Field Hockey Team Set For Opener

Sept. 3, 2003

The Yale field hockey team is coming off one of its finest seasons ever. The Bulldogs captured the ECAC crown for the second time in the program's history, and Yale was one of only two teams in the country to end 2002 with a post-season win. The Bulldogs ended the year with a school-record nine-game winning streak to finish at 12-7. Only two starters from that team have graduated, so fourth-year head coach Ainslee Lamb is optimistic for 2003.

Yale is led this season by six very talented seniors, five of whom played in 15 or more games last season. Fran Gardner, this year's captain, played in all 19 games and has shown great leadership qualities on and off of the field. Stephanie Dolmat-Connell, who was second on the team with six goals last year, has developed into an offensive threat.

Krissy Nesburg, a first team All-Ivy selection, has established herself as one of the top goalkeepers in the Ivy League. She has experience playing for the under-23 U.S. National Team. Joining Nesburg as a defensive anchor is Brooke Worthington, who started 15 games last fall. Lamb counts on her physical strength to dominate in the defensive circle. On the other side of the defense, Maureen Braun provides a spark of energy and is a major contrbiutor. She scored her first collegiate goal last season in a win over Vermont. The midfield is primarily run by Jana Halfon. With her stickwork and vision, Halfon has the ability to create opportunities for those around her. She should have an impact on every game this season.

The junior class is also highly skilled. Sarah Driscoll, a second team All-Ivy selection in 2002, and Meredith Hudson, who earned honorable mention All-Ivy recognition in 2002, are excellent two-way players. Driscoll led the team in points with 22 and tied a school record with 14 assists. Hudson led the team with eight goals and was second in points with 19. Elizabeth Topp, Meredith Howell and Chrissy Hall are also offensive threats. Topp and Howell have a tremendous shot selection and both will be used on offensive corners. Hall is a solid midfielder with great athleticism and consistency.

The sophomore class is coming off a strong showing in spring practice which followed an impressive inaugural effort last fall. Marly Gillece started 17 games, the most of any freshman, and was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week once. Bridget Henn, Katie Rivkin and Grace Morris will all be looking for some time on the midfield and forward lines. Hiromi Yoshida gained valuable experience last spring and hopes to earn time on defense. Kate Crandall will serve another season as the backup goalkeeper for Nesburg. Crandall has used this opportunity to improve her game under Nesburg's guidance.

Lamb is looking forward to the addition of this year's freshman class. Trish Bissett (Vancouver, BC), Jenn Slough (Silver Springs, MD), Casey Littlefield (Acton, MA), Lindsay Collins (Virginia Beach, VA), Heather Orrico (Southbury, CT), Emily Palilonis (Hightstown, NJ), Elizabeth Friedlander (Milwaukee, WI) and Rachel Lentz (Short Hills, NJ) are all well rounded athletes who have gained some great playing experience with their high school and extracurricular commitments, including the USFHA Futures, club teams and provincial programs.