Aug. 26, 2003
Under head coach Anne Wilkinson, the 2003 Ohio State field hockey team will look to improve throughout the season and gain experience as a young squad. After an 8-10 record, including a 2-4 mark in the Big Ten, in 2002, the Buckeyes spent the offseason improving their skills, training, focus and accountability in hopes of overall improvement.
“We had a major breakthrough in the spring with understanding the importance of the speed of the game,” Wilkinson said. “The squad improved on thinking and reacting quickly. I believe the biggest strength of the team will be our hunger and desire for success this year.”
The Buckeyes’ level of confidence and leadership should show this season. The coaching staff will count on seniors Vanessa Immordino and Jenee Doto, along with junior Lucy Clayton, to step up and guide the group of newcomers.
A Swift Attack
Immordino, a two-time All-American, returns to provide the Buckeyes with a strong offensive threat by utilizing her speed, vision and playmaking skills. A three-year starter, she played in all 18 games last season and led Ohio State with 18 goals. Immordino also was first on the squad in points (26) and shots on goal (38).
Joining Immordino up front will be freshmen Curlyne Wynn and Florencia Stier. The duo bring years of experience to the field will look to show off their quickness.
“A key for the offense this season is the addition of Curlyne and Florencia, two speedy forwards,” Wilkinson said. “The freshmen duo combines with Vanessa to form an even stronger attacking unit in the offensive zone.”
Junior Meg Lake, sophomore Katelin Condon, and redshirt freshman Stacie Hassman return from last season. In addition, junior Deen Rebstock, who saw action in 14 games last year, will split time at the forward and midfield positions.
Doto, Clayton and sophomore Leticia Fragapane will lead the group of Buckeye midfielders after strong campaigns in 2002. Doto, a three-year starter, saw action at both the midfield and defensive positions last season. As a junior, she tallied one goal and contributed nine assists, the second highest total on the team. Clayton, a two-year starter, recorded three goals last year and will be looked to as an offensive threat out of the midfield. Fragapane tallied two goals and two assists in her debut season as a Buckeye and is expected to be a key player at midfield.
“We will have an experienced and flexible midfield unit this year that can handle the demands placed on the field,” Wilkinson said. “The balance of attacking and defending midfielders allows us the flexibility to play in different formations.”
Freshmen Renee Rossi, Saskia MĽller and Kate Hauck will join the returning Buckeye midfielders.
Rebstock and freshmen Lauren Kruse and Christina Hewitt will see playing time at the midfield and forward positions for Ohio State.
The Buckeye defense will be looking to fill the slots of two graduating co-captains from a year ago, but return the experience of juniors Cammie Trainer and Laura Rosenwinkel. Competing in all 18 games, Trainer recorded four points and a defensive save last season. Rosenwinkel had an impressive spring and is expected to see more playing time in the backfield after participating in six contests in 2002.
“We have five solid defenders this season, which gives us the option to play with three or four players in the back,” Wilkinson said.
A quintet of freshmen, Meghan Brookhart, Jessica Gofgosky, Kate Hauck, Natalie Jones and Katie Murphy also will be competing for time at defense.
Competition for the starting spot at goalkeeper features two underclassmen in returning sophomore Lindsay Williams and freshman Tory Krauss. Williams saw action in four games, including two starts in 2002. She recorded nine saves and one shutout with a 2-1 record. Krauss comes to Ohio State after helping Ottawa Hills High School to a regional championship during her senior year. She also played for Team Detroit in the 2002 National Futures Tournament.
“Each of the goalkeepers has her own strengths and different styles of play so it will depend on the opponent as to who we feel is the better match-up,” Wilkinson said.
Scouting the Big Ten
The Big Ten Conference will feature another competitive season in 2003. Coming off an appearance at the NCAA championship game, Penn State returns two of the four All-Americans in seniors Heather Conroy and Timarie Legel.
Michigan, coming off an 18-4 season, will be out to defend its Big Ten regular-season crown. The Wolverines return eight starters, including three All-Americans in seniors April Fronzoni, Stephanie Johnson and Kristin Gannon.
The Spartans of Michigan State defeated Michigan in the 2002 Big Ten Tournament and also will be another top contender in the conference. MSU closed last season with a 23-3 mark, including an appearance in the NCAA semifinals.
Ohio State, Indiana, Northwestern and Iowa will be looking for improvements in 2003 and the battle for wins in conference games will be fierce.
The Buckeyes open up the 2003 season with a three-game road trip to the west coast. The squad will battle with California before heading to Palo Alto, Calif., for contests against Pacific and Stanford.
Ohio State returns home to the North Turf Field for a five-game home stand against Kent State, Radford, Ohio, Louisville and Southwest Missouri State. A five-game road trip follows, including a game against powerhouse Maryland Oct. 5 in College Park, Md.
The Buckeyes return home to open the Big Ten schedule against Iowa prior to traveling south to take on Miami (Ohio) in Oxford, Ohio. Indiana and Michigan come to Columbus before the Buckeyes cap off the regular season at Michigan State.
Penn State plays host to the Big Ten tournament Nov. 7-9 in University Park, Pa.