Friday night saw the christening of West Chester’s 2009 field hockey season, as the Golden Rams trampled visiting St. Francis, 8-1.The Lady Rams wasted no time getting on the board, as freshman Melissa LeNoir scored her very first collegiate goal only 13 minutes into the game. The goal was assisted by Kelsie Ward.
LeNoir is considered one of West Chester’s top recruits from the off-season. Last year as a senior at Red Lion Christian Academy, she led the state of Delaware in scoring. She is expected to work well with returning sophomore Alyssa Gallen and JMU transfer Alisha Moran up front.
Louisville transfer Brynn Adams was the next Golden Ram to tally a point, giving West Chester a 2-0 lead halfway through the first half. St. Francis mounted to make a comeback though, scoring their first goal of the game and cutting the lead to one.
That would be their lone goal of the game though, as West Chester quickly retaliated. Just 12 seconds after the Red Flash’s goal, LeNoir drove down the field to notch her second score of the game. She would then assist veteran Kristen Foore on West Chester’s fourth goal of the game less than two minutes later.
Freshman Michele Schrift capped the Lady Rams’ first half scoring, knocking in her first collegiate goal just before the half. West Chester went into the half up 5-1, and never looked back.
Sophomore Leah Angstadt, LeNoir, and Moran each scored in the second half to give the Lady Rams an easy, 8-1 victory over the Red Flash.
Melissa LeNoir, in her first collegiate game, recorded a hat trick. As impressive as that sounds, she also added four assists, to end the game with a total of seven points.
Other scorers on the night were Moran, Adams, and Foore, who all had three points. Ward and Beth Wong also added an assist each.
This victory was just what West Chester’s field hockey team needed to start off this season.
“The win got everyone pumped for the season,” senior student captain Catherine Baskin said. “A lot of people saw their very first varsity minutes, thereby gaining the confidence we need to continue in success.”
The field hockey team here at West Chester University is the school’s only NCAA Division I team. They compete in the Atlantic-10 conference, battling with teams such as Temple, Richmond, and LaSalle, among others.
West Chester has shown improvement each year, coming extremely close to a playoff season last year. Head coach Kathy Krannebitter is confident in the team this year to finally seal the deal and take that next step into the postseason.
The team had an extremely productive off-season, bringing in much needed talent. LeNoir has already proven that she is worthy of a varsity position with her performance in Friday’s game. Along with her are incoming freshmen Jessica Tamburro, Courtney Wolff, Michele Schrift, Kayla Gluchowski, Molly Herlihy, and Lauren Schott, all of whom have great potential.
“We have a very talented freshman class, most of which will see a lot of playing time,” Baskin added on this year’s rookies.
Transfers Kelsi Ward, Brynn Adams, and Nicole Fiorilla have already proven themselves as a threat on the field.
Joelle Zarefoss is returning this year for her senior year in the goal. Zarefoss is among the nation’s leaders in the goalkeeping arena. Last year, she held both Penn State and North Carolina to low scores. Those two teams met in the championship the prior year, and Zarefoss gave WCU a shot at a victory.
Working under her are two freshmen goalkeepers, Kristin Arnold and Gabby Panasiewicz. This will be a big year for the pair, as they will have to pick up where Zarefoss leaves off when she graduates this season.
Among those returning this season is senior Beth Wong. Wong was voted to the all-league team last year. She should get the chance to play a little more offense this season with the addition of strength to the back line.
Amanda Wynkoop is the third senior on the team, but will not be available until later in the season. Wynkoop is currently recovering from an ACL tear suffered at the end of last season. Her hopeful return is sometime in October.
Alyssa Gallen and Kristen Foore will both be returning up front on offense. Patti Loughlin and Donna Doubet will be coming back as starters in the midfield, along with Nicole Henderson, Carly Buckwalter, and Shannon Mearig.
Karly Herb will spend her second season on defense, while Courtnee Summiel will play her first year on offense after being red-shirted last season.
West Chester hopes to continue their young success this season as they go up against Rutgers on Sunday.
Ryan Frisco is a third-year student majoring in Communication studies. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.