The Wittenberg field hockey team enters the 2006 season with plenty of optimism, thanks in part to a strong senior class that is motivated to return to the top of the North Coast Athletic Conference after a second-place finish a year ago.
The Tigers saw their three-year run atop the NCAC stopped in 2005 as they finished with a 10-8 overall record, including a mark of 8-4 in the NCAC regular season. After an 0-4 start to the season, which included three overtime losses, the Tigers rallied to win 10 of their last 14 games, a strong second half that could provide the necessary momentum for a run at the 2006 conference title.
The senior class is accustomed to winning, as evidenced by NCAC championships earned in 2003 and 2004, and it is balanced between standouts on offense and defense. Katy Barrett (Powell, Ohio/Watterson) and Melissa Jackson (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) are returning senior starters at the forward position. Barrett led the Tigers with 11 goals and 23 total points in 2005, a year after totaling 35 points and 16 goals, both second-best on the team. Jackson added three goals and eight total points in her first season as a starter.
Holly McHugh (Randolph, NJ/Randolph) returns for her third year in the starting lineup after a breakout 2005 season in which she earned first-team All-NCAC and second-team All-Great Lakes Region honors. As a junior defender a year ago, McHugh added 16 total points to the offensive attack while providing leadership on defense as well. This year, she will split her time between the midfield and defense.
Three-time all-conference performer Rachel Dunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) leads the defense again in 2006. While anchoring the backfield, Dunn also played an integral role in the offensive attack, contributing five assists, which tied for the best on the team.
Other returning letterwinners include junior forward Alison Voigt (Louisville, Ky./Ballard), junior midfielder Sadie Mummert (Hanover, Pa./Littlestown), junior forward/midfielder Caroline Mason (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) and junior forward/midfielder Claire Johnson (Mason, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame). In addition, a trio of standout sophomores are back in the fold, led by all-conference defenderBeth Vonderbrink (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame), and also including forward Teddy Darlington (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman) and defender Whitney Marshall (Barre, Mass./Quabbin Regional). They will be joined by a promising five-player recruiting class and sophomore Katie Radeackar (Cedar Hill, Mo./St. Louis Country Day School), a standout on the women's lacrosse team last spring who is joining the field hockey program for the first time.