HANOVER, N.H. – “Advance or development toward a better, more complete, or more modern condition.”
That’s the definition of ‘progress.’ That’s also going to be the foundation for the Dartmouth field hockey team in 2017.
Following a 2016 season that saw an Ivy League schedule come and go without a win thanks in large part to an unlikely number of unfortunate injuries that left the team shorthanded for nearly the entirety of the fall, the hope is those misfortunes don’t carry over to this fall.
The Big Green are not about to sit back and make excuses or dwell on the hand that was dealt them. Instead, the plan is to advance forward toward a better and more complete condition this season than the one experienced in 2016.
Six individuals are listed on this year’s roster solely as forwards. Gemma Bautista returns from a year’s hiatus and, as a junior, is now the most veteran member of the group. Katie Spanos and Jocelyn Wulf return for their sophomore season with Spanos’ three-goal, three-assist, nine-point freshman campaign proving to be the top returning scoring line. Spanos started all 17 games, while Wulf came off the bench in all but one in 2016, giving the Green and White some needed experience at a position that will also see the addition of a trio of rookies in Tatum Schultz, Kira Koehler and Lia Constantine.
“We are very excited to be welcoming back some seasoned veterans as well as a few new faces! Our goal up front is to be dangerous with our speed and to finish at nearly every opportunity. Our team attack had a great showing in our first exhibition, collectively scoring nine goals.”
Perhaps the team’s best mixture of returning talent and fresh faces resides in the midfield as three members of the Class of 2021 join with four returning players. Leading the way are second-year player Carmen Braceras and senior assistant captain Sarah Tabeek.
Braceras led the team in goals (7) and total scoring (15) as a freshman last season, while Tabeek’s play did not go unnoticed, earning a spot on the All-Ivy League Second Team after leading the team with eight assists. Evie Bird’s 10 points on three goals and four helpers as a sophomore saw her finished tied for third on the team in scoring. Anna Ewasechko was slowed down by injuries at the end of the season, causing her to only play 12 games.
Katie Persin can play both in the midfield and at back, providing Fowler and her staff with added depth at both positions. Her athletic ability and speed make her a viable option on either line at any point of the game for the coaching staff.
“This line should prove to be our most experienced. We will look for our middies to anchor the team on both sides of the ball. We have true workhorses across this line, and have a goal for this group to contribute to our overall scoring for 2017.”
The Dartmouth defense was the most inexperienced a year ago and went through the growing pains that were associated with that youth. However, a new season brings with it another year of experience for the five returners to develop and showcase their skills on the backend.
Second-Team All-Ivy League selection and senior Morgan Philie will once again serve as the team’s captain after taking on the top leadership role last season. After one goal in her first two seasons combined, Philie blew that figure away with seven in 2016, tying her for the team lead with Braceras and finishing one point behind her teammate for the Big Green scoring lead.
Jessica Valvano and Amrit Ahluwalia are the duo of juniors on defense, with Maddie Donahue back for her sophomore year. Freshman Bee Hollyer is the lone rookie on the backend and can develop at her own pace with the veteran presence there already.
Junior Hailey Valerio will be the Big Green’s goalkeeper this season with the graduation of Paige Duffy and Emma Plumb’s ’20 personal decision to step away from the team due to an injury.
Valerio saw action in nine games, making five starts and was credited with half a shutout with Plumb as the two blanked Sacred Heart in mid-September. This followed a rookie season in which she appeared in just three games for a total of 63 minutes, 300 less than what she would accumulate last fall as a sophomore.
The Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, native will now be looked to as the team’s anchor and last line of defense as the lone goalkeeper on the roster, a role she is prepared to face head on.
Fowler Says About Backs and Goalkeepers:
“We're also returning a wealth of experience on the back line and in goal. Defensively, we need to continue our progress from the spring into this fall. Our communication has improved and we will look to be proactive in our team defense across the field. Another priority will be to limit the chances our opponents get inside our defensive circle. In our first exhibition game, we shutout our opponent and limited them to only a few corners.”
The Big Green face another challenging slate in 2017, opening the season against the defending national champion and No. 3 ranked Delaware Blue Hens on Friday, Sept. 1. The home opener comes the following Saturday against Rider, while the Ivy League schedule begins on Sept. 23 against Princeton, the team Delaware defeated in the national semifinals last season.
|Fri., Sept. 1||at Delaware||at Newark, Del.||7:00 p.m.|
|Sun., Sept. 3||vs. Longwood||at Newark, Del.||1:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 9||RIDER||Hanover, N.H.||3:00 p.m.|
|Sun., Sept. 10||BRYANT||Hanover, N.H.||3:00 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept. 15||Vermont||at Burlington, Vt.||4:00 p.m.|
|Sun., Sept. 17||MAINE||Hanover, N.H.||12:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 23||PRINCETON *||Hanover, N.H.||12:00 p.m.|
|Wed., Sept. 27||at Fairfield||at Fairfield, Conn.||3:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 30||at Brown *||at Providence, R.I.||12:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 7||at Penn *||at Philadelphia, Pa.||12:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 14||at Yale *||at New Haven, Conn.||12:00 p.m.|
|Sun., Oct. 15||PROVIDENCE||Hanover, N.H.||1:00 p.m.|
|Wed., Oct. 18||NEW HAMPSHIRE||Hanover, N.H.||3:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 21||COLUMBIA *||Hanover, N.H.||12:00 p.m.|
|Tue., Oct. 24||at Holy Cross||at Worcester, Mass.||6:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 28||Harvard *||at Cambridge, Mass.||1:00 p.m.|
|Sat., Nov. 4||CORNELL *||Hanover, N.H.||12:00 p.m.|
FOWLER’S THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS IN 2017
- Use fitness and speed to our advantage.
- Use our depth and youth to allow us to run multiple looks and combinations.
- Be consistent and build from ‘Game 1’ to ‘Game 17’.