August 10, 2005

Holy Cross Field Hockey Gears Up For 2005 Campaign

Aug. 10, 2005

Worcester, Mass. - With 12 letterwinners and six starters returning from last year, including three of the top four scorers on the team, the 2005 Holy Cross field hockey team is full of talent and is looking to raise the program's fourth Patriot League title in the last nine years. "We have a solid group of versatile athletes and we are excited about the depth that they will bring to our system this year," said head coach Meg Galligan.

FORWARDS: A Second Team All-Regional pick and First Team All-Patriot League selection, senior tri-captain Jenna Cook is anticipated to continue being a major scoring threat in 2005. Currently ranked seventh in both career goals and career points on the all-time scoring charts, Cook led the team in both points (33) and assists (nine), while scoring 12 goals, including three game-winners in 2004. "Jenna is a pure forward who brings endless energy and aggressiveness to the front line," said Galligan. "She has great touches on the ball and has superb spatial awareness, allowing her to direct our attack into shooting position."

The Crusaders also return their top scorer from a year ago in junior All-League performer, Tara Welch. Welch is also expected to be a consistent scoring threat this season. Last year, she led the team with 14 goals and was second on the team in points (31). "Tara is just as adept at deceptive passing as she is to putting the ball in the back of the net," said Galligan. "She is a real competitor and has great instincts to score. Her versatility and knowledge of the game also give us the option to use her to our advantage in the midfield."

Sophomores Carolyn Connelly, Sara O'Coin and Eli Skovron all made significant progress in the Spring and will compete for starting jobs in the Fall. According to Galligan, O'Coin is emerging on the scene as a front line threat. "Sara gained a lot of confidence in the off-season and showed her ability to eliminate defenders in one v. one situations by using her excellent speed to her advantage." Connelly and Skovron will give the team options on both the front and midlines. "`CC' and Eli made great strides in the Spring by improving their stick skills and showing their ability to make tactical decisions."

Newcomer Ashley Gutowski is expected to contribute to the team's depth at both the forward and midfield positions.

MIDFIELDERS AND BACKS: It will be difficult to replace the 2004 Patriot League Co-Defensive Player of the Year and All-Region selection in Cat Kerman, but the 2005 Crusaders return seasoned veterans Kelly Bogue and Susie Whelan to lead the midfield and backline. Bogue, who will serve as a tri-captain this season, is back on track after recovering from a knee injury a year ago. "Kelly's natural explosive speed and confidence are back intact," said Galligan. "She has a clear understanding of the game and will offer leadership with her directive talk in the backfield."

Like Bogue, Whelan will also return to the lineup with a lot of game experience, both having started all 19 games for the Crusaders last season. "Susie has a great deal of experience and talent. She has raised her game to a level where she can make an impact on the field under pressure. She is quick and aggressive and has a sparkplug presence."

Junior Laura Cohen will also bring a veteran prescence to the midfield, after starting all 19 games for HC last season. "Laura is a very smart player who has great vision and poise. She can play a small game but is best with her power hits. She is able to initiate fast break situations by threading balls through defensive walls to our front line."

Sophomore Katie Rowlenson has the potential to earn a starting position in the midfield and is versatile enough to play up front. "Katie made a dramatic improvement in the off-season with her skills and assertiveness. Her agility and quickness will offer attack momentum for her teammates this year." Sophomores Lauren Coletta and Kim Powell both showed improvements in the Spring, which Galligan expects to pay off this season. "Laura and Kim both have a great work ethic and they will no doubt be able to put their natural defensive instincts to good use as their skills and tactics continue to improve.

Freshmen Kristin Schulz, Jessie Cullen and Liz Morris will also add depth on the mid and backlines.

GOALKEEPERS: Returning in the cage for the Crusaders in 2005 is All-League performer Sony Kuhn. Kuhn, who will serve as tri-captain this season, led the League in shutouts (8) and was second in the League in goals against average (1.47) last season. Nationally, she finished seventh in save percentage (0.818) and was 19th in saves (126). "Sony is a natural leader who offers confidence in the net. She has a clear understanding of the game and does a good job of directing her defense. We trust her in our cage."

Freshman Erin Singleton is a much-needed second goalkeeper for the Crusaders. "Erin is coming in with a lot of experience beyond her own high school program. She will add immediate depth and strength to our goalkeeping," said Galligan.

The Crusaders, who are coming off an 11-8 (3-2/third Patriot League) season in 2004, will enjoy a 'home' season this year, hosting 11 games on their 18-game schedule. HC also has six Sunday afternoon contests this season, three of which will be played in Worcester. Holy Cross kicks off the 2005 campaign with a 6:00 p.m. match-up with Siena at home on Tuesday, August 30.

For all the latest updates on the Holy Cross field hockey team or any other of the school's 26 varsity sports, log on to www.GoHolyCross.com.