Aug 26. – BETHANY, W. Va. - The Bethany College Field Hockey team has come a long way since rebooting the program in 2012. In each of the past three seasons, the Bison have doubled their total number of wins and will look to continue that trend as they enter the 2015 campaign.
The Bison have already shown tremendous progress under head coach Kylie Hrehor, who enters her second season at the helm. Coach Hrehor has implemented many successful changes in the program, and believes that her squad could soar to new heights this season.
Coach Hrehor commented, “I am excited about all of our players. They are all stepping up nicely. I am also very excited about the opportunity our program has to join the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) in 2016. A conference affiliation is a huge step for us, and hopefully it will help to continue the growth of the program.”
It is easy to measure the statistical success of the field hockey program, as the team improved in nearly every offensive and defensive category from the previous season. The Bison had a more aggressive approach on both sides of the ball.
Bethany immediately displayed an attacking mentality on offense, nearly doubling their shot total to 205 shots and putting over 40 more shots on goal in 2014. They also showed improvement in goals (18), assists (9) and points (45) from the 2013 campaign.
Seniors Taylor Solomon (Beltsville, Md./Aberdeen) and Courtney Gill (Little Egg Harbor, N.J./Pinelands Regional) will look to lead the offensive charge again in 2015, after both players tied for the team lead in goals (3). Solomon also added four assists to post a team-high 10 points.
“We have many different offensive strategies, but our main focus is moving as a unit”, remarked Coach Hrehor. “I expect both TJ (Solomon) and Courtney (Gill) to continue to lead by example in 2015.”
Bethany has also received nice contributions from some of their younger players. Sophomores Morgan Turner (Frederick, Md./Frederick) and Bailey Boardman (La Verne, Calif./Bonita) each scored two goals in their inaugural seasons. Turner showed her prowess on the offensive end as she posted an .833% shot on goal percentage.
“The biggest change I see in the team is their skill and overall game knowledge,” remarked Coach Hrehor. “They are moving off the ball better, and their individual skills have grown as well. It will make implementing our press and attack easier and more effective.”
The Bison will also rely on the ability to stand their ground on the defensive end. Bethany dropped their goals against by 25 total scores, allowing just 37 in 2014. The team also tallied 10 defensive saves, showing a positive increase from the previous season.
Sophomore Hunter Webster (Newark, Del./Newark) totaled four defensive saves of her own, while seniors Courtney Snyder (Bristol, Pa./Bristol) and Racheal Nolen (Union Bridge, Md./Walkersville) added two each. The Bison’s willingness to sacrifice their bodies for the team has been contagious.
“I was a defender in college, so I implemented certain drills and philosophies into our defensive unit”, Coach Hrehor explained. “We changed our mindset on “who plays defense” because at the end of the day, all 11 players do.”
The goalkeeping position will now belong to Snyder as she takes the field for her senior campaign. After stepping in when the team needed a keeper halfway through last season, Snyder will look to anchor the defense as the full-time net minder. The senior will look to improve on a solid first season in goal, where she posted 39 saves and a 3.35 goals-against average.
“I expect Snyder to continue to learn and grow from her performance last season,” remarked Coach Hrehor of her senior goalie. “She really stepped up when we needed her to.
“I am also very lucky to have coach (Jessica) Galatioto working with her. She came from a great program, and her knowledge will help Snyder tremendously.”
The Bison feel that their senior-laden roster should give them a legitimate chance at posting a winning record. As this young program continues to gain experience, the ceiling for how successful they can be only grows greater.
Coach Hrehor stated, “I have high expectations for the team this year. We have expanded our schedule and added some new opponents. However, Our aim is to continue to grow as a program and better ourselves both on the field and off the field.”