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The Wilkes University field hockey team will begin their 2006 season on Wednesday, September 6, when they travel to Marywood University for a non-conference match at 4:00 p.m.
The Lady Colonels return 10 veterans from the 2005 squad that fashioned an overall record of 9-10 and earned a berth in the Freedom Conference playoffs. With the experience of these returnees combined with the enthusiasm of 13 newcomers, the 2006 Lady Colonels are ready to make their presence felt.
“Our team is young, but this is not a negative for us. The more important factor is how we have been working together and continue to develop as a team,” Coach Sara Fuller commented. “The players complement each other, allowing the team to work well as a unit.” Coach Fuller explained that everyone contributes something different to the team, “The veterans provide the team with a great deal of leadership and knowledge, while the first-year players have raised the level of intensity, creating a new excitement among the team.”
The defensive unit will provide a steadfast security in the Lady Colonel backfield. Wilkes welcomes back Hilary Weber between the posts for her junior season. The second team All-Freedom Conference goalkeeper finished the 2005 season with 125 saves and gave up only 1.76 goals per contest. Freshmen Ashley Price, Julia Smith, and Serena Eber will provide capable backup for Weber.
The competent defensive line, who helped the Lady Colonels post five wins by shutout last season, will aid the keepers in their protection of the cage. Anchoring the defensive unit are second team All-Freedom Conference defenders, senior Courtney Eleazer and sophomore Kristina Naveira. Sophomore Kerry Battersby will be another predominant force in the backfield. Defenders Erica Sundberg and Aundrea Robertson will also vie for playing time in their rookie season.
The transition play in the Lady Colonel midfield features juniors Carrie Stolarick and Lindsay Thomas. Thomas moves back to the midfield after playing on the front line last season, where she registered the most points for the Lady Colonels with five goals and two assists. A host of newcomers will also have a presence in the midfield, including freshmen Brittney Sines, Kendall Billig, Amanda Tilley, and Kim Baldino.
After tying for a team-high five goals during the 2005 campaign, sophomore Devon McKay returns to the front line for the Lady Colonels. She will be accompanied by junior Lauren Risser, who added four goals last season. The Wilkes offense also welcomes back sophomores Alyssa Koncelik and Diana Wright who saw considerable playing time a year ago. Several first year players, junior Alex Ingram, freshmen Shannon Carper, Jennifer Keegan, and Stacy Malia, will provide a great deal of depth to the forward line as they look to gain playing time for the Lady Colonels.
“I am very happy with the attitude and hard work ethic of this team,” Coach Fuller stated. “Our goal this year is to play our game; acting, instead of reacting. By pushing themselves beyond expectations and playing an intensity-driven 70 minutes each game, I feel our team will not only surprise the other teams, but will surprise themselves as well.”