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Field Hockey Goes on the Defensive in Search of Post-season Berth

FROSTBURG, MD - The Frostburg State field hockey team enjoyed a strong turnaround season in 2002. After posting a 7-9 record in 2001, the Bobcats rebounded in impressive fashion, finishing with a 12-7 record and just missing out on a postseason berth.

The 2002 squad, whose 12 wins was the third-highest victory total in the program's 32 seasons, flexed its offensive muscle all year long, scoring a single-season school-record 56 goals and setting a single-game mark with 13 goals in a shutout win over Washington & Jefferson.

With the loss of Kim Faust, FSU’s all-time leading goal scorer with 71 tallies, the Bobcats will look to their well-rounded and experienced defensive unit to carry them to new heights in 2003.

"We will have a more defensive-minded philosophy this season," said third-year head coach Nichole Bonvouloir. "We will need to rely on our experienced defenders to keep the young and explosive offensive unit in control on the attack. We cannot just go out and outscore most of our opponents; we are going to have to play more physically in the back and smarter on the attack."

Leading the way offensively this season will be sophomore Tawni Buck (Perryville, Md./Perryville), who was the team’s third-leading scorer last season with six goals and three assists.

Buck will control the tempo of the offense and will look to set up sophomore Kim Smith (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) and freshman Amanda Griswold (Rockville, Md./Magruder). With Smith and Griswold working to find openings, Buck will be responsible for finding them for scoring opportunities.

"This season we will be looking to get contributions from a bunch of our offensive players rather than from one or two stars like we have in the past," said Bonvouloir. "I think if we can spread out the scoring chances this season, we will be that much harder to stop."

Defensively the Bobcats return a strong unit that has a mix of experience and youthful energy. FSU posted five shutouts last season, and six of their seven losses came by two goals or less, including four by a single tally.

Seniors Katie Walker (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) and Sarah Tipsword (Pomfret, Md./McDonough) combined for 21 starts and should provide excellent leadership.

Sophomore Elizabeth Armstrong (Perryville, Md./Perryville) started all 19 games and led the team with six defensive saves, while freshman Jenni Brygider (Orange, Va./Orange County) will look to make an immediate impact.

Controlling the middle of the field will be seniors Ashley McKenney (Chesapeake Beach, Md./Bohemia Manor) and Christine O'Neil (Edgewater, Md./St. Mary’s) as well as junior Becca Huber (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville).

McKenney, who started the final nine games last year, is both a solid defender and legitimate scoring threat. O'Neil and Huber are strong defensively and will lead the attack in the midfield.

Senior Kim Dean (Parkton, Md.Hereford), who scored two goals and added an assist in 2002, will get opportunities to start when the Bobcats go to a four forward offensive attack and will be first to come of the bench when called upon.

Junior Amanda Boswell (Indian Head, Md./Lackey), a transfer from the College of Southern Maryland, junior Molly McMahon (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Senior) and freshman Morgan Whalen (Milford, Del./Milford) will give the Bobcats excellent depth off the bench.

Senior Jessica Moore (Bowie, Md./Culpeper (Va.)), sophomore Kristin Cousin (Edgewater, Md./South River) and freshman Holly Mariano (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) are talented players who will battle for time in goal.

Moore posted an 8-4 record, a 0.98 goals against average and five shutouts last season, while Cousin went 4-3 with a 1.44 GAA. Mariano brings strong high school credentials and will push for action.

FSU’s depth will allow Bonvouloir to start several different players in multiple positions, making it difficult for opponents to predict what to expect. It will also give the team the freedom to play at a high energy level at all times without having to worry about tiring late in games.

The Bobcats have added more difficult competition to their schedule this season and will play in two important tournaments. FSU open the year August 29th at the Muhlenberg Tournament and closes out its regular-season at the Houghton Tournament in early November.

In-state rivals McDaniel and Salisbury both advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year, and several other tough opponents await.

After improving by five wins from 2001 to 2002, a strong mix of senior leadership, talent and youthful aggressiveness may bring similar success this year.

"I think we’ll be able to again improve upon our previous season and accomplish much more," said Bonvouloir. "If we play the way we expect, I feel we can win at least 15 games and earn a postseason bid."

The Bobcats will open the year at Muhlenberg Friday, August 29 at 4:00 p.m.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780