
"We expect our ladies to work hard, compete every day and finish what they start," said veteran Head Coach Tracey Short. "For our game to be successful all 11 people on the field have to work together to accomplish our goals."
Niezgoda and Seymour lead a talented group of returners, with seniors Allison Perugini and Isabella Lucia also back. The group of four seniors should provide a solid nucleus for the Wolverines to build around. Seymour played all over the field last year, finishing the season with 14 defensive saves as well as a pair of goals and an assist. Perugini is the Wolverines' top returning scorer. She netted three goals, including two game-winners, and dished off an assist in 2015.
"All of our returners need to step up their game this season," said Short. "It is one thing to be a role player and another to lead a team to victory. We have the utmost confidence that every player can be a contributing part of our season."
The Wesley offense will be a veteran unit led by Perugini and junior Morgan Gannon. Taylor Timmons and Kelsey Fromal will also look to get in on the action in the opponents' crease. All four listed forwards on the Wolverine roster are upperclassmen.
In the midfield, Kasey Fry returns for the Wolverines, alongside Niezgoda and Rebecca Dvorak. The three returners will be joined by freshmen Brittany Bishop, Alissa Clayton, and Alexiss Hulse as they attempt to control the pace of play through the midfield.
On the defensive end, seniors Seymour and Lucia will be joined by fellow returners Emily Wagner, Maggie Matthews and Katelyn Harding. Freshman Natalie Quigley will be added to the fold as well and could see a lot of action this season.
Between the pipes, the Wolverines have brought in three freshmen to compete with sophomore returner Sydney Stump for the starting goalkeeper position. Sidney Knott, Makenzie McIntyre, and Bridget Wood will each don the pads for the Wolverines as they compete with Stump for the starting nod.
"All four of our goalies started the summer with the idea of competing for the starting spot. I have seen some very good plays and we are very excited to see the goalies continue to compete and grow," said Coach Short.
Short has been encouraged by the quickness with which the freshman class has adjusted to the speed and intensity of the college game, "They bring drive and the ability to be fearless," said Short of her seven-member first-year class. "They are young, energetic, and absorb everything around them. They have been a welcomed addition to the team."
The Wolverines begin their season on Thursday with a trip to Immaculata to take on the Mighty Macs. The squad will play its home opener on Sunday, Sept. 4 against Lynchburg. After a month of non-conference games to prepare themselves, the Navy and White will dive into the highly competitive Capital Athletic Conference schedule on October 1 with a trip to York College. Five of the team's final eight games will be played at home, including the regular season finale against Salisbury on October 26.
To view the CAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, follow this link.
To watch the CAC Field Hockey Preseason Webcast, follow this link.