— With eight returning starters, the Frostburg State field hockey team is looking to improve on last year's 8-12 record under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Nicole Bonvouloir. After enduring some growing pains that came with a relatively young team, Bonvouloir will turn to four seniors - goalie Kristin Cousin (Edgewater, Md./South River)
, defender Bissy Armstrong (Perryville, Md./Perryville)
and midfielders Tawni Buck (Perryville, Md./Perryville)
and Heidi Zook (Elverson, Pa./Twin Valley)
- to lead the way in 2005.
Cousin enters her final season in net as a two-time STX/National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-South Region All-American. Last season, she earned second-team honors after recording a 1.77 goals against average, 162 saves and two shutouts. She was a first-team pick in 2003 after posting a 2.04 goals against average, 144 saves and one shutout.
"Kristin is a very talented goalie who is among one of the best in our region," said Bonvouloir. "I have high expectations for her this season."
Armstrong, who enters her fourth year as a starter, has 13 defensive saves in her career and gives the Bobcats excellent experience on the defensive end.
"Bissy and Kristin have had three years of working together, and they'll be big for us in the back this year."
Buck and Zook also begin their fourth seasons in the starting lineup and will spark the Bobcat offensive attack. Buck led FSU with 16 of the team's 39 goals last season and added three assists, while Zook paced the squad with seven assists and added three goals a year ago.
"Both Tawni and Heidi bring a lot of experience in the midfield," said Bonvouloir. "We need Tawni to take charge of the offense, and everything will filter off of her, while Heidi does an excellent job of keying our transition from defense to offense."
Aiding in the midfield will be a host of players. Carly Cross (Odenton, Md./Arundel), Whitney Young (Arnold, Md./Broadneck), Mary McLemore (Baltimore, Md./Eastern Tech) and Michelle Frost (Jessup, Md./Hammond) are all sophomores who will be battling for time on the field.
Cross and Young saw action in six and four games, respectively, last year. They will be expecting to see more minutes as their experience builds. McLemore played in three games as a defender last season and moves to the midfield where she has shown solid improvement in the preseason.
Frost is a likely starter at defensive midfielder opposite Zook. She has great knowledge of the game and has meshed well with the returning starters.
Freshman Aly Erickson (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) could earn a starting role in the offensive midfield, while fellow freshmen Jillian Henson (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore) and Laura Weimer (Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point) will push for time as well.
Up front, Bonvouloir has the experience she is looking for in junior Amanda Griswold (Rockville, Md./Magruder) and sophomore Brittney Blystone (Mohnton, Pa./Governor Mifflin), who both started all 20 games last season.
Griswold was the second-leading scorer on the team a year ago with five goals and tied for second with 13 points, while Blystone scored two goals and added three assists.
"Amanda and Brittney are more experienced now and possess a lot of talent," Bonvouloir stated. "We're looking for the two of them to finish shots for us this season."
Griswold and Blystone will receive support on the front line from junior Jenni Brygider (Locust Grove, Va./Orange County), who started 10 of the 18 games in which she played last season. She had three goals and two assists as a freshman two years ago.
Junior Talia Warsaw (Ashton, Md./Sherwood), who played in 18 games with seven starts in 2004, and freshman Sarah Rutland (North Potomac, Md./Holy Cross) will add depth to the front line.
Joining Armstrong on the defensive line are junior Morgan Whalen (Milford, Del./Milford) and sophomore Brittany Russell (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills). Whalen started all 20 games last season, while Russell moves to the back after recording three goals and four assists in the midfield a year ago.
Sophomore Allison MacKay (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge), who played in 12 games in 2004, and freshman Sarah Sturgill (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) will bring added depth to the defensive unit.
Aiding in the net will be junior Jessica Bittingham (Pocomoke, Md./Pocomoke) and sophomores Amanda Runion (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) and Rachael Babchuk (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis).
Bittingham is a transfer from Salisbury who will be looking to earn some minutes. Runion saw action in two games and stopped all three shots she faced last season, while Babchuk is back after missing last year due to an injury.
This season, the Bobcats will face another tough schedule that includes two-time defending national champion Salisbury. Also on the slate are Juniata and Virginia Wesleyan, who were ranked 10th and 20th, respectively, in last year's final NFHCA national poll.
"Overall we are a stronger team with a deeper bench this year," said Bonvouloir. "Our overall skill is better than in the past, and I am looking forward to an exciting season."
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303