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Field Hockey Preview: Hohlt seeks carryover from playoff game

Sarah Merullo '12 will co-captain the 2011 Bates field hockey team with fellow midfielder Kelly McManus. (File photo)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College field hockey program begins the 2011 season on Sept. 10, opening at home against the Williams Ephs at 11 a.m. (the game can be followed via live video webcast). The 2011 squad will build off of a year that produced conference wins against the Ephs and Colby, as well as a spot in the NESCAC Championship quarterfinals.

Head coach Wynn Hohlt is looking forward to picking up where her team left off at the end of last season. "Even though we ended the season with a loss, it was a great game against the No. 3-ranked team in the country and we proved that we could play with them. The positive energy has carried over and we are looking forward to the challenges of this season."

The Bobcats will look for the strong presence of their senior captains, Kelly McManus (Plymouth, N.H.) and Sarah Merullo (Essex, Mass.), to anchor the midfield. McManus tied for eighth in the conference in assists in 2010, with six, and Hohlt is confident that she will increase those numbers in her senior year.

The strength of the seniors will continue to be shown with talented senior forward Lyndsay Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.) returning as the top goal scorer from a year ago. She will lead a talented and deep group of forwards who have worked hard over the summer and preseason. "We have a lot of depth on the forward line and we are looking forward to seeing what they can do," said Hohlt.

On defense, senior Amanda Brusca (Prides Crossing, Mass.) heads a group of returners and first-year players who look to make their mark in 2011 and set the stage for a strong defensive unit for years to come.

After four years of having former All-NESCAC goalkeeper Katie McEnroe between the pipes, the Bobcats will have a new goalkeeper this year. First-year Kelsey Freedman (Falmouth, Maine) and sophomore Becca Otley (Cumberland, Maine) are both vying for the starting position and are benefiting from the addition of new assistant coach Andrea Guerette. Guerrette played in net for the University of Southern Maine and joins the Bobcats after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.

“We will have competition for playing time at every position. The spirit of competition has and will continue to help the girls push each other, both in practice and game time," said second-year assistant coach Hayly Ross.

Overall, Hohlt looks for 2011 to be a one of hard work and great energy as the Bobcats look to improve their record and solidify a berth in the NESCAC Championship tournament early on.