Holy Cross Field Hockey Prepares For 2007 Season

Aug. 13, 2007

By Megan Cross
Special to GoHolyCross.com

2006 saw the Crusaders finish with one of their best seasons ever with an overall record of 14-6. The team was 4-1 in conference play and made its 10th straight appearance in the Patriot League Tournament, advancing to the title game for the seventh time in the past 10 years.

Holy Cross had a record breaking season, setting the longest winning streak in school history (10) and tying the all-time record for most goals in a season (59). Nationally, head coach Meg Galligan's group ranked in eight different categories in 2006 including scoring margin (14th), winning percentage (tied 14th), scoring average (15th), goals per game (tied 16th), points per game (17th), assists per game (19th), goals against average (22nd) and shutouts per game (tied 26th).

In the classroom in 2006, the Crusaders had two National Academic Squad selections and five players named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.

Following the great success of recent years, this season's team has high expectations that have become a standard for field hockey at Holy Cross. "The fabric of the 2007 squad will be a blend of eight returning starters and talented youth to help our program continue along its patch of success," said Galligan.

Although the Crusaders lost three of the top four scorers to graduation, Galligan saw players emerge during the spring's developmental season to fill the gap and continue where it left off last fall. The five senior starters will be the core group, packed with experience and familiarity with each other's playing style. The team will lean on the three juniors and the large sophomore class to step up their level of play in order to make a run for the 2007 Patriot League championship.

Galligan went on to say: "The squad went into their summer phase with a commitment to excellence and excitement for the upcoming season that makes me proud to be their head coach."

The frontline will be led by 2006 First Team All-League selection Sara O'Coin who was second on the team in scoring last season (13).

"Sara is extremely fast with great elimination skills to match," said Galligan. "She is a scoring threat while also adept at taking passes away from opposing backs and charging the net. Sara is our `go-to' player when the pressure is on."

Kristin Schulz is a junior who will use the experience she gained from playing in 19 games last fall to be a key role in keeping Holy Cross' historically dangerous frontline intact. "Kristin showed what she can bring to the table this spring in her assertive play and ability to initiate numerous scoring opportunities."

Sophomore Courtney Callahan saw action in 17 games last season with two starts. She will vie for a starting role this season as she is capable of playing on the front and midline. "Courtney has a wealth of potential and continues to improve steadily," said Galligan. "She has a keen sense for spatial awareness and quick stick handling skills."

Sophomore Katie Talbert will add depth to the frontline and will be a contender for a starting position. She shows all the signs of becoming a major scoring threat after coming off the bench in 13 games as a freshman. "Katie has excellent eye-hand coordination and circle play instincts." said Galligan.

Incoming freshmen Kara Gonnerman and Alanna Sikorski are both talented players with a skill set that can offer immediate help as forwards or midfielders.

The midfield will be led by senior starters Lauren Coletta and Katie Rowlenson. A Second Team All-League pick last season, Coletta will be a captain this year and in control at the center position. She will be relied upon for her proven solid defense and ability to move the ball up the field quickly. "Lauren's transition game is superb, offering added support for her teammates in most every play of the game," said Galligan.

Rowlenson is a versatile player who can start anywhere on the midline as well as up front if needed. "Katie is very quick with sound skills to match," said Galligan. "She has become adept at trapping opponents and initiating numerous fast break opportunities for the team."

Co-captain and senior Eli Skovron will anchor the defense unit from the backfield. As a Second Team All-League selection, she can be counted on to shut down opponents with the ball and minimize their scoring opportunities. She recorded 55 interceptions, 47 tackles and two defensive saves last season. "Eli is capable of leading our squad to another top 20 ranking for our defense," said Galligan. "Her calm presence in this pressure packed area of the field will be a positive influence on her teammates."

Senior Kim Powell is a returning starter with a great deal of experience as a back. With her vocal leadership and creative restart skills she will play a key position for the team this season. "Kim's passionate spirit shines through as she is known to perform dynamic plays," said Galligan.

Jessie Cullen is a junior who has been plagued with injuries for two years, but now she is healthy and ready to go. With instincts for the game, she is likely to take a starting role in the midfield or backline. "Jessie is such a good athlete," said Galligan. "We look forward to having her back on the field."

After starting as a freshman last year at left back, Kaitlyn Barnes will round up an experience backline for this upcoming season. With 60 interceptions, 30 tackles and three defensive saves in her rookie season, she proves to have very sound defensive skills and continues to work hard to improve her attacking game. "Kaitlyn is the type of player one can rely upon to get the job done," said Galligan.

Sophomores Katie Aylward and Nora Happny saw action last fall and improved a great deal during the spring season. They will add strength to the group and will fight for a starting position.

Incoming players Brittany Gildea and Breezy Rush have a lot of potential and will offer immediate depth to the team.

"We are fortunate to have two excellent keepers in our program," said Galligan.

2006 Patriot League Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and a First Team All-League selection Erin Singleton had a successful sophomore season as a first-time starting goalkeeper. With her experience, she is capable of helping the defensive unit remain in the top 20. "She offers a commanding presence and sound technique in our cage," said Galligan.

Kelly Casey is a sophomore who saw action as a freshman. "She is full of talent and her abilities and instinct for the game add tremendous depth in this position," said Galligan.