September 2nd, 2011
Bellarmine Field Hockey Set For Launch
Knights to face Mercyhurst on Saturday at home in opener
After the long offseason and coming off the best season in school history, the Bellarmine University field hockey team is eager to begin their quest for new heights that starts on Saturday afternoon as they host Mercyhurst University at Owsley B. Frazier Stadium.
Last season, the Knights finished the year with an impressive 15-3 record and were ranked as high as No. 7 in the coaches poll, all while setting school records for most wins, assists, and points in a season. The team returns nine starters and its top four scorers including All-Americans Lauren Schmeing and Rachael Walz.
In addition to Walz and Schmeing, Madison Petit, Carrie Walker, and Rachael McAllister are all back after being named to the womensfieldhockey.com All-Rookie team. “We have two returning All-Americans and three sophomores who were all rookie last season,” said new head coach Mark Blankenbaker.
“We continue to mature as a team, and with more depth we look to make a run at the NCAA tournament in 2011.”
Blankenbaker is also hoping that some of the younger players will step into the light and become key contributors including sophomores Dezirae Hall and Brittany Raque and newcomer Alex Ojeda who was a proficient goal scorer in Edwardsville, Ill.
Last season Bellarmine came from behind to knocked off ninth ranked Mercyhurst 2-1 after goals from Natalie Perry and Walz. That game modeled the rest of the season for both teams as Bellarmine would win their first nine games while the Lakers finished with a 5-14 record.
The Lakers do return a veteran group from last year including top goal scorer Tesa Ramsdell and supporting cast of Meghan Smith and defender Rachel Sluberski. Mercyhurst will have one game of experience when they arrive in Louisville as they open their season on Friday at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
The Knights and the Lakers are scheduled to square off at 1:00 PM at Frazier Stadium.