Setting the Scene:
The Wittenberg Tiger field hockey team returned 11 letterwinners for the 2006 season, including eight starters, and added five talented freshmen to the mix. Finally settled into a rhythm after a slow start, the Tigers gathered themselves to win nine of 12 games during one stretch of the season, part of a 26th consecutive non-losing season.
Second-year Head Coach Diana Kuser led the Tigers to a 9-3 record in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), good for second-place in the regular season standings behind unbeaten Wooster. After falling in the NCAC Tournament semifinals to eventual champion Kenyon, Wittenberg finished with an 11-7 record overall, a one game improvement over 2005.
A strong class departed the team in May 2007, including Holly McHugh (Randolph, N.J./Randolph), Rachel Dunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny), Katy Barrett (Powell, Ohio/Watterson) and Melissa Jackson (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington).
McHugh was a stalwart in the midfield for the Tigers, earning four letters while contributing 11 goals and 11 assists in a career that included two All-NCAC designations. Holly McHugh followed up her breakout 2005 season with another solid campaign, finishing with nine points on three goals and three assists in 2006.
Dunn was the heart and soul of the Tigers' defense as a four-year starter, and she leaves the team with 26 career assists on top of 10 goals. A four-time All-NCAC honoree, Dunn added 16 points, including a team-best 10 assists and a pair of overtime game-winning goals, in 2006 to finish with a total of 46 points. She capped her career with first-team All-Great Lakes Region and third-team All-America honors in 2006.
Barrett, another mainstay in the starting lineup and a four-year letterwinner, contributed 10 goals, including four game-winners, and one assist for 21 total points to tie for the team lead in 2006. She finished her four years with 48 goals, good for second in the school record books for career goals.
Jackson, also a four-year letterwinner and the leading scorer on the women's lacrosse team in 2004, 2005 and 2006, ended her stay at Wittenberg with nine goals and two assists.
The Tigers may not have won the conference title in 2006, but postseason honors were free-flowing. Six players earned all-conference honors, three made the all-region team and five were named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III National Academic Squad. Dunn even made the NFHCA All-America team.
Dunn was showered with accolades following the 2006 season. She was named first-team All-NCAC and All-Great Lakes Region, the NCAC All-Tournament team, third-team NFCHA All-America, and the NFCHA Academic Squad. Alison Voigt (Louisville, Ky./Ballard) joined Dunn on the all-tournament team.
Joining Dunn on the All-NCAC team were junior forward Caroline Mason (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) and McHugh on the second team, and Barrett, sophomore defender Whitney Marshall (Barre, Mass./Quabbin Regional) and sophomore defender Beth Vonderbrink (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) rounded out the honorable mention list.
Wittenberg honorees on the All-Great Lakes Region team included Dunn on the first team and Barrett and Mason on the second. The National Academic Squad included freshman defender Erin Berger (Louisville, Ky./DuPont), Dunn, Marshall, McHugh and freshman defender Tori Vogelgesang (Cincinnati, Ohio/St.Ursula).
The Tigers return 11 letterwinners in 2007, including eight starters. In addition to Mason, Voigt, Vonderbrink, Marshall and Vogelgesang, other starters expected back in the lineup include juniors Claire Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and Sadie Mummert (Hanover, Pa./Littlestown) and freshman goalkeeper Sarah Umberger(Concord, NH/Derryfield School).
Mason broke through in 2006, leaping into the offensive spotlight with 21 total points to tie for the team lead. She tallied nine goals and three assists in her second year as a starter on a team-best 57 shots.
Vonderbrink led the team in 2006 with 11 defensive saves, while Umberger rang up three shutouts and 97 saves.
Diana Kuser was named Wittenberg's field hockey head coach in February 2005 after previously serving as the assistant coach at NCAC rival Kenyon. Since taking the reins at Wittenberg, her record stands at 21-15.
Kuser was a four-time Great Lakes Regional All-American, at three different positions, and a three-time All-Big Ten selection. She also helped lead Ohio State to the program's first Big Ten regular season and tournament championships in 2001 and its second appearance ever in the NCAA Division I Tournament.