Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017 Wilkes Field Hockey Preview: Crash the Cage

WILKES-BARRE – The Wilkes University field hockey team looks to crash the cage in 2017 with the return of the high-scoring tandem of Marissa Surdy and Gianna Gennetts. Coming off of their 35 and 18 point seasons respectively, the duo aims to send Wilkes back into the postseason after playing in four-straight Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom Tournaments. A season ago the Lady Colonels finished 11-9 overall and were 4-3 in the MAC Freedom regular season.

Sara Myers enters the fourth season of her second stint and ninth overall as head coach of the program sporting an 89-66 overall record. The 2017 senior class has Myers excited for what the season could hold. “This senior class has been with me for the last four years, they are a special group and I am excited to see where this season takes us,” she commented.

Surdy, now a senior forward, heads up the list of talented returners. A season ago Surdy ranked fourth in the MAC Freedom in goals with 12 and second in assists with 11. She earned First Team All-MAC Freedom honors for the third straight season and has 121 career points. She is already the Wilkes record holder for career assists with 39.  Gennetts, a sophomore forward, earned MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year honors and was a Second Team selection with her performance last year scoring eight goals. Also a Second Team All-MAC Freedom selection was junior forward/midfielder Megan Kane. Junior defender Haley Gayoski was selected First Team All-MAC Freedom in 2016. “I expect a lot from our returning group,” Myers said. “We had an excellent off season where we worked to develop our cohesiveness and team chemistry. I am confident in our returners to lead this team in the right direction.”

Joining Surdy, Gennetts, and Kane at forward for Wilkes will be senior Keighlyn Oliver, sophomores Cheyenne Mazzocca and Avery Harris, along with freshman Ali Dunn.
In the midfield sophomores Julia Kiss and Amber Grohowski will join Kane when she is not playing forward. Freshmen Maddie Kelley and Kelsey Murray join the midfield contingent and senior Amanda Thompson is slated to see action in the middle as well as defense in 2017.

In addition to Gayoski and Thompson, Kiss could see action on the defense this season when not in the midfield. Also returning to the defensive core will be junior Kayla Gronkowski and sophomore Sarah Smith. Kacee Diehl and Zoe Stepanski join the Lady Colonels as freshmen on the back line.

Dallas Kendra enters her junior season after finishing fourth in the MAC Freedom in 2016 with 96 saves. Sarah Weisenfluh joins Kendra at goalkeeper for 2017 to round out the six-member freshmen class. “I am very happy with our freshman group as a whole,” Myers noted. “They are skilled, coachable, and a hardworking class. Our freshmen will make an immediate impact on our program and will be key contributors.”

The 2017 schedule will be challenging from the outset as Wilkes looks to build throughout the season to push into post season play. The conference coaches selected the Lady Colonels to finish third in the preseason poll released last week, within the top four that are projected to make MAC Freedom Tournament. “Our non-conference schedule will definitely help prepare us for our conference games,” Myers said. “Each conference game will bring a new set of challenges, every game is important and we hope continue to grow and develop as a team each time we take the field. One game at a time.”

Wilkes begins its 2017 season on Saturday, September 2 at the Connie Harnum Classic in Selinsgrove, Pa. against Susquehanna University at 3:00 p.m. The first home game of the season is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start at Schmidt Stadium on Wednesday, September 6 when the Lady Colonels host Marywood University. MAC Freedom play will open at Eastern University on Saturday, September 23.

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