Field Hockey Looks to Continue Their Success On and Off the Field
Issue   |   Thu, 09/01/2016 - 16:36

The Amherst field hockey team enters the 2016 season with 17 returning players after graduating five seniors, including second team All-American midfielder Annie Turnbull ’16. The purple and white finished the 2015 season 12-5 overall and 6-4 in the perennially competitive NESCAC. Under the leadership of tri-captains Katie Paolano ’16, Annika Nygren ’16 and Turnbull, the Amherst women advanced to the semifinal of the NESCAC tournament where they fell to ultimate NESCAC champion Bowdoin. Bowdoin went on to remain undefeated in postseason play until losing to NESCAC rival Middlebury in the national championship match.

Despite graduating a decorated senior class, the purple and white enter the 2016 season with a core group of strong returning players. Captains Emily Horowitz ’17 and Sydney Watts ’17 are both talented, veteran teammates. A dynamic and agile goalie, Horowitz is a two-time All-NESCAC honoree, garnering first-team laurels during the 2015 season. Horowitz was also named a Second Team ECAC All-New England All-Star for her accomplishments last season.

Standout junior center back, Caroline Fiore was also recognized by the NESCAC with her selection to the second-team in 2015. The returning all conference players are joined by New England West All-Region second-team honorees Sarah Culhane ’17E and Elizabeth Turnbull ’18. Fiore was also named to the All-Region Second-Team, while Horowitz nabbed first-team honors. These lauded athletes compose a skilled group of returning players. Beyond their veterans, the purple and white welcome five first-years to an already strong group.

Not only did the women of the Amherst field hockey team impress on the field last season, they also excelled in the classroom. By maintaining a cumulative team GPA of at least 3.0 through the first semester, the purple and white qualified as a ZAG/NFHCA National Academic Team. Additionally, 12 members of the field hockey team were given individual recognition for achieving a GPA of 3.30 or higher for the first semester. Sloane Bessey ’18 and Debbie Newmark ’19 were also named ZAG/NFHCA Scholars of Distinction for their impressive accomplishment of earning a GPA of 3.9 or higher through the first semester. The Amherst women continued to demonstrate their strength as student-athletes with the inclusion of 12 players on the fall NESCAC All-Academic team for the 2015 season.

Co-captain Watts is confident and optimistic about the future of the team. “This group of girls has so much potential,” she said. “We can win some of those tough games that have been a bit of a greater challenge for us in the past, especially if we can build confidence and execute solid hockey early in the season.”

Head coach Carol Knerr will lead the Amherst field hockey team in her 16th season. Coach Knerr is accompanied by assistant coaches Jonel Boileau and Meghan Peterson. Boileau and Peterson both return for their second season at Amherst. With the guidance of this knowledgeable and devoted coaching staff, the women of the Amherst field hockey team are poised for a very successful run. The team will jump right into its season with its home opener against a competetive Mount Holyoke squad on Thursday Sept. 8 on Gooding Field and look to set the tone for a championship season.