In 2010, the Connecticut College field hockey team proved that they could compete with the top teams in the NESCAC. After qualifying for the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the second straight year, the Camels lost a close quarterfinal match up to the Division III national champs at Bowdoin College.
With a solid starting line-up in place, the Camels will look to build on their post-season experience in 2010, a year that saw the Camels post a perfect 5-0 mark against non-conference foes.
The Camels will be tested early and often with six NESCAC institutions ranked among the top 20 in the Kookaburra/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III Pre-Season Poll.
Connecticut College head field hockey coach Debbie Lavigne anticipates an exciting 2011 season for Camel field hockey fans.
"We're really hoping to pick up where we left off," Lavigne said. "Our starting group played together all of last season. We feel like we have the experience to be a playoff team."
Seniors Liz Rosenfeld, Kelly Watkins, and junior Brittany Fitzgerald will lead the Camels onto the turf as 2011 tri-captains.
Watkins, a 2010 Longstreth/NFHCA All-New England West Region performer, and Rosenfeld are both talented defenders, who will win their share of battle in the trenches.
Fitzgerald, the team's leading returning scorer, accounted for seven goals, five assists and 19 points in 2010 and also holds the critical role as the inserter on penalty corners.
The Camels will look for sophomore Paige Murray and junior Emily Scribner to join Rosenfeld and Watkins as starters in the backfield.
In the midfield, the Camels return an experienced group. Sophomore Andrea Hoisington earned the confidence of the coaching staff with her skilled play on the outside. Classmate Kat Barker anchors the middle. Junior Kelsey Nickerson has one of the best sticks on the squad and will start on the right. Sophomore KK Logan will also contribute to this group.
Up front, the Camels welcome the return of senior Lauren Gaffny, who missed most of the 2010 season to injury after a strong pre-season. The Camels will look to Gaffny to finish around the cage as a skilled power forward. Fitzgerald will look to build on her successful 2010 season on the left side. Junior Ali Holland earned a starting job in her first year with the program last year and has the speed to create her own offense in transition.
Junior Hanna Wagner will be relied for offensive contributions as an experienced returnee. Sophomore Laura Sanderson should also see plenty of action.
In goal, the Camels will count on a pair of first year players. Becca Napolitano (Hamden, Conn.) and Mo Smolskis (Kensington, Md.) will share time in the cage.
Lavigne will welcome back a familiar face to Camel fans this fall. Abby Hine '10, returns as Lavigne's lead assistant coach this fall. Hine, a 2010 NFHCA All-American is the college's all-time leading scorer and should provide plenty of support and tutelage to the offensive unit.
Morgan Rein, a 2010 graduate of Springfield College and 2009 selection to the Longstreth/NFHCA All-America squad will join the Camels as an assistant coach this fall.
The Camels will open their season Thursday night with a 6:00 p.m. game at Eastern Connecticut State University. After traveling north to Colby for their NESCAC opener Saturday, the Camels will return to New London to host the Springfield College Pride for a 4:30 p.m. game Sept. 14.
September 7, 2011