NASHUA, N.H. – After a challenging season last fall, the Rivier University field hockey team is eager to get things started in 2019.
The Raiders, who are ranked No. 8 in the preseason Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Coaches' Poll, look to build off the 2018 in which they went 4-12. Rivier's record did not reflect the competitive that the season saw as nine of the team's 12 losses were decided by one goal including three overtime setbacks, two of which came against GNAC foes.
Longtime assistant coach Mike Holloran is back on the bench this year, but in a role, as he takes over as Rivier's Interim Head Coach. Mikayala Gauvain returns to the bench as an assistant coach with Anthony Perry, the University's Sport Inforamtion Director and Head Baseball Coach, joins the fold for his first season and former Raiders, 2019 graduates, Emily Foster and Mikayla Ramsdell joining the Raiders' coaching ranks for the season.
Rivier will rely on its veteran leadership of senior Jaclyn Fraser (Wilmington, Mass.) and juniors Kayal Bednarz (Nashua, N.H.) and Nicole Mansfield (Acton, Mass.). The tri-captains will be looked to go guide the young roster, which is comprised of three seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores and five true freshmen.
On the front line, the team returns Mansfield (3 goals, 1 assist) and sophomore Maegan Sheehy (Sabattus, Maine) (9 goals, 3 assists). Junior Michaela Charette (Orrington, Maine) (1 goal) and freshman Grace Pierce (Barre, Vt.) round out the group of forwards.
The strength of the team will be the depth at the midfield position led by Fraser (4 goals, 7 assists). Sophomores Lia Yohanan (Andover, N.J.) and Vanessa Magoon (Londonderry, N.H.) along with a threesome of incoming freshmen, consisting of Carissa Letendre (Whitinsville, Mass.), Madison Streeter (Westminster, Vt.) and Hunter Langley (Londonderry, N.H.) will all solidify a solid core in the middle. This unit will help guide the ball movement from the deep defensive division and funnel it to the top line.
Defensively, the Raiders welcome back seniors Megan Antun (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Elyssa Delano (Woburn, Mass.) along with Bednarz. The trinity will play major roles in developing the young members of the defensive unit in front of sophomore goalkeeper Katie Olsen (Saugus, Mass.). Junior Beth Castle (Enfield, Conn.) returns to the team along with sophomores Josie Hastings (West Lebanon, N.H.), Felicity Defosses (Franklin, N.H.) and Kim Wood (Wakefield, Mass.). Freshman McKayla Toupin (Tilton, N.H.) is the youngest member of the defense, but will look to contribute immediately in her first season.
Olsen takes over between the pipes as the starting goalkeeper in 2019. Last season she was impressive in limited time, registering a 1.72 Goals Against Average, while earning a 2-1-0 record in net.
The season will officially begin on this Saturday, Aug. 30 with a road contest at Gordon College with the first home tilt set for Saturday, Sept. 7 against Westfield State University at Joanne Merrill Field. Both games are scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.