The Fairfield field hockey program has been very successful as of late, making the America East conference postseason tournament in two of the last four seasons. The team will look to do the same in the 2014 campaign with an impressive roster and many years of coaching experience to train the new players.
When discussing coaching experience, Jackie Kane’s name is important to bring up. Kane is now entering her 24th season as the head coach for the field hockey team and has a long list of accolades throughout her career at Fairfield.
She has over 140 victories during her tenure and sent the Stags to their first ever NCAA Tournament back in 2001.
Now, after making two consecutive America East Tournaments, Kane will look to lead the team even further and possibly explore another NCAA Tournament berth.
Fairfield ended last year’s season with an 11-7 overall record while going 2-3 in the America East. The team also showed prowess on the home field, going 6-1 in their games played on campus.
However, the season ended early for the Stags with a loss to New Hampshire in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. Four players won America East honors and another three were named to the All-America East teams.
The 2013 season allowed two key rookies to emerge on the field: forward Julie dePauew ‘17 and goalkeeper Caitlin Bennett ‘17.
In the inaugural season for dePauew, the freshman scored nine goals and had 21 points, both good for second on the team. She also received multiple Player of the Week awards as well as an All-America East Second Team bid.
Bennett emerged as the team’s star goalkeeper and gave up just 2.5 goals per contest. She posted two shutouts and had 88 saves while starting every game for the Stags.
Now, in the 2014 season, these two will look to take their talents to the next level, especially dePauew.
Since the Stags will be losing two of their top four scorers, expect for her to really be a scoring force and to control a good amount of the offense.
The rest of the offense will be left, oddly enough, to defender Felicitas Heinen ‘15. The German product led the team in goals scored last season and also commands the efficient defense of Fairfield.
As aforementioned, the Stags will be losing two of their top four goal scorers this season, Shealyn Testa ’14 and Hillary Fitts ’14. Both of these players started all 18 games last season and were impact players.
In their absence, expect for dePauew and Heinen to take on most of the load, while the new freshmen and other upcoming underclassmen will gain new offensive and scoring roles.
Sophomore Ann Burgoyne could be the top contender to accept such a position.
The Stags will be losing a few more players entering the 2014 campaign, including Nikki McLucas ’14 and Christy Starsinic ’14.
Both started most of the games for the Stags last season at midfield and racked up their share of America East season awards.
Without them, one can expect Jackie Kane to explore the underclassmen to fill such roles. Junior Emily McCauley could be first in line to take over the midfielder position.
Overall, the Stags have a solid team prepared for the upcoming season. With dePaeuw leading the offense, Heinen scoring goals and commanding the defense and Bennett controlling the goal, the team is in good condition.
Also, as long as Jackie Kane is at the helm of this program, the team can only expect to get better and for the incoming players to gain great insight from a seasoned, veteran coach. Another America East Tournament berth looks imminent for the Stags and an NCAA Tournament berth could even be considered. Keep an eye out for this team.