YORK, Pa. – The York College Field Hockey team looks to make the most of the 2011 season after an up-and-down 2010 campaign. The Green and White will utilize a mix of talented veterans and promising newcomers to help the squad achieve success in 2011.
"One of the things we want to improve on from last year is keeping momentum for a full 70 minutes each game," said fourth year head coach Jamie Swartz. "Last season we let too many games slip away from us we were in a position to win."
The Spartan offense, which managed to out-score and out-shoot its opponents last season, returns its top goal scorer and points leader in Sandee Reich. Reich, who had outstanding back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2010 looks to continue her success and lead the offense in her junior campaign.
Adding strength to York's front line will be sophomores Kailey Brewer and Jillian Brezgel. Brewer and Brezgel both put together solid freshman campaigns. Brewer drew 14 starts and tallied five goals, while Brezgel appeared in all 20 of the team's contests and finished the season tied for third on the team with seven goals. Junior forward Jayme Goldkind looks to bounce back from injury and add depth to the Spartan attack in 2011.
"I anticipate the offense to be very strong this year with players we have coming back and the incoming freshman who will add a lot of depth to the bench," Swartz said.
In the midfield the Spartans are left with a few holes to fill due to departing seniors. However, 2010 All-Capital Athletic Conference selection Brittany Simmons returns with the experience and talent the Green and White need in the middle. The outstanding senior captain will once again look to contribute to both ends of the field as she tallied seven goals and four defensive saves during the 2010 campaign.
Joining Simmons in the midfield will be a number of fresh faces along with returners Ashton Burk and Courtney Rice who look to add stability to the untested middle. Burk appeared in all 20 contests last season and will look to utilize her athleticism and aggressiveness be a key contributor. Rice, who enters her sophomore year, brings experience to the table as she drew 18 starts in her freshman season and will be counted on again to see significant playing time. Also look for underclassmen Sam Carberry and Katie Petrillo to push for playing time and potential starting roles.
"We have new players that show much promise and can easily contribute to the midfield and the back end of the field," Swartz said.
Two returning starters will anchor the Spartan defense as Colleen O'Rourke and Danielle Gaitings return to the Spartan lineup. O'Rourke garnered All-CAC honors for her performance in 2010 and will provide strong leadership from the backline as a second-year captain. O'Rourke not only contributed on the defensive end with three defensive saves last season, but also recorded two goals and a team high nine assists on the offensive end of the field. Junior captain Gaitings enters her second season as a full-time starter and looks to build off of an exceptional 2010 campaign where she tallied a team high five defensive saves for the Green and White.
Additionally on the defensive end, Jessica Esteves and Katie Blankenstein will look to post solid performances for York this season. Esteves will provide experience and depth while first-year transfer Blankenstein will contend for playing time and a potential starting role.
"The defense will once again be a dominant force for our team," Swartz noted. "We have proven returning starters and new players that show much promise"
Junior goalkeeper Lydia Pirie looks to be the leading candidate in the cage for the Spartans in 2011. Pirie drew eight starts in 12 appearances last season for the Green and White, giving her the leg up for the potential starting spot. Alanna Curtis saw limited action in her freshman campaign and will push Pirie for the starting position throughout the season.
The season officially kicks off on Thursday, September, 1 at the friendly confines of Kinsley Field. The Spartans will face the visiting Crusaders from Alvernia University at a 4:00 pm contest to open the 2011 slate.
Brittany Simmons and Colleen O'Rourke photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com
Season preview written by Derek Behrenshausen - York College athletic communications student-intern