Field hockey opens season against rival Franklin & Marshall

Karley Ice September 11, 2015 0

The Elizabethtown College field hockey team received 36 points in the Landmark Conference 2015 preseason poll, ranking them fourth compared to its competitors.
Last season, the Blue Jays showed they were a team to beat, earning the second seed. The Juniata College Eagles ultimately earned the title of champions of the Landmark Conference, but Etown is ready to be in the running for that title this season.
The team’s offense will be led by four returning players, who are the team’s top scorers. They include graduate-student Andrea Keady, senior Jacki Hikes, senior Alyssa Aichele and sophomore Emma Christman.
The team’s defense will see only one returner, junior Halley Donlin, but many underclassmen have the opportunity to step-up and fill important roles on the field.
The team will be without many central players that they had in 2014. The team lost Taylor Alwine, who was a three-time-all-conference first team pick midfielder and Selene Jones, who started every game and played the full duration of all 18 games for the Blue Jays. Key players that the team will also miss include defensive players Emily Mason, Kendra Hudson, and Marissa Sneeringer and midfielder Kaylee Werner.
Although Etown has lost some key players, the team is focused to succeed this fall. “Everyone is dedicated and working hard to improve,” Donlin said. “We have a bunch of new players who came into preseason ready to go and returning players who are eager to have a successful season, so everyone is really invested in the team.”
Teammate Aichele echoes the thoughts of Donlin. “We have a handful of new players who brought a lot of talent and are hoping to fill the roles of the many players who graduated after last season,” Aichele said. “Everyone came into this season looking stronger and in better shape than last year. We are doing a great job of keeping morale high and supporting each other on and off the field.”
Etown is ranked behind Catholic University (70 points), Juniata (44 points) and the University of Scranton (40 points), who received just four more points than the Blue Jays.
Last season, Etown competed against three nationally-ranked teams early in its schedule, who proved to be tough competition. However, when the Blue Jays’ record was 4-5, they gained momentum and won five straight games to boost confidence heading into playoffs.
The players and coaches have their sights set on making noise this season in conference playoffs and beyond. “We have made it to playoffs for the past three years so we are aiming to win the Conference Championship this year and make it into NCAA tournament play,” Aichele said.
The team begins its season against Franklin and Marshall College Wednesday, September 2 on Diplomat territory.

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