MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College field hockey program will open its 19th overall season Saturday as it plays host to visiting Castleton State College, and will do so with a roster that brings several new faces to the program that is eager to get started.
The Mustangs return nine to the lineup in 2017, six starters from just a year ago, fielding a roster of 21 total that includes reigning North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Offensive Player of the Year Lauren Kellum (Eaton, N.Y.).
Kellum prepares for her final season, after compiling six goals and three assists to lead Morrisville State in scoring last season; and will be joined by fellow seniors Meghan Holcomb (Hamilton, N.Y.), Elizabeth Leva (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.) and Nicole Greiner (Eden, N.Y.) who throughout their careers have laid the foundation for the program to take the 'next step'.
"With more than half of the team being comprised of freshmen, we are very young this year," said third year head coach Allison Beardsley. "However, the dedication and skillset that this freshmen class has brought, it is nothing short of impressive."
Beardsley will rely on her returning class to provide solid leadership on and off the field, but especially to guide the freshman class forward, as several newcomers are expected to make an immediate contribution. The force behind the upperclassmen this season: motivation, and to finish what they started and have worked hard for throughout their time in the Mustang uniform.
"Our success this season will rely on strong leadership from our returners, coupled with key freshmen stepping up and adjusting to the college game quickly," Beardsley said.
Morrisville State will look to pick up their momentum where they left off in 2016, winning the final two outings of the year by 1-0 decisions over Wilson College and Nazareth.
The Mustangs, who were picked second overall in the NEAC poll, will put their freshmen class to a test right out of the gates, as they host Castleton State and Elmira College on opening weekend in the Mustang Valley.
Beardsley will have to fill voids in key positions for Morrisville State, including in cage where a pair of freshmen are dueling for the role between the pipes. Emma Gottung (Caroga Lake, N.Y.) and Joelle Freiermuth (Marcy, N.Y.) are in a heated battle for the starting role.
Defensively, Beardsley added three newcomers to its heavy upperclassmen unit, while seeing three new faces in the Mustangs midfield unit. Four have been added to the front line for the Mustangs, and will bring a new level of excitement to the offensive attack on cage, as each have the knack to score in a fierce and relentless manner.
Morrisville State is scheduled to get underway at 4 p.m. Saturday on Drake Field.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2016 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2016 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.