Aug. 28, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – As was the case last year, the Ohio State field hockey team will open up its season on the west coast. The Buckeyes begin play against California at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday at Berkeley, Calif. The squad then travels to Stanford, Calif., where it will battle Pacific at 7 p.m. Sunday and finish up its road trip against Stanford at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

After finishing last season 8-10 and 2-4 in the Big Ten Conference, OSU is looking to rejuvenate its young group from a year ago. The Buckeyes managed to get past Iowa, 2-0, in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, but lost in the second round to Michigan, 3-2. Depsite the disappointing end to the season, OSU has promising begin-nings this season with the return of Vanessa Immordino, who earned First Team All-Big Ten honors. Immordino led the Buckeyes in scoring during the 2002 season and looks to continue her leadership role.

The Buckeyes open up the 2003 season with a three-game road trip to the west coast. 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.

Entering her ninth year at the helm of the California squad, head coach Shellie Onstead looks to senior Nora Feddersen to continue leading the Golden Bears to excellence. Feddersen earned All-America honors in 2002 and led the team in points (34) and shots (88).

The Golden Bears finished last season with a 15-7 overall mark, including a 6-0 record in the NorPac conference. Their outstanding record propelled them to No. 1 in the conference and a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Last season, Ohio State and California battled into overtime before OSU prevailed in a 1-0 win over the Golden Bears.

This season will mark the fifth meeting between the teams. The Buckeyes are 1-3 against the Golden Bears.

The Tigers will depend on senior forward Alexandra Fiorina to continue to lead the team in 2003. Fiorina also led the Tigers in shots (38) and goals (6) last season.

Joining Fiorina on the NorPac All-Conference team was Cameron Kato. Known mainly for her defensive play, Kato executed four of Pacific’s seven defensive saves last season. Kato’s efforts earned her NorPac Player of the Week during the year.

Entering her fifth season as head coach for the Tigers, Linda MacDonald is hoping to improve the 4-14 record her team posted in 2002.

Meeting for the fourth time, the Buckeyes hope to post their second consecutive victory against the Tigers. Ohio State is 2-1 all-time against Pacific, including a 3-0 shutout last year.

Led by senior forward, Noor Dawood, the Cardinal look to improve their 10-11 record from a year ago. Dawood, who started all 21 games last season, tallied 16 points and was named 2003 team captain.

Lesley Irvine begins her first season as head coach of Stanford. Irvine replaced Sheryl Johnson, who led the Cardinal for 17 seasons.

Last year marked the fourth time the Buckeyes and the Cardinal clashed. OSU has a 1-3 mark against Stanford, including a 1-0 overtime loss in Stanford, Calif., last year.

Despite the loss of prominent seniors, Michelle Ruebman, Jen Van Kirk, Camille Butcher, McKenzie Hufford and Stacey Todd, the OSU field hockey squad has many promising recruits that will bring forth an assortment of talent. The young squad looks forward to the upcoming season following an offseason of working towards improvements.

“We had a major breakthrough in the spring with understanding the importance of the speed of the game,” Anne Wilkinson, OSU head coach, said.

Vanessa 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.

Jenee Doto, Lucy 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,” Anne Wilkinson said. “The balance of attacking and defending midfielders allows us the flexibility to play in different formations.”

Freshmen Renee Rossi, Saskia Mller and Kate Hauck will join the returning Buckeye midfielders.

Deen 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.

OSU will get its first look at freshman Tory Krauss this season, who is competing for the starting postition for goalkeeper against sophomore Lindsay Williams. Krauss helped Ottawa Hills High School to a regional championship in 2002.

Other freshmen looking to make an immediate impact are Curlyne Wynn and Florencia Stier. Touted for their speed, Wynn and Stier have extensive experience on the field. Stier help catapult the Athletic River Plate club team to its 6th Division title in 2000.

Wynn, who was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Team, became the youngest female player to compete in the Championship Division. Wynn led the Notre Dame hockey club to the National Club Championship in 2001.

The Buckeyes played host to the 2003 Big Ten Tournament from Nov. 8-10 at North Turf Field. OSU advanced to the second round with a 2-0 victory over Iowa. The Buckeyes also played host to the second round of the Mercian Cup Collegiate Spring League at North Turf Field this past spring. They finished the tournament 3-3.

The 2003 Big Ten field hockey season begins this weekend, as all seven league teams are in action beginning Saturday. Defending conference champion Michigan opens against North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Ann Arbor. That event also will include Iowa facing Wake Forest, the 2002 NCAA Champions, as the Demon Deacons defeated Penn State in the championship game last season. The Nittany Lions will begin the campagin at Old Dominion in a rematch of the national semifinal in 2002, when PSU edged the top-seeded Monarchs to advance to the finals. Michigan State, the 2002 Big Ten Tournament Champion, also advanced to the NCAA semifinals last season and will battle Kent State in the season opener. Indiana and Northwestern also will be in action this weekend. The Hoosiers face Central Michigan Saturday and Miami (Ohio) Sunday. The Wildcats take on Boston College in Durham, N.H. Saturday.