Field Hockey Looks to Regain Championship Form, Beats OWU
Equipped with several first-year standouts, and returning such star players as junior Abigail “Prunie” Brox, senior captains Christine Politis, Ashley Allen and goalkeeper Lauren Malinowski, the Oberlin College field hockey team will look to rebound from an average showing in 2006.
It is the success of 2005 that the Yeowomen will try to resurrect. In that year, the Yeowomen not only won the North Coast Athletic Conference, but also made the sweet sixteen of the national tournament.
Oberlin has a dangerous group of attackers in first-year Taylor Rogers, sophomore Catherine Meredith, Brox and Allen. Brox, who in 2005 was named NCAC Newcomer of the Year and in 2006 found herself on the All-NCAC first team, looks to once again establish herself as one of the conference’s top performers.
Meredith last year led the team in goals with 15 and points with 30. Allen is a rugged player who moves up the field without fear, like a bull charging to the goal. Her style is what keeps the ball and game under control for the Yeowomen.
Dominating play with her flawless stroke and never-say-die attitude, Politis comes into her senior year ready to take Oberlin back up to the summit of conference success. Alongside classmate senior Kaitlin Barrer, who missed last season while studying abroad, and sophomore Hannah Gallo, the midfield for the Yeowomen will be hard to cross, and will set up the forwards to score goals.
Defensively, junior Holly Sloofman will continue to be the barrier for Oberlin as she was in 2006 when she amassed a conference-leading 12 defensive stops. Alongside Sloofman, sophomore Maddie Fierstein returns to the starting roll that she solidified last season, being named to the starting 11 every game she was available. First-years Natasha Cohan, Julie Goodwin and Gillian Winbourn will also help keep a zero up on the scoreboard.
Malinowski again takes her place in the cage after a good 2006 season led her to a conference-leading 205 saves and an NCAC honorable mention award. Competing for time will be senior Sheera Bornstein and first-year Manya Lulek.
During their first three matches of the season, Oberlin field hockey compiled a 2-1 overall record (1-0 conference) with wins over Transylvania University and Ohio Wesleyan University. The loss came in a 0-6 defeat to Centre College of Danville, KY.
First up for the Yeowomen was a trip to Transylvania University where Oberlin won the contest, 4-0. Completely outplaying their regional rivals, the Yeowomen put on a strong offensive display.
Leading the contest in shots 17-5, Oberlin pounded the Transylvania net until the ball finally broke across the line with 30 seconds remaining in the first half on a goal by Meredith.
Twenty minutes later, Allen scored to put the team up two. Brox scored three minutes later to put the game out of reach before Barrer added an insurance goal eight minutes after Brox’s to give the women a 4-0 win.
Less than 24 hours after their initial win of the season, the Yeowomen came up against a tough opponent in Centre College. A quick goal for Centre at the 32-minute mark set the stage for things to come. Five more would go into the Oberlin cage without a response for the Centre victory.
Knowing that the team had to shake off the Centre game and start off the conference season on the right foot, Oberlin took the field against rival Ohio Wesleyan. A quick goal by first-year Julie Goodwin and a late goal by Rogers took the Yeowomen out of the half with a 2-0 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan fought back hard, scoring twice in the second half to send the game to overtime. During the tiebreaker, Barrer scored nine minutes into the period to give the team a 3-2 win and its first conference victory of the season.
Coach Deb Ranieri’s team looks ready to fight for another conference crown. With strong first-years in the line-up and veterans leading the way, success is not a far off dream; rather, it seems like a possible reality.