2008 York College Field Hockey Preview

     The 2008 York College field hockey team enters this year’s campaign with a new resolve as they look to bounce back from a tough 2007. In order to rebound, the Spartans will rely heavily on a strong core of returning student-athletes,including their three All-Capital Athletic Conference performers, as well as a solid group of newcomers.
     Senior forward April McFarland headlines a collection of quality attackers that can put numbers on the board. McFarland, a 2007 All-CAC second-team selection, tallied double figures in the scoring column last year as she recorded a team-high eleven goals. The athletic senior will be called upon to not only put the ball in the back of the cage, but to also be a strong leader of a young group of forwards.
     Joining McFarland are junior Heather Re, sophomore Casey Lawrence, sophomore Lisa King, sophomore Katie Dawkins, sophomore Kelly Kreamer, and freshman Rachel Houck. Re is a tough forward who appeared in 20 Spartan contests as a sophomore. She has the ability to be a force in front of the cage and put up strong numbers. Lawrence saw action in all 21 games last season drawing 17 starts in just her freshman year. The quality experience should provide the talented and speedy forward with a great launching point to become one of the Spartan’s top offensive threats in 2008. King looks to blossom this year having gained significant experience as a rookie. Appearing in 17 contests, King recorded one goal and has the potential to become a solid scorer as her career progresses. Dawkins will look to add some pop to the offense as she enters her second season in the green and white. She should be an added dimension to the Spartan offense that can produce goals. Kreamer will add quality depth to the forward ranks. With consistent improvement and hard work Kreamer will have the opportunity to increase her minutes in 2008. Houck is a quality forward from nearby Kennard-Dale High School who will also vie for minutes on the front line.
     The midfield looks to be an area of strength for the York side, as the Spartans are loaded with quality talent and invaluable experience. Senior Casey Knauss, a 2006 and 2007 All-CAC second-team choice, is one of the top defensive-minded midfielders in the conference. She consistently breaks up opponents’ attacks and can quickly transition into York’s offensive end. Knauss will be looked to as a strong leader and quality performer.
     Junior Megan Spangler and junior Veronica Eltz return to the Spartan midfield while newcomer Allison Roush looks to make her mark in their first season with the green and white. Spangler is an intelligent and skillful midfielder who started all 21 Spartan games in 2007. Her
experience combined with hard work this off-season sets the stage for Spangler to have a big junior campaign. Eltz brings quality and steady play to the middle of the field. Her improvement last season should be followed by a strong 2008. Roush transfers into the Spartan program and will look to contribute right away in the Spartan midfield.
     Defensively, the Spartans are a fairly young squad, as York will rely on several underclassmen to put in strong performances. Junior Julie Reahl and sophomore Joan Shultis will be called upon to be consistent and tough presences in the backline. Reahl started all 21 games last season and will draw from her wealth of experience. Shultis is a quality defender who played in all 21 contests as a rookie and will look for even more significant contributions as a sophomore.
     Senior Laurel Sturner, sophomore Becky Reeves, and freshman Colleen O’Rourke will each need to provide the Spartans with high caliber play on the defensive end. Sturner has steadily improved throughout her career and comes into her senior campaign looking to hold down a starting position. Additionally, her leadership will be key in the Spartans’ defensive success. Reeves burst on the scene as a freshman, playing in 18 games and drawing nine starts. Her strong play last year puts Reeves in great position for the 2008 lineup. O’Rourke enters her rookie season looking to vie for minutes right from the start.
     Junior goalkeeper Claire Rekitzke returns to the Spartan cage following her All-CAC second-team selection last season. The seasoned and talented netminder set the Spartans’ single-season saves record with 161 stops in 2007. Rekitzke’s performance between the posts will be key to York’s success in 2008.
     The Spartans once again sport one of the toughest schedules in the CAC. York’s opponents had a 219-157 overall record in 2007 good for a winning percentage of 0.582. Salisbury and Lebanon Valley each landed in the Final Four while Juniata and Lynchburg were both listed in the NFHCA top 25 poll in 2007.
     Despite a tough road ahead of them, the 2008 edition of the Spartan field hockey squad sports a great mixture of talent, experience, leadership and hardworking, blue-collar attitude that could propel them to the upper echelon of the CAC.
     The Spartans open up the 2008 campaign against Albright on August 29 with a 4:30 pm tilt at York’s Kinsley Field.