2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
The message and goals for the 2017 Wesleyan University field hockey team are simple.
The Cardinals will focus on off-ball movement and breaking down plays ahead of time, as the squad hopes that those priorities will result in a NESCAC Tournament berth for the first time since the 2013 season.
Wesleyan returns 15 players from last season and will add seven newcomers, with the season beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 5 (7 p.m.) at Roger Williams. The Cardinals will host their home opener against Babson on Saturday, Sept. 9 (noon), and will leap into conference action at Bowdoin on Saturday, Sept. 16 (11 a.m.).
The team will be led by 33rd-year head coach Patti Klecha-Porter. The Greene, N.Y. native has compiled 202 career wins, 13 NESCAC playoff appearances, two ECAC New England Division III crowns and six seasons with 10 or more wins.
The university's longest-tenured head coach, along with assistant coaches Blair Ingraham '14 and Kate Deren, are determined to win the Little Three title for the first time since the 2003 season.
The program qualified for the conference tournament in five consecutive seasons from 2009-13, and advanced to the semifinals in 2002 and 2005. From 2009-11, the Cardinals compiled three straight winning seasons, finishing 10-5 overall and 5-4 in the NESCAC during 2010.
A positive for the Cardinals is the fact that senior forward Cici Frattasio, the squad's top scorer from 2016, is returning. The Walpole, Mass. native reeled off five goals and 10 points in 11 games last year, ranking No. 1 on the team in both categories.
The program waved goodbye to a group of four outstanding seniors last fall in Lauren Yue, Colleen Lynch, Emily Hart and Claire Edelman. Yue and Hart served as captains for the 2016 group, and all four women were first-year players in 2013 when the Cardinals reached the conference tournament.
MEET THE TEAM
- Wesleyan will be guided by a trio of senior captains this fall in midfielder Tess Iannarone, forward Tierney Behles and defender Brooke Hodgson. Iannarone and Behles found the back of the net once last season, respectively, while Hodgson was a force defensively, starting all 15 games.
- The Cardinals are thrilled to welcome seven new players into the field hockey family, as first-year players Sanya Bery, Liz Colannino, Nia Eddy-Pina, Nikki Gerjarusak, El Sanders and Amy Schaap, and sophomore Abby Manning will look to continue the great tradition of the program.
- The sky is the limit this year for Frattasio, as she netted five goals on 12 shots last season. Wesleyan also received offensive production from sophomores Erica Horowitz (one goal, two assists) and Maddie Shea (one goal, one assist), and junior Ali Friend (one goal, one assist).
- Senior defender Lily Ardente, who started all 15 games in 2016, will be relied on heavily in the defensive zone, as the squad tries to climb the standings in the highly-competitive NESCAC.
- Sophomore goalkeeper Delaney Wood will look to build off her rookie season, as she took the field in seven games and made three starts. The Winslow, Maine native led the team in goals-against average (2.78) and save percentage (.727).
- Sophomores Rachel Curran, Rachel Pomerantz, Claire Taub and Kayla Di Sibio, and juniors Meghan Jain and Alyssa Wood round out the returning players, as all six players will look to make significant contributions this fall.
HEAD COACH PATTI KLECHA-PORTER
"We had a young team last season. I have expectations of that group learning from that season and starting to apply the lessons right away, so we do not have to take a couple steps back in teaching.
One of the goals will be to qualify for the NESCAC playoffs and we have stressed this from within. We are going to make that happen through a diligent work ethic, being attentive to the details of the game and by off-ball movement.
The second piece is we always want to win the Little Three. Those two teams, Amherst and Williams, are good, and I am going to say we can really compete with them this year and let's really try to notch that as one of our checkboxes for this season."