August 24 - BETHANY, W. Va. - Coming off its first season since 1989, the Bethany College field hockey team looks to continue to build on the fundamentals they developed last season.
Second year Head coach Stephanie Bernthal returns seven players that appeared in all 15 games a season ago. “Last season was tough, but the girls continue to work hard,” commented Bernthal. “The girls accomplished a lot last season and I am looking forward to watching the hard work pay off."
Four of the team's top five scorers return from last season. Sophomores Courtney Gill (Little Egg Harbor, N.J./Pinelands Regional), Kaitlin Perch (Hackettstown, N.J./Hackettstown) and Taylor Solomon (Beltsville, Md. /Elizabeth Seton) will be looked upon to lead a more balanced attack.
“Offensively, we would like to play a team game passing the ball around to get everyone involved,” commented Bernthal. “Last season we struggled to score goals so we would like to add offense to our attack to take pressure off our defense."
Gill created lots of offensive opportunities last season and will be looked one as one of the key pieces on offense. She had one goal and added two assists and ranked second on the team with 17 shots. Coach Bernthal had this to say about her sophomore midfielder/forward, “ Gill provided a great force for our team on the offensive end. She is a workhorse on both sides of the ball and we look for her to have another solid season and help the young players mature.”
Perch was a force at forward for the Bison last season. She netted one goal and ranked third on the team with 11 shots on net. Perch scored the game winning goal for the Bison’s 2-1 (OT) victory over Transylvania (Ky.).
“Perch was great for us last season. She created a ton of chances and we look for her to do more of the same this season," remarked Bernthal.
Solomon was one of the Bison’s best players last season as she led the team in goals (4), points (8) and shots (22). She scored two goals in the first game of the season last year against Oberlin.
“ T.J. (Taylor Solomon) has the potential to be a very dangerous attacker, commented Stephanie Bernthal. She has great speed and a lightning quick shot and we look for her to continue being an offensive force for us.”
Jacqueline Harrison (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) returns as the team’s top goalie as she led the nation in saves per game (17. 20) and recorded the most saves in a single game in division III (35). She started all 15 games for the Bison last season and will be relied upon to continue her excellent play this season.
“Jacki (Jacqueline Harrison) is going to be very important in bringing leadership to the backfield," said Bernthal. "She was excellent for us last year and we expect her to continue to work hard and get better every day.”
Bernthal has brought in five incoming freshman to provide depth as well as contend for starting positions. “The freshman we have brought in will definitely help add depth as well as add fitness to our team,” said Bernthal. “Last season fitness was a big struggle for us but now we have more players, we can keep fresh players on the field more often."
Bethany will open its season August 31 at Earlham and will host Wooster September 1 for its home opener at 1:00 p.m. They will play seven home games and eight away games this season. The team will aslo play a home and home series against PAC rival Washington and Jefferson. They will travel to W&J on Sept. 12 and will host the Presidents for their regular season finale on Oct. 31.