The Wittenberg University field hockey program enters the 2007 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 (NCAC) after second-place finishes the last two years and a potentially dynamic freshman class that includes several immediate contributors.
The Tigers finished 2006 with an 11-7 overall record, including a mark of 9-3 in the NCAC regular season. A five-game September win streak provided some momentum, but the Tigers lost the last two games of the season against unbeaten regular season conference champ Wooster and NCAC Tournament champ Kenyon. Third-year head coach Diana Kuser hopes 2007 marks a "new" beginning for the program as 10 letterwinners and a talented set of newcomers form a potent squad.
Senior forward Caroline Mason (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan), who earned regional All-America honors a year ago, is the Tigers' top returning scorer after ranking second on the team with nine goals and tying for the team lead with 21 total points. Also expected to contribute on offense in 2007 is senior forward/midfielder Alison Voigt (Louisville, Ky./Ballard), who posted four assists in the 2006 campaign, and senior midfielder Claire Johnson (Mason, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame). In addition, freshmen Boo Vernon (Lake Bluff, Ill./Cushing Academy), Hannah Scheckelhoff (Blacklick, Ohio/Columbus School for Girls), Tori Casanta (Mason, Ohio/Cor Jesu Academy) and Heather DeSantis (Dublin, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) are creative attackers who will help spark the Tiger offense.
The Tiger defense has both great experience and talent, starting with senior midfielder Sadie Mummert (Hanover, Pa./Littlestown), who returns for a third straight year in the starting lineup. She is supported by honorable mention All-NCAC defender Beth Vonderbrink (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame), a junior who led the Tigers and ranked among the NCAC leaders with 11 defensive saves a year ago, and sophomore defender Tori Vogelgesang (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Ursula), who added five defensive saves while starting all 18 games in her first collegiate season.
Sophomore defenders Bonnie Kenney (Lutherville, Md./Park School) and Erin Berger (Louisville, Ky./DuPont) round out the list of returning defensive letterwinners. Freshmen defenders Marisa Rogers (Loveland, Ohio/Ursuline), Jill Lewis (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart) and Meredith Price (Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Country Day) also figure to see action.
In addition, junior midfielder Whitney Marshall (Barre, Mass./Quabbin Regional), fresh off an honorable mention All-NCAC 2006 season, will play an important role for the Tigers on both offense and defense. Freshmen Marisa Myers (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) and Florine Dunki-Jacobs (Heemstede, The Netherlands/Stedelyk Gymnasium Haarlem) will also contribute in the midfield.
Sophomore Sarah Umberger (Concord, NH/Derryfield School), who earned three shutouts last year while playing every minute in the net for the Tigers, and freshman Liana Began (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) are competing for playing time between the pipes in 2007.