CHESTERTOWN, Md. — A new era began for the Washington College field hockey program in January when Anne Kietzman was hired as just the fourth head coach in the team's 33 years of varsity play. This fall, Kietzman will lead a roster featuring eight student-athletes who started at least 11 games each a year ago and a total of 18 returning players.
That large group of returning players, including a number of contributors who were sidelined by injury for part of last season, will look to replace the contributions of last year's five-woman senior class that combined to make 227 starts, score 72 goals, and record 50 assists in their careers.
This year's senior class again features five student-athletes. Defenders Katie Arnold (Hockessin, Del./Wilmington Christian) and Courtney Rainey (Severna Park, Md./Severn School) both started all 17 games for the Shorewomen last season and will help lead an experienced defensive unit. Rainey led the team with two defensive saves. Forward Sami Bialozynski (Eldersburg, Md./Century) notched two assists in 11 games played, while forward Michaela Conners (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) was out with an injury until the final game of last season. Conners started every game as a sophomore and totaled eight goals and one assist over her first two seasons. Forward Liza Slavin (Baltimore, Md./Dulaney), winner of the College's 2017 Elizabeth "Bo" Blanchard Memorial Sportsmanship Award, completes the senior class.
The Shorewomen's junior class is their largest with nine members of the class of 2018 on the roster, each of whom played in nine or more games last season. Goalkeeper Morgan Domanico (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air) is the Shorewomen's lone returning all-conference player. After missing the first three games of the season due to injury, she went on to be named an All-Centennial Conference honorable mention, posting a 1.19 goals-against average and a .750 save percentage while starting the final 14 games. Midfielder Olivia Auer (Forest Hill, Md./Bel Air), meanwhile, is the team's top returning scorer. She scored five goals and assisted on another (and tallied a defensive save) while making one start in 16 games last fall. Midfielder Maggie Cancelmo (Berwyn, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) and midfielder Natalie Theriault (West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford) each started all 17 games in 2016. Cancelmo finished with one goal and two assists, while Theriault had one goal and one defensive save.
Junior forward Emily Pantazes (Middletown, Del./Middletown) made 14 starts in 17 games, notching one goal and one assist a year ago, while twin sister and defender Alison Pantazes (Middletown, Del./Middletown) scored two goals and made two starts in 12 games played. Midfielder Nicole Schroyer (Stevensville, Md./Kent Island) made 11 starts in 16 games played, forward Clare Ingersoll (Chestertown, Md./Gunston School) scored one goal in 11 games, and midfielder Sabrina Jenkins (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) played in nine games.
Of the four sophomores on this year's roster, forward/midfielder Sophie Grabiec (Newport, Pa./Newport) saw the most playing time as a freshman. Grabiec made 12 starts in 17 games, scoring one goal and assisting on two more. She was named the team's Most Improved Player. Midfielder Abigail McGowan (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) got off to a good start, making one start and playing in each game before suffering a season-ending injury at the end of the fourth game of the year. Defender Kylie Weiss (Warminster, Pa./William Tennet) and Jessie Willey (Salisbury, Md./Parkside) complete the sophomore class.
This year's freshman class is heavy on the offensive end with forwards Kailyn Brandt (White Hall, Md./Hereford), Madison Jamison (Davidsonville, Md./South River), Catherine Keirn (White Hall, Md./Notre Dame Prep), and Grace Steele (Marmora, N.J./Ocean City) comprising more than half the class. Midfielder Megan Ritchey (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor), defender Parker Wolf (Reisterstown, Md./McDonogh School), and goalkeeper Kayla Zapcic (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) round out the team's newcomers.
Kietzman, a former first-team All-American at William Smith, was the head coach at Division II Newberry (S.C.) College last season, leading the fourth-year program to a program-record six wins. She is no stranger to the Centennial Conference, having served as an assistant coach at Dickinson. She's joined on the coaching staff by first-year assistant Taylor Fisher, who was an All-American and two-time national champion at Division II Shippensburg, and returning volunteer assistant coach Amanda Bramble.
The Shorewomen will open their season with back-to-back games, playing Lynchburg at Liberty University on September 2nd and returning home to host Washington and Lee the next day. Other non-conference opponents include Wesley, Stevenson, Salisbury, Gwynedd Mercy, and Roanoke. Centennial Conference play begins September 16th with a home game against Gettysburg.