PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 26, 2013) – Entering its 40th year of intercollegiate competition, the Rutgers University field hockey team looks to continue an upward trend of success under second-year head coach Meredith Long. RU returns seven starters, four of its five top scorers and 13 letterwinners from the 2012 campaign.
The Scarlet Knights concluded the season with a 9-10 overall record. The nine wins for RU mark the second most victories the program had posted in 14 years, despite a challenging schedule that featured six nationally-ranked opponents.
Included in the returners for RU are upperclassmen Lisa Patrone (Washington Township, N.J.) and Jenn Staab (Marmora, N.J.), and sophomore Alyssa Bull (Oakville, Ontario). All three Scarlet Knights were honored by the conference for their athletic accomplishments, garnering All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades. Bull was also named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, becoming the first player in program history to receive the honor.
Rutgers welcomes seven newcomers who will join the 13 returners in an attempt to make the Scarlet Knights a top tier team in the newly-formed BIG EAST.
The Scarlet Knights bring in seven freshmen to add depth to the talented returning class from the 2012 roster. A well-rounded recruiting class, Long’s squad welcomes the addition of two midfielders, two forwards, two backs and a goalkeeper.
“I could not be more thrilled about the class we have coming in this fall,” commented Long. “Each of the girls brings a new dimension to the team, while keeping consistent with the playing style of Rutgers field hockey. The coaches are certain that this freshman class will make an immediate and obvious impact.”
Goalie Shevaun Hayes (Melbourne, Australia) joined the squad this past spring, while midfielder Elyse Broderick (Manahawkin, N.J.), back Devon Freshnock (Middletown, N.J.), forward Sarah Regn (Shamong, N.J.), forward Rachel Yaney (Bridgewater, N.J.) and back Sofia Walia (Surrey, British Columbia) were announced in early May.
Long completed the roster with the addition of midfielder Ashpal Bhogal (Leeds, England) during the summer.
The backfield will be anchored by seniors Laura Rose (Washington Township, N.J.) and Kaitlyn Plouse (Lower Dauphin, Pa.), and sophomore Ali Stever (Ocean City, N.J.), who all saw considerable action during the 2012 campaign. Also returning from last year’s squad are Emily Strong (Medford, N.J.) and Carley Hawkins (Harrisburgh, Pa.).
Following a solid junior season, Rose moved into a tie for 10th in the RU record books for defensive saves with seven. The last player to enter the top-10 in the category was Tiffany Klebez, who graduated in 2004 and currently sits in second place with 19 saves.
Newcomers Walia, Bhogal and Freshnock will play key roles in the backfield, while first-year player Broderick will also work into the backfield rotation.
At the midfield postition, Long is certain that the trio of Sophie Wright (Devizes, United Kingdom), Staab and Bull will be a dangerous combination for opponents throughout the season.
Bull, the reigning BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, will aim to build on an impressive freshman season in which she finished second on the team in points with 17. Her five goals on the year were tied for third on the squad, while her seven assists were a team-best.
Nicole Imbriaco (Clark, N.J.) will rotate through the outside mid positions and will also see time on the forward line. Stever will also see time at the midfield position.
The 2013 forward line returns two of the team’s top goal scorers from last year in Patrone and senior Danielle Freshnock (Middletown North, N.J).
Patrone tallied a team-high 19 points on eight goals and three assists and was a three-time BIG EAST Player of the Week. The New Jersey native earned one of her three honors after a stellar outing against conference rival Georgetown (Oct. 5), when she recorded the first hat trick of her career to lead the Scarlet Knights to a commanding 5-1 victory.
Freshnock tied for third on the team in goals with five and finished third in points with 16 after dishing out six helpers.
Sophomore Katie Champion (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) and freshmen Yaney and Regn will also work through the forward rotation.
At the goalie position, the Scarlet Knights return a veteran keeper in senior Sarah Stuby (Roxbury, N.J.). Last year, Stuby started all 19 games between the pipes and blocked a career high 100 shots. In three years she has amassed 239 stops and she currently sits at ninth all-time in the Scarlet Knights’ annals with a 2.41 goals against average.
Stuby recorded a career-best 11 saves against No. 5 UConn (Sept. 15) and No. 6 Maryland (Oct. 26).
First-year player Shevaun Hayes will also compete for time in net.
“There is no doubt that this season's schedule is one of the most challenging the Rutgers field program has ever faced, but I have every faith that this team can face that challenge head-on,” commented Long. “Games against powerhouses such as Old Dominion and Duke will not only be great matchups, they will also provide us with the perfect preparation for our move to the Big Ten. We are very much focused on our targets for this season and I believe that we can achieve something special. Now, I'm just looking forward to when the first whistle blows next Saturday at the start of our season opener against Boston College.”
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