Building on the Foundation of Success: 2003 Villanova Water Polo Preview
Nov. 4, 2002
Throughout her five years as head coach, Allyson Gillespie has built the Villanova University women's water polo team into one of the most respected programs in the Mid-Atlantic region. After garnering national rankings just three years ago, expectations are high for the 2003 squad. With several key losses to graduation, Villanova will depend on its strong core of veterans and a talented freshmen class to regain a national ranking.
With leading scorer Erin Agee and goalkeeper Carly Sproul departed, Gillespie will look to her returning players and newcomers to fill both the offensive and defensive voids. Returning for her second year in the pool is Ellen Howe, a tremendous offensive threat who notched 50 goals last season. Joining Howe in the offensive fold is senior Maria Greshock. The lone senior on this year's squad, Gillespie is counting on Greshock to assume a leadership role as well as top her 15 goal 2002 season. Sophomores Aimee Corsiglia, Chesed Ceniseroz, and Sarah Oberhauser are coming off breakthrough freshman campaigns and will be looked upon for another solid offensive season. Newcomers Kimberley Pare and Monica Pommier enjoyed extremely successful high school campaigns and will give Gillespie more options for her potent offensive attack.
Anchoring the defense in goal this year will be sophomore Denise Hanes. Hanes gained valuable experience last season under former All-Mid Atlantic selection Sproul.
"Denise has played in enough games and gotten enough experience that I am looking for her to control the defense and also feed the counter attack," states Gillespie. Freshman Jessica Wells will back up Hanes in goal and is expected to make an impact with her passing abilities.
Also providing strength to the Villanova defense is junior Jennifer Rosick. After leading the team with 21 assists last year, Gillespie is looking for Rosick to assume a leadership role. Fellow junior Katherine Kidde also provides valuable depth and experience for the defense. Freshmen Paige Ormond, Christine Pinto and Regina Thorp are all solid defenders who will be called upon to adapt to the college game and start the counter attack.
"Although we're a young team (12 out of the 15 players are freshmen and sophomores), we're much more offensively minded this season," explains Gillespie. "As our freshmen get more game experience, I expect some promising things this season."
With all the pieces in place for a successful season and a wealth of speed and depth at every position, the Wildcats look to improve on its 7-23 record a year ago and begin a new era of Villanova University water polo.