Top Seven Scorers from a Year Ago All Return
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team has been winning games at a near-record pace over the past couple years -- and with the top seven scorers from last year back, that trend figures to continue in 2011. The Bulldogs return 13 letterwinners, including nine players who started seven or more games, as they look to improve on 2010's 11-6 overall record (5-2 Ivy League, tied for second place).
Among those returnees are six seniors who have been part of a remarkable run recently. The 2009 season saw the Bulldogs set the school record for wins in Ivy League play with six, earn votes in the national poll, and finish with a 12-5 record. Add in 11 wins from 2010, and the team's 23 wins in the past two seasons are tied for the second-best two-year span in school history. The best three-year span win total is 32, from 1996-1998.
Head coach Pam Stuper, the 2009 NFHCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year, enters her seventh season at Yale having seen the Bulldogs increase their season goal total each year for five straight years. Last year's squad scored 52 times, tied for second in school history.
Defensively, Yale has lost its starting goalie and a pair of backs to graduation but returns a first team All-Ivy League/second team All-Mideast Region selection in senior Erin Carter, the team captain.
Here is a position-by-position look at the team heading into the 2011 season, which starts Sept. 3 vs. Stanford at Johnson Field:
The senior forwards are both big factors in Yale's attack. After being sidelined for her entire freshman season by an injury, Kirsten Krebs has played in all 34 games since, including six starts in 2010. An athletic player, she scored her first two career goals last year while continuing to set up plays that enabled her teammates to score. Classmate Mia Rosati's point production has increased every year of her career, reaching 15 (five goals, five assists) last year. She was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection as a sophomore.
The lone junior forward, Maddy Sharp, has been developing her scorer's touch, increasing her goal total from two as a freshman to four last season. She has missed just one game in the past two years.
Sophomore forward Erica Borgo started her Yale career off with a bang last year, leading the Bulldogs in scoring (8-7-23) and earning second team All-Ivy recognition. This past summer she took part in USA Field Hockey's Junior National Championship. Her speed makes her a tough player for any opponent to mark, and she also makes a big contribution as the inserter on Yale's penalty corners.
The sophomore class also includes Gabby Garcia. A former all-state selection in high school, she appeared in eight games last season. Classmate Brooke Gogel is unable to play this season due to injury, but will remain with the program as a manager.
The freshman class includes one forward, Jessie Accurso (Jamison, Pa.). Accurso, a USA Field Hockey Futures participant, was honorable mention all-state at Central Bucks South, where she helped her team to the state playoffs. The speedy Accurso also ran track and set school records in the 55-, 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Senior middie Dinah Landshut has been one of Yale's most dynamic playmakers since she arrived on campus from Germany three years ago. As a junior last season she earned first team All-Mideast Region and first team All-Ivy League honors. She finished with 15 assists, one away from the school record, thanks in large part to her work as stick-stopper on penalty corners. She also added a pair of goals.
Junior Mary Beth Barham dramatically upped her offensive production in 2010. She totaled 12 points (4-4-12) as a sophomore after notching five as a freshman, when she was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection. Last season she earned Yale's Coaches' Award, given to the player who exemplifies principles, direction and persistence in pursuit of field hockey excellence at Yale.
Sophomore midfielder Georgia Holland shared Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors last season, making her the fourth player in Yale field hockey history to earn that honor. In addition to her offensive contributions -- four goals and six assists -- Holland also excelled defensively. She made five defensive saves, including several of the acrobatic variety. She was also a second team All-Ivy League selection. After spending part of her summer playing in USA Field Hockey's Senior National Championship, Holland looks ready for another stellar season.
Like Borgo and Holland, sophomore Emily Schuckert also appeared in all 17 games as a freshman last season, giving Yale's sophomore class a rare amount of experience. Schuckert earned her way onto the field with her athletic skills, but it was her intangibles that earned her the team's Senior Award, given by the senior class to a freshman team member who reflects positive contribution to the team's philosophy and whose individual character encourages the future direction and excellence of Yale field hockey.
The Yale backfield is once again led by team captain Erin Carter, who has played in all 51 games of her Yale career (48 starts). Carter's All-Region and All-Ivy honors last year reflect not just her contributions as a top tackler, but also the offensive contributions she makes as one of the top strikers on Yale's penalty corner unit. Over the past two seasons Carter has 16 goals, more than any other player on the team in that span. That includes six game-winners.
Chelsey Locarno has started every game the past two years. Locarno's athleticism enables her to play virtually any position on the field, and each spring she plays for the Yale softball team. Last year she shared Yale's Coaches' Award with Barham.
Another senior, Taylor Sankovich, emerged as a starter last season and made the most of her opportunity. Like Carter, she made her offensive contributions on the corner unit, and finished the season with 16 points (7-2-16) after totaling three points in her first two seasons.
Junior Lexy Adams continued her steady progression last season, appearing in 12 games after making it into four as a freshman. Adams also made the biggest contribution of all off the field, donating marrow to help save the life of a patient with cancer after the season ended.
The freshman class includes Megan Kirkham (Courtice, Ont.), who was a member of the Canadian Junior National Field Hockey Team Training Squad. Kirkham was a four-time team MVP at Courtice Secondary School, leading the team in scoring three times. Grace McInerney (Blue Bell, Pa.), sister of Yale football offensive lineman Michael McInerney, led William Penn Charter in scoring every year since her sophomore season. She has also been a USA Field Hockey Futures participant.
Junior Ona McConnell now has two years of experience after coming over from England, where she was her club team's MVP. She saw her first game action last year, and did not allow a goal in 30:09. She is also the inspiration behind the team's "Get a Grip" campaign for the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, as she was diagnosed with that disease during her freshman year. The fact that she continues to play despite battling the effects of her illness is one of the reasons why last year she won Yale's Amanda Walton Award, given by the players and coaching staff to that team member who demonstrates the ability to confront challenges, displaying the courage to overcome them, while inspiring teammates with her work ethic and unselfish attitude.
Sophomore Emily Cain appeared in seven games last season as part of a goaltending platoon before being sidelined by injury for the final six games. She had some impressive stretches, finishing with 31 saves while allowing just nine goals in 245 minutes.
Freshman Heather Schlesier (San Diego, Calif.) joins the Bulldogs from Torrey Pines High, where she was a first team All-County selection. She was also a USA Field Hockey Futures participant.
The 17-game slate for Yale starts at Johnson Field on Sept. 3 against Stanford, which was ranked No. 19 in the final poll last season. That game also marks the kickoff of Yale's "Get a Grip" fundraising campaign for the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation in honor of Ona McConnell.
In addition to the seven Ivy League games -- starting vs. Harvard on Sept. 17, Alumnae Day -- the Bulldogs have 10 non-league games. Overall there are seven teams on the schedule that were ranked or received votes in the final 2010 national poll and five that took part in the NCAA Tournament. The regular season wraps up with Senior Day at Johnson Field on Nov. 5 vs. Brown.
Live stats of every game will be available on yalebulldogs.com.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity