NEWBERRY — The Wolves return the top two scorers from a season ago and welcome 14 newcomers for head coach Anne Kietzman’s first season with Newberry.
The Wolves, who are picked to finish fifth in ECAC, are looking to improve on last year’s conference semifinals appearance.
Kietzman enters her first season as the Wolves’ head coach after successful run as an assistant and interim head coach at Dickinson College.
She had an outstanding playing career at William Smith College, earning National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III All-America honors as a senior.
Newberry will host 10 home matches at Setzler Field, as well as the postseason ECAC Tournament for the first time in program history. Kietzman is energized about the opportunity hosting the conference’s top four teams Nov. 4-6 affords Newberry.
“It’s definitely an exciting thing for our campus a community and gives us the opportunity to bring some quality field hockey to our backyard,” said Kietzman.
The Wolves will see their first full senior class play their final season in the scarlet and gray, as the program’s foundational players are in their fourth season.
As the southernmost field hockey program in the nation, the Wolves are now also one of the more experienced teams in the region with the addition of Belmont Abbey and Queens to the schedule.
Newberry returns its top two scorers from last season as twins Courtlyn and Caitlyn Warren look to lead a young Wolves squad in 2016. Courtlyn led the team with 17 points (8G-1A), while Caitlyn posted 11 points (5G-1A) last season to lead the way on offense. Both players are ranked in the top two in all-time career goals scored at Newberry.
Kietzman finds experience to be plentiful in the returning players.
“We are really excited about the strength we are returning in the backfield and in the net. Olivia Fraunfelter, Talya Stocksdale and Katherine Thompson along with Dakota Elzy in goal are all veteran leaders that we expect to make huge contributions in the backfield along with Mariah Lee,” said Kietzman.
“Courtlyn Warren and Amber Singer are also talented options at back that we expect to utilize throughout the season. Maia Lee and Alyssa Kessler also show potential in the backfield and deepen our prospects on defense. We have some depth in the cage as well, returning Allison Davis and adding Meghan MacIntyre to the roster,” Kietzman added.
Elzy returns in net after starting 16 games as a sophomore and logging over 1,000 minutes on the season. Davis is also returning after starting two games as a freshman, posting 14 saves over six contests.
Lots of additions also figure to fight for starting sports in the lineup this season, with 14 players added to the roster.
“We have a lot of exciting newcomers and we are expecting them to really stand out in our midfield and on the attack. Kristyna Oyola has already made a big impact on our midfield in preseason scrimmages and is really clicking along with fellow rookie Elise Utne,” said Kietzman. “Our midfield is going to be very robust this year with the addition of Jessica Cooke, Kayla Cooke and Shannon Springer. They are all true utility players that we can plug in almost anywhere on the midfield or attacking lines to increase the pace of play.”
Seven of the first eight games of the season will be played on the road, but Newberry will finish the year playing nine of their last 10 contests at Setzler Field. The Wolves will begin ECAC play on Sept. 14 against league newcomer Belmont Abbey. Newberry will close out the season with four straight ECAC contests.
Kietzman highlighted the importance of the final four ECAC matches.
“The beginning of our schedule has some tough away matches, but I think what we are most excited for is the string of ECAC home games in the second half of our season,” she said. “We are excited to be in front of our home crowd and back in the South Carolina sun for the season’s critical games.”
Increased roster size looks to be a strength for the Wolves this season.
“I am really excited with the depth and energy we have on our bench. It has been nearly impossible to pick a starting 11 with this group but for a really good reason — we have so many players with the ability to contribute on the field. So you can expect a lot more substitutions this fall, something this young program has not had the luxury of doing in the past,” Kietzman said.
Kietzman also expects to grow with such a young roster.
“While I certainly expect some growing pains in my first year with this group I think we have a great deal of potential,” she said. “We have been talking frequently about pushing our limits and being open to taking risks and embracing change and the energy of these young women at every practice, lift and meeting has been truly incredible. I can’t wait to see where this season takes us and for us to become a fully realized team.”
This release was provided by Newberry College.