Aug. 19, 2004
With 19 letterwinners returning, the Ohio State field hockey team will rely on its wealth of experience to guide it in the 2004 season. The Buckeyes, led by head coach Anne Wilkinson, will combine their defensive prowess and agressive attack to produce scoring chances.
“We are a heavy attacking team, which focuses on reading and adjusting to our opponents,” Wilkinson said. “With this year’s leadership, we are looking to possess and counterattack the ball more.”
In 2003 Ohio State compiled a 13-7 record, finished third in the conference regular season and fourth in the 2003 Big Ten Tournament. The 2004 squad, composed of a good mixture of poised forwards, speedy outside midfielders, and a solid structure of defenders, will look to increase its success in the upcoming season.
Seniors Lucy Clayton and Deen Rebstock will lead the Buckeye attack. Using thier competitive spirit and physical nature to gain an advantage, Clayton will create finishing opportunities and will be a dangerous player inside the circle. In 2003, the All-Big Ten selection led the squad in shots (92) and was second in goals (15) and points (37).
Buckeye forward Rebstock will have more scoring opportunities in 2004 She has good vision on the field and creates space around the ball and in the circle. Last season, Rebstock produced three goals and three assists, while starting 19 OSU contests.
Sophomore Lauren Kruse is considered one of the most versatile players on the team and will step up in Ohio State’s offensive strategies. In addition to Kruse, Stacie Hassman and Meg Lake also will play a pivotal role in the Buckeyes’ scoring situations.
“We will have very good speed and good one-on-one abilities this season,” Wilkinson said.
Sophomore Curlyne Wynn and freshman Yesenia Luces will represent an attacking midfield that contains tremendous speed. Labeled an unpredictable player because of her swiftness, Luces will become a difficult player to locate on the field.
Wynn, the 2003 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, is noted for her talent to create scoring opportunities for her teammates. In 2003, Wynn posted seven assists to complement her six goals. With her stick skills and passing ability, she is considered one of the best team players on the OSU squad.
Joining Luces and Wynn in manufacturing offensive power are junior Katelin Condon, sophomores Jessica Gofgosky, Katie Murphy and Renee Rossi, and freshmen Dana Greenhut and Honor Hansen.
“It is important we are strong and organized and make an effective transition from the backfield to the front line,” Wilksinson said.
In the Buckeyes’ emphasis on pressuring the opponent to surrender the ball, OSU will possess a solid backfield composed of Leticia Fragapane, Saskia Mueller and Cammie Trainer. All three players will act as a solid defensive unit seizing the ball and generating attacking opportunities.
As a junior, Fragapane will continue to illustrate her consistency on the field as a defensive player. During the 2003 campaign, the All-Big Ten honoree started 19-of-20 games.
Mueller, who captured a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week accolade during 2003, will bring composure and balance to the squad.
“Saskia is considered one of the best student-athletes in the Big Ten,” Wilkinson said. “She will be capable of receiving the ball under triple threat situations.”
As the 2003 conference and team leader in assists (11), Trainer is a natural leader on and off the field. The senior defenseman will lend her calmness to the team’s game plan.
Helping in limiting the opponent in its scoring opportunities, senior Laura Rosenwinkel also will see action at defender, along with sophomores Meghan Brookhart and Natalie Jones. The trio of freshmen joining the Buckeye backfield includes Mara Adelman, Jamie Gofgosky and Kelly Terwilliger.
Goalkeepers Tory Krauss and Lindsay Williams will share time in the net in 2004. Last season, Krauss generated 11 saves and a 2-1 record as a freshman. Williams finished the 2003 season first in saves per game in the Big Ten and, in addition to her 101 saves, Williams compiled a 12-7 record.
“This season we are looking to limit the quality of shots our opponents will have on goal,” Wilkinson said. “It also will be important for our team defense to collect the rebounds.”
Ohio State boasts a freshman class which is comprised of strong, hardworking and talented student-athletes who will contribute to the team as they gain more experience on the collegiate level.
Adelman, Gofgosky and Greenhut are steady and consistent players with the ability to break down their opponents. All three players are thoughtful in their approach to the game, which in turn will help the Buckeyes make better decisions on the field. Hansen and Terwilliger’s physical presence on the field will aid OSU in outworking their opponents, therefore allowing the team to stay in the play of each game much longer. Luces’ speed is an attribute that will complement the speed of Wynn in creating numerous scoring options.
“Each year we try to bring in a class that will raise the level and tone of the team,” Wilkinson said. “We have achieved this in recruiting athletes that have a tireless work rate and a desire to be the best.”
Ohio State’s 2004 schedule features several top perennial teams in the nation, including many squads in the Big Ten. In the past three years at least one Big Ten team has made an appearance in the NCAA championship semifinals each year.
“If you can put yourself at the top of the Big Ten, you can put yourself in the position to compete in the championships,” Wilkinson said. “Top to bottom every team in the Big Ten is strong and this season anything can happen.”
Before conference play commences, the Buckeyes begin the regular season with four road contests against Maine, Vermont, Wake Forest and Kent State. OSU returns to North Turf Field for a three-game homestand vs. Miami (Ohio), Ball State and Penn State before traveling to Louisville, the 2003 MAC champions. The Scarlet and Gray then will play host to Michigan State, the 2003 Big Ten Champions, and Central Michigan. OSU is on the road for seven of its remaining eight games, meeting Northwestern at home, but traveling to Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana. Ohio State also faces non-conference opponents Pacific at Iowa, California at Michigan and St. Louis at Indiana.
The 2004 Big Ten Tournament returns to Northwestern University Nov. 5-7, the site of Ohio State’s last conference title (2001).