WATERVILLE, Maine – The Colby College field hockey team has the excitement of a brand new field and eight newcomers on the roster for second-year head coach Kelly Terwilliger.
The Mules receive a test in Saturday’s season opener at second-ranked Tufts University at 1 p.m. Colby will play on the new Bill Alfond Field for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m.
The Mules play one of the toughest schedules in the country, with eight of the 15 games against teams in the top 10 national poll.
“Our schedule will once again provide top-notch competition and great challenges as we continue to prepare and train in pursuit of a national title,” Terwilliger said. “We are focused on doing the little things the right way and building championship behaviors on a daily basis.”
Senior defender Kat Restrepo (Columbus, Ohio) is the lone captain for the Mules and will lead the defense after finishing second in the New England Small College Athletic Conference in defensive saves with five. Restrepo started all 15 games in 2016 and added an assist.
Mules can score
Colby scored 39 goals last season and return three players who combined for 20. Junior forward Kallie Hutchinson (Pownal, Maine) was second in scoring with seven goals and three assists for 17 points, while junior forward Merrill Read (Milwaukee, Wis.) was tied for third in scoring with seven goals and one assist.
Senior midfielder Meredith Keenan (Sherman, Conn.) made her shots count and led the NESCAC in shooting percentage (.750) of players with more than one shot. Keenan took only eight shots, had seven shots on goal, and finished with six goals and one assist. Keenan also could play on defense for Terwilliger.
Junior Anna Rudinski (Morristown, N.J.), who took about half of Colby’s penalty corners last season, added three goals and two assists for eight points. She will move from a forward spot to defense this season.
Eleanor Fitzgerald (Falmouth, Maine), Sarah Gaffney (Bolton, Mass.), and Holli Olson (Ludlow, Vt.) also return as forwards. Georgia Cassidy (Darien, Conn.), a sophomore transfer, and first-year Krisy McNichol (Rockland, Maine) will look to contribute right away.
Both goalies return
The Mules will have experience in the cage this season with junior Riley Whitmyer (Bentleyville, Ohio) and sophomore Emily Buckman (Chatham, N.J.). Whitmyer started in nine games, while Buckman had six starts and played in 11 contests. Both players had 55 saves.
While Restrepo will be the leader in back, the Mules added first-years Merel van Gijzen (De Meem, Netherlands) and Elizabeth Brashich (Penfield, N.Y.) on defense.
Depth in the midfield
Sophomore Eliza Mell (Far Hills, N.J.) moves to the midfield after starting on defense last year. Junior Kate Burkett (Larchmont, N.Y.) started all 15 games last year and sophomore Maddie Schoeni (Ann Arbor, Mich.) also return in the midfield.
First-years Delaney Keithley (Chelsea, Maine), Myri Skodock (Mechlenburg-Pommerania, Germany), and Lauren Walter (Dedham, Mass.) are newcomers.
New Bill Alfond Field
After the Tufts game, Colby will be in Waterville for Wednesday’s road game at Thomas College at 8 p.m. The Mules play four of the next five games at home, including a Sunday, Sept. 17, game at 1 p.m. The field and the new Colby Soccer Field will be dedicated that day at 10 a.m.
“We will have the best game-day environment with the new field,” said Terwilliger, who welcomed new assistant coaches Hannah Drawbridge and Mollie Getzfread. “I hope people come out to watch us play and enjoy the new outdoor competition center.”