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Ohio Field Hockey Tabbed to Repeat; Opens Season Tomorrow

OHIOBOBCATS.COM Ohio was selected to repeat as MAC Champions today by the league coaches.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Ohio was selected to repeat as MAC Champions today by the league coaches.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Aug. 23, 2012

ATHENS, Ohio - Defending MAC Field Hockey champions, Ohio University has been picked in the 2012 MAC Preseason Coach's Poll to claim the regular season title, as well as to take home the conference tournament title.  

Ohio received 30 votes, including four first place votes to be predicted as the 2012 regular season champs by the MAC coaches. Kent State came close in second with 27 votes, while Central Michigan and Miami tied at third, each with 22 votes. Missouri State followed with 13 votes, Ball State with one less (12). 
 
The Bobcats, who ranked 20th nationally in the final NFHCA 2011 poll, will be trying to reach the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years for the first time in program history. The Bobcats will begin the season in upstate New York with contests against Colgate and No. 7 Syracuse. The home opener will be held on Sat., Sept. 1 when Ohio hosts Radford.
 
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Ohio (30 Votes)
2. Kent (27)
3. Central Michigan (22)
3. Miami (22)
5. Missouri State (13)
6. Ball State (12)
 
Predicted Tournament Champion
Ohio (4 votes)
Central Michigan (1)
Missouri State  (1)
Season Preview
Three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Neil Macmillan enters his eighth season at the helm of the Ohio Field Hockey program in 2012 with the Bobcats having claimed four MAC championships in the last six seasons. Last year, te team reached the NCAA Tournament for the second time under Macmillan, joining the 2007 squad.

The Bobcats have also had their fair share of outstanding student-athletes over the past seven years. Ohio has produced 20 All-MAC First Team selections, 14 All-MAC Second Team selections, a MAC Freshman of the Year, three MAC Tournament MVPs and three MAC Players of the Year, including Louzeth Schutte in 2011. In addition, Ohio has had a player named NFHCA All-Region every season of Macmillan's tenure, including three Bobcats last season.

The Bobcats lost four starters from last season's team but still feel confident about what they have returning, primarily over three-quarters of their goal, assist and point production from last season. The top three point scorers from last season, Taylor Brown, Cathryn Altdoerffer and Jessica Jue all return to form a potent offense for the Bobcats.

Brown, a two-time First Team All-MAC selection and two-time NFHCA All-West Region choice, led the MAC with six game-winning goals last season. On the year, she finished second in the MAC with 15 goals scored and fourth in the MAC with 33 points. She had a real flair for the dramatic, scoring both goals in Ohio's 2-1 win over Lafayette in a NCAA play-in game and the game-winner at nationally-ranked Ohio State

Altdoerffer, a two-time All-MAC recipient and member of the 2011 MAC All-Tournament Team, finished sixth in the conference with 27 points, tied for fifth in the league with 10 goals and tied for eighth in the league with seven assists. She has proven to be a multidimensional threat on offense, scoring a hat trick for the Bobcats in their win over Ball State after notching three assists in the season-opening win over St. Francis (PA).

Jue broke on the scene last season and was a First Team All-MAC selection as well as a NFHCA All-West Region choice. She set the Ohio single-season record with 18 assists, leading the MAC and finishing 15th nationally. She would finish second in the MAC with 38 points and four game-winning goals, while also tying for fifth in the conference with 10 goals. She was also named MAC Defensive Player of the Week last October.

Joining Brown and Altdoerffer in this outstanding senior class are Andrea Biegalski, Marissa Higgins and Laura Mastro. Biegalski was the 2011 MAC Tournament MVP and is a former MAC Defensive Player of the Year. She started 21 games for one of the stingiest defenses in the MAC and one of the best backlines in the nation (1.09 goals per game).

Mastro was second only to her teammate in the league with 15 assists last season and started every game for the 'Cats. She is another experienced and multidimensional player in Macmillan's system, earning a Defensive Player of the Week last season. Higgins also played in every game last season, starting the final 18, and is a vocal leader on this team.

The departure of goalkeeper Jen McGill has meant the elevation of sophomore Brittany Walker. Despite playing in only four game last season, Walker earned a valuable year of tutelage under McGill and has worked hard during the offseason to prepare for the 2012 campaign. Walker will be backed up by freshman Lina Trucco.

Some other returnees for Ohio are Ashley Cureton, Lauryl Desch, Katherine Fenzel, Kristine Gegas, Caelyn Hartley, Riley Higgins, Danielle Rissmiller and Jessica Vaeth. Desch started every game for Ohio last season and was an integral part of the defense. Fenzel also played in every game, assisting on the game-winner in the MAC Tournament vs. Miami. Vaeth also started last year for Ohio, with the remaining five seeing action in 58 contests.

As for the newcomers, Macmillan expects to see production right away from two of his foreign imports, Adele Sammons from England and Luli Gomez Teruel from Argentina. A third newcomer, Nicole van Batenburg hails from the Netherlands and will provide interchangeable depth in Macmillan's free-flowing system along with Vicki Nase, Kaley Rentz and Clarissa Leickly.