Field Hockey Hopes Talented Group Will Bring Postseason Glory Anew
Issue   |   Thu, 08/31/2017 - 22:10
Peter Connolly '18
Mary Grace Cronin ‘18 will hope to lead a prolific Amherst offense.

Entering head coach Carol Knerr’s 17th season, the Amherst field hockey team is looking forward to a strong upcoming season. Only four members of last year’s squad graduated last spring, which leaves the team with 19 returning players. The team is also expecting six or seven first years to join them on the field this upcoming fall.

Overall, the Mammoths enjoyed a successful season last year. They concluded the 2016 season ranked 14th in the country, finishing with an overall 11-5 record (6-4 NESCAC). Amherst scored 55 total goals throughout the season, putting the ball in the back of the net on a remarkable 20% of their shots taken and averaging 18.9 shots per game and 3.4 goals per game.

Such solid offense provided the impetus for a run to the quarterfinals of last year’s NESCAC tournament. Unfortunately, third-seeded Hamilton defeated number six seed Amherst in a tight game, emerging victorious by a 1-0 scoreline.

On the defensive side of the field, Caroline Fiore ’18, Kendall Codey ’19, Gretchen Zungailia ’20 and Olivia Henkoff ’20, the core of last season’s defense, will be back.

Fiore, who garnered First Team All-NESCAC and New England West Region First Team honors last season, will be one of the team’s three captains this year.

Meanwhile, the Mammoths hope that the returns of Caroline Feeley ’18, Sloane Bessey ’18, Elizabeth Turnbull ’18, Shannon Tierney ’19, Megan Shea ’19, Debbie Newmark ’19, Laura Schwartzman ’20 and Elizabeth Sturley ’20 will solidify the midfield, an essential piece of the upcoming campaign.

Feeley and Turnbull, the latter of whom earned Second Team New England West Region recognition last season, are the other two captains for this season.

Mary Grace Cronin ’18, Katie Bergamesca ’18, Emery Sorvino ’19, Yasmeen Saeed ’20 and Heather Brennan ’20 make up the veteran forwards and will be tasked with spearheading the Amherst offense.

Surya Adams ’18 and Emilie Flamme ’20 will duel it out in a battle to be the starting goalkeeper this season.

In late May, the team went on an eight-day training trip in the Netherlands and Germany, one of the global hotspots for field hockey.

The Mammoths played against local club teams, one Dutch and one German, and had the opportunity to practice with European coaches.

In order to make this trip possible, the team fundraised by reaching out to Amherst field hockey alumni, running a local clinic for young children in the town and selling gear.

“The team is extremely optimistic and excited about the upcoming season,” Newmark said. “Everyone put in a lot of hard work this past year and over the summer, and it really shows!”

The Mammoths will open their season with an away game against Mount Holyoke on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7:15 p.m., while the team’s first home game will take place on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. against NESCAC foe Bowdoin.