2012 W&J Field Hockey Season Preview
Washington, Pa. – The Washington & Jefferson College field hockey team made history in 2011 by winning a conference championship and reaching the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in school history and appears primed to make another run in 2012.
After falling in the previous four Empire 8 Tournament Championship matches, W&J broke through with a pair of second-half goals to defeat Nazareth 2-1 in the championship game for its first league title.
W&J is led by sixth-year Head Coach Jomara Coghlan. Coghlan has a 65-30 record (.632) with the Presidents, including three 15-win seasons, the highest victory total in school history. The Presidents have reached the Empire 8 Conference Tournament finals in all five seasons under Coghlan.
Offensively, W&J averaged 2.7 goals per game, the second-highest mark in the conference and its top four scorers return. Senior Erin Barno tied for the league lead with 35 points (13g, 9a) and was selected First Team All-Empire 8 and All-North Atlantic Region. Barno netted the game-winning goal against Nazareth that clinched the Presidents’ NCAA Tournament bid. Classmate Jennifer Marabella, a three-time all-conference standout, has been the team’s leading goal scorer in each of the last three seasons. Marabella is the program’s all-time leading scorer with 101 points (46g, 9a) and has led the conference in goal scoring the last two seasons.
Joining Barno and Marabella as top offensive producers are fellow seniors Amanda Pflumm and Arielle King. Pflumm was the Presidents’ third-leading scorer with 26 points (8g, 10a), while King added five goals and seven assists for 17 points. Junior defender Tori Patrick will also be looked upon for scoring after netting five goals along with five helpers.
Senior Elizabeth Herb will provide a veteran presence in the Presidents’ midfield, with 50 games of experience during her collegiate career. Herb is a three-time member of the NFHCA Division III National Academic squad. She will be joined by sophomore Catherine Beaudoin, who appeared in 14 games last season.
W&J’s defense pitched five shutouts in 2011 and allowed just 1.47 goals per game, both the top marks in the Empire 8 Conference. The Presidents’ defense is led by senior Meaghan Thornlow, a Second Team All-Empire 8 performer. Thornlow made two defensive saves in 19 games and added a game-winning penalty stroke against Dickinson. She was also named Most Valuable Player during the Empire 8 Conference Tournament. Patrick and sophomores Stephanie Kapuschansky and Gina Taglieri will solidify W&J’s back line.
Goaltending will be an area of concern heading into the preseason following the graduation of starting goalkeeper Shelby Colyer. However, Coghlan is excited about freshmen goalies Morgan Brozena and Kira Bunker, who will battle for playing time during preseason camp.
The Presidents’ regular season begins on Sept. 6 when they travel to Bethany College to face the Bison at 7:00 pm. BC is fielding a varsity field hockey team for the first time since 1990 this fall.