After outscoring the opposition by a 2-to-1 margin last year, the 2011 Cardinals return their top four scorers including team co-captains and regional all-stars Liz Chabot '12 (#4, main photo) and Morgan McCauley '12 (#21, photo upper left). Chabot, a second-team NFHCA regional all-star, led the team with 11 goals and four assists in 2010 while McCauley, an NFHCA and NESCAC second-teamer, collected 10 goals and five assists. Wesleyan's most decorated player in 2010 was goalie Tori Redding '13, who was chosen second-team Division III All-American by the NFHCA after earning first-team regional NHFCA and NESCAC laurels.
To say the NESCAC has established itself as the dominate force in the NCAA Division III field hockey circles might be an understatement. Annually qualifying between three and five squads for the national tournament, with three national titles for Bowdoin over the last five seasons, testifies to the strength of the NESCAC. Last year, the NESCAC generated a cumulative 42-8 mark against non-conference rivals during the regular season. Wesleyan was one of six teams to go 5-0 vs. outside competition. In the NFHCA preseason poll of August 23, six NESCAC squads were ranked among the top 20 with Bowdoin the preseason #1 team.
Over the last 10 seasons, Wesleyan stands 39-11 when playing non-NESCAC opponents. The Cardinals are a respectable 41-60 when facing a NESCAC squad and have qualified for the NESCAC tournament nine times. Last year, Wesleyan came away 5-4 in NESCAC play for a 10-4 regular-season overal record. Just missing out on a home tournament game when a 3-2 lead vs. Amherst faded as the Lord Jeffs took a 4-3 win with a goal in the final two minutes, the Cardinals have their sites set on a post-season home game for the first time since the 2005 campaign.
"We are targeting a place in the top four of NESCAC this season," Head Coach Patti Klecha-Porter stated. "With substantial depth and returning seasoned leadership, the Cardinals will be a team contending for the NESCAC championship. Our competitive edge will be a fit and speedy group of athletes that are looking to put a trophy in the case."
Joining Chabot, McCauley and Redding as returning starters are Blair Ingrham '14 (5 goals, 1 assist) and Taryn Murray '13 (4 goals, 3 assists) in the offensive end while Ashley McLaren '13 and Chantel Ferguson '13 return to the midfield. Stalwart defender Taylor Wells '14 is back to patrol the backfield. Thus, Wesleyan has eight starters back among 17 letterwinners. Ali Singer '12, a two-year starter who was abroad last season, will help solidify the defense while five newcomers round out the preseason roster of 23.
Wesleyan will get a chance to leave an early mark in the NESCAC when the season embarks Sat., Sept. 10 at home against defending national champion Bowdoin. The last three meetings between the squads have resulted in one-goal decisions with the Cardinals' deciding margin in 2009 coming via penalty strokes. The Polar Bears took a 2-1 outcome in Brunswick, Me. last year.(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)