Blend of Experience and Youth for Saint Field Hockey Team
Aug. 29: St. Lawrence University's 2012 field hockey team will include a blend of experience and youth as it strives for a second straight Liberty League tournament appearance and its sixth post-season bid in the last seven years.
"Striving to make the Liberty League tournament always makes a good focus for the team," said coach Fran Grembowicz, who enters her 15th season as Saint coach with 147 career victories. "And if we can reach that goal, we would like to do a little better in that competition than we have in the last couple of appearances...and if that goes well, then we will look for more."
The Saints, 9-8 a year ago, graduated their top two scorers, Emily Riley, a regional All America who scored nine goals and set up seven in 11 games and Erika Swits, who scored eight and assisted on two in 17 games. They also graduated Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year and regional All America Julia Croyle, but Grembowicz feels one of the strengths of the current team is its experience despite the graduation attrition.
"We have a pretty experienced returning group who have played together at least two years and then we will add in some key first year players who will see significant playing time," Grembowicz said. "Our first years are really blending well with the team chemistry and the whole team is not afraid of hard work and they are stepping up to the challenge. We do not have a lot of depth, so that work ethic is going to be a key."
Senior Ashley Ferenczy is the leading returning scorer (6-6-18 in 2011) while classmate Courtney Cartier scored five goals and assisted on another primarily coming off the bench. Sophomore Carley Stine scored three goals in her rookie season while senior Courtney Davis and junior Grace O'Neil will also look to contribute up front. First years Molly Manning, Emily Moran and Samantha Haab will also be in the mix offensively.
Sophomore Ali Ferenczy and junior Kate Higgins return at midfield and will be joined by rookies Caroline Phinney, Caroline Bailey and Lizzy Saward while junior Emily Berry started all 17 games for the Saints on defense last year and will be joined by senior Emily Viani, sophomores Jenna Miller and Chapin Dwyer plus newcomer Kara Pelosi.
First-team All Liberty League goaltender Nicole Matos, a junior who compiled a 2.35 goals against average with a .803 save percentage returns, but is likely to be out of action until the third weekend of the season due to illness. Brady Cooper, a sophomore out for field hockey for the first time and first year Kim Haab have performed well in pre-season practices and will backstop the Saints until Matos can resume competition.
The Saints open the season against Oneonta State at Utica on Saturday and will play at Utica on Sunday. They will host Hartwick in their home opener Sept. 8 at noon.