Sept. 2, 2009
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Three years ago, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's field hockey team had their best season ever, finishing one game away from a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the Corsairs tied for second place in the Little East Conference and advanced to the conference semi-finals. This season, UMass Dartmouth hopes to continue moving up, and challenge for the LEC title and the automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.
"Our returning players from last year are even stronger, and our incoming freshmen are where we need them to be," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Nicole Castonguay. "Depth will be one of our strengths, our skill is ahead of where we've been, and now we're in our fourth year, when all the recruits and the program are officially yours. The foundation has been laid, and if we can win the games we're supposed to win, it should be a fantastic season."
"We have people who can out the ball in the net, strong communication and strong attacking defenders," said Castonguay. "We attack as a team and defend as a team. (Junior forward) Stephanie Kinchla (Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS/Quinnipiac) can find the net, and she can also find someone else who can put the ball in the net, and that's double trouble. (Freshman forward) Eleanor Taylor (Fairhaven, MA/Bishop Stang HS) is very dangerous in front of the net, and we also have (junior) Natalie Brown (Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS), (junior) Jacke Anderson (Medway, MA/Medway HS) and (freshman) Erica Allan (Amherst, MA/Amherst HS), who will make an impact up front." Kinchla led the LEC in goals, points and game-winning goals last season, earning first team All-Conference and All-Region honors.
"Inn the midfield, we have a returning first team All-Conference player in (senior) Kylie Treat (Hampstead, NH/Pinkerton Academy), with (junior) Kellie Finn (Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS/St.Michael's) also returning. As far as I'm concerned, (senior) Laurie David (Yarmouthport, MA/Dennis-Yarmouth HS) has been one of the best defenders in the conference for the last three years, and (freshman) Taryn Cardiel (Moorpark, CA/ Moorpark HS) will make an immediate impact in the back." Other players expected to contribute include defenders Danielle Nelson (Sr. East Brookfield, MA/David Prouty HS), Becca Festinger (Jr. Greenfield, MA/Greenfield HS), Kate Dorrance (Jr. Rehoboth, MA/Dighton-Rehoboth HS), Maille Lynch-Gilbert (So. Petersham, MA/Quabbin Regional HS), Michaela Johnston (Fr. Mansfield, MA/Mansfield HS) and Denise Gates (Fr. Feeding Hills, MA/Agawam HS); and midfielders Linee Mello-Frost (Jr. New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS), Abby Zarotny (Fr. Waitfield, VT/Harwood Union HS), Devan DePhillips (Whitehouse, NJ/Hunterdon Central Regional HS), and Kristen Walsh (Norwood, MA/Norwood HS).
Senior Seana Golden (Somerset, MA/Bishop Stang HS), who earned first team All-Conference and first team All-New England West Region honors, and became the first Corsair to earn All-America honors since senior midfielder Robin Dziedzic (Palmer, MA/Palmer HS) was named third team All-America by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association two years ago, returns for her final year.
"Seana will be a huge strength in goal," said Castonguay. "Seana, Kylie (Treat) and Laurie (David) are the tri-captains, and they are amazing leaders and communicators who serve as an extension of the coaching staff. They have been with me for three years; they know what I want and what the team is capable of."
As usual, the schedule will be challenging. "We improved our non-conference schedule," said Castonguay. "Tufts and Trinity are ranked, and Endicott was 18-5 last year. We're looking at strong teams that will help us get prepared for our conference games."
UMASS DARTMOUTH FIELD HOCKEY