Field Hockey in search of eighth straight
New England College field hockey finished their 2008 season with a 17-5 overall record and an impressive 7-1 conference record. The Pilgrims sailed through the playoffs winning their seventh straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) Championship and earning the program’s tenth trip to the NCAA Tournament. NEC field hockey has huge expectations in 2009 as the Pilgrims have been selected second in the TCCC Preseason Poll voted on by the conference’s head coaches. The Pilgrims received three of the conference’s nine first place votes.
The Pilgrims do return TCCC 2nd Team All-Conference forward Marissa Ayotte. Ayotte (Feeding Hills, Mass.) played in 20 games for the Pilgrims last season and finished second on the team with 30 points, including 13 goals and four assists. Also returning on offense for the Pilgrims will be junior Kate Carnaroli (Bellingham, Mass.) who finished third on the team with 17 points last season and sophomore Samantha Escobar (Rumney, N.H.) who netted three goals and dished out four assists a season ago.
Returning at the midfield position will be senior Ashley Simula. Simula (Bridgewater, N.H.) was named to 2nd Team All-TCCC last season starting 20 games for the Pilgrims. Helping out at midfield will be senior Khatiannna Evans (Wayne, Maine) and junior Brianna Gerrior (Gloucester, Mass.) Both Evans and Gerrior started all 22 games last season. Evans finished the season with a goal and three assists, while Gerrior finished fourth on the team in scoring with six goals and two assists.
The Pilgrim defense will be anchored by NFHCA 1st Team All-New England East goalie Mary Roux. Roux (Auburn, Mass.) started 21 games in net last season finishing with a 16-5 record and four shutouts. Joining Roux on defense will be senior Jamie Johnson (Lynnfield, Mass.) and junior Heather DiNapoli (Concord, N.H.) who both helped the Pilgrims hold opponents to just 1.39 goals per game last season.
Head Coach Susan M. Murray will look to her huge incoming class to make an immediate impact. The Pilgrims welcome eight first-year players including forward Kate-lyn Smith (Lyndonville, Vt.) who will look to pick up some of the scoring for the Pilgrims this season. First-year player Miranda Tinsman (Belgrade, Maine) and will see time at the midfield position, while Jennifer Adams (Brimfield, Mass.,) Rachel Carnaroli (Bellingham, Mass.) and Hilary O’Brien (N. Reading, Mass.) will look to make an impact at the defensive position..
The Pilgrims open their season on the road taking on Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7:00 p.m. NEC opens their home season on Wednesday, Sept. 9 when they take on non-conference opponent Wellesley College at 4:00 p.m.