2012 Field Hockey Season Preview
Aug. 16, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Wildcat Field Hockey is bringing experience and self-assurance into the 2012 season. After making the BIG EAST Championship Tournament for the first time in five years, Villanova remains hopeful for yet another try for the BIG EAST Title as they are returning nine seasoned starters from last year. Head Coach, Joanie Milhous, has full confidence in this year's squad, "We are really looking forward to this upcoming season. We have great leadership and many experienced players who are committed to taking this team to the BIG EAST Championships." Milhous enters her 18th season at Villanova with a 176-155 record (a .532 winning percentage) and with her squad looking to continue to make waves as one of the best contenders in the NCAA.
The 2012 roster includes a strong upperclassmen presence, highlighted by senior tri-captains Moriah Allen (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy), Kristen Davila (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) and Amy Jackson (Columbia, Pa./Hempfield). The Wildcats will also rely heavily on their younger players, including this year's group of sophomores who combined for 20 of Villanova's 30 goals in 2011. One sophomore in particular, Jessica Swoboda (Hanover Township, Pa./Wyoming Seminary), led the team offensively in goals (7), assists (7), and game-winning goals (3).
The Wildcats will add into the mix six newcomers after the departure of three seniors last year, including captain, Jordan Lynn, Mallary Kile and most notably, goalkeeper Megan Goelz, who posted 119 saves in her final season. Freshmen Carolynn Clark (Haddonfield, N.J./Haddonfield), Erin Gorse (Glenshaw, Pa./Shadyside Academy), Kayla Kenney (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South), Taylor Kidwell (Reinholds, Pa./ Cocalico), Ann Romanowski (West Pittston, Pa./Wyoming Seminary) and Ashton Whalen (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff) will all be working hard for turf time this season as Villanova makes another run for the BIG EAST Championships.
Leading the offense are sophomores Leah High (Green Lane, Pa./Upper Perkiomen) and Jessica Swoboda, who last season scored a combined 13 of VU's 30 goals and tallied nine combined assists as an attack line. Villanova will rely on experienced juniors Celise Feller (Lower Gwynedd, Pa./Plumstead Christian) and Jenna Allen (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury); both players saw action in nearly every game of 2011. The Wildcats will also look to junior, Christine Lafferty (Medford, N.J./Holy Cross) and freshman, Kayla Kenney to add more intensity and aggression on the front line.
Villanova's powerful midfield will contribute to the team's success both offensively and defensively. Sophomore Lauren Wilson (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey) netted five goals for the Wildcats last season and plans to bring the same scoring force into 2012. Wilson's nine points (4 goals, 1 assist) during conference play earned her the number nine (tie) ranking in the BIG EAST. Returning at midfield is co-captain, Amy Jackson and three-year starter, Olivia Maggitti (West Chester, Pa./Villa Maria Academy). Jackson tallied three goals and three assists in 2011, while contributing as an integral part in VU's defense. Maggitti also scored three goals in her junior season and with 53 game appearances in her career, the Wildcats will need to utilize her experience.
Junior Keira Zambon (Medford, N.J./Merion Mercy Academy) stepped up last season tallying a goal and two assists, while also keeping the Wildcats'midfield line controlled and strong defensively. Villanova will also look to sophomores Andrea Conte (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) and Emily Paolino (Villanova, Pa./Episcopal Academy) for added support on the midfield line, while freshmen Carolynn Clark and Ann Romanowski will seek action on the field in their first collegiate seasons.
The Wildcats return a strong and skillful defensive line in the upcoming season. Returning leaders include senior co-captains Moriah Allen and Kristen Davila. Allen has appeared in 50 career games and her experience and leadership will be imperative in the backfield. Davila has also seen a lot of time on the turf, appearing in 47 career games at VU and has added to the mix offensively, earning two goals and two assists in 2011.
Also backing up VU in 2012 are senior Kendall Kreisl (Voorhees, N.J./Bishop Eustace Prep) and junior-starter, Maddy Harding (Warrington Pa./Central Bucks). With the addition of sophomores Allison Flitter (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) and Abigail Freitag (Bridgeton, N.J./Cumberland Regional) and newcomers Taylor Kidwell and Ashton Whalen, Villanova's defense will be tough to beat.
With a starting goalie spot up for grabs, junior Alex Diekmann (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) will look to gain some much anticipated turf time after two years of experience under Goelz.
Newcomer, Erin Gorse, will also be vying for some minutes on the field in hopes to make an impact during her freshman season.
Villanova expects to face four 2011 NCAA Tournament teams as well as eight squads that either ranked or received votes in the final Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Poll for the 2011 season.
The team is scheduled to open their season in the Robert Morris Tournament followed by a game at Rider University. During the first week of September, the Wildcats will play a pair of matches at Villanova Stadium against LaSalle and St. Francis. Mid-month, the squad will enter its most difficult stretch of the season, first playing the 2011 NCAA second place team, UNC in Newark, Del. The next game will be the first BIG EAST action of the season at 2011 Conference Champion, Syracuse and after a week of rest, Villanova's schedule brings them back home to take on BIG EAST powerhouse, Connecticut. Villanova will finish out the month of September with a pair of games at Rutgers and at home versus Bryant, respectively.
The month of October will open with a three-game away stretch at St. Joseph's, Liberty and Richmond. Villanova will play two conference matches versus Providence at home and Louisville on the road. VU will then go on to play at Indiana. The regular season rounds out for Villanova Field Hockey with two home matches versus Philadelphia-rivals Penn and BIG EAST Conference-matchup Georgetown. The Wildcats will enter postseason play beginning with the BIG EAST Tournament in Louisville, Ky. on November 3rd followed by the start of the NCAA Tournament on November 10th.