After winning both the Ivy League Championship and the NCAA Championship with a nearly perfect record, the field hockey team (21-1 overall, 7-0 Ivy League last season) has high hopes for the 2013 season and its incoming freshman class.
The five freshmen that will join the field hockey team this year — Cat Caro, Ellen Dobrijevic, Annabeth Donovan, Andrea Jenkins and Hailey Reeves — come ready for the challenge.
As members of the United States National Team, the Junior Women’s National Indoor Team, the Junior Olympics team, the New South Wales All-Schools Team, the Canada-USA Series and the Disney tournaments and showcases, the rookies know what competitive field hockey looks like.
“They have a high level of self-discipline, I would say, across the class,” head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn said. “They understand how much work it takes to be good, and I think they’re willing to put in that effort.”
Holmes-Winn said she wants the freshman players to “bring their strengths to the table right from the start” and be ready to compete and feel comfortable enough to take risks.
The new players are evenly spread out through each of the positions on the field: Jenkins and Reeves are strikers, Dobrijevic is a midfielder, Donovan is a back and Caro is a midfielder and a striker, according to the team’s roster.
“It’s important that you get a nice diverse group of girls in to kind of learn the roles and learn how to replace people that we’ll end up losing,” junior striker Allison Evans said. “It will help fill out the team again for replacing the girls that we’ve lost.”
Evans noted that it will take an overall team effort to fill the void left by the players who graduated in the Class of 2013 — which included all-time program-best scorer Kat Sharkey ’13 and Katie Reinprecht ’13, last year’s Daily Princetonian Female Athlete of the Year — both on and off of the field.Holmes-Winn added that the real challenge in replacing the talent and personality of the graduated seniors will fall to the rising seniors, who must “carry that tradition and that legacy on their backs.”
As with any change in a team’s roster, the team is expecting to experience a change in rapport.
“Of course [the team dynamic] is going to change since we have new players and lost the seniors, but I think we’re going to have a great team,” sophomore back and midfielder Teresa Benvenuti said. “I hope it won’t change too much, since I had such a good time last year.”
With a strong and passionate new class, though, members of the team are ready to repeat the successes of last season.
“They care very much about team; they value the camaraderie; they value the competitive aspect; they have great work ethic,” Holmes-Winn said of the new players. “They want to be pushed and challenged, and they’re very passionate about the game and very passionate about achieving their potential on and off the field.”
The Tigers are 3-1, having lost to No. 13 Penn State 4-3 on Sunday after downing Michigan State in overtime Friday night. Though upperclassmen have seen the majority of the action thus far, Reeves has already contributed a goal and an assist.