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Field hockey team striving for a winning season

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The Appalachian Online

With a new stadium last season, and a new coaching staff this season, Appalachian State field hockey is ready to start with a clean slate.

“Having a new coaching staff has given us the chance to start over and dismiss everything we’ve had in the past,” junior defender and team captain Jordan Van Cleave said.

The team’s new head coach, Meghan Dawson, has an extensive field hockey background.

Not only has Dawson been a two­time national champion as a player at the University of

North Carolina, she also helped lead Bucknell to a regular­season championship as an assistant coach in 2014.

At a record of 13-­6, it was Bucknell’s first winning season in five years.

The team also gained two powerhouse assistant coaches as well, Danielle Freshnock and Kerry Kiddo.

Freshnock played as a forward at Rutgers from 2010-14. In her four years at Rutgers, she broke the school records for career goals and assists with 79 goals and 53 assists.

This past year, Freshnock was an assistant coach at Division III Utica College.

At the end of the season, Utica was nationally ranked No. 17 with a record of 18­3. Freshnock and colleagues were named Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year.

Kiddo joins the App State team from assistant coaching at Limestone College in 2014.

The Saints finished last season with a 17­-3 record, including a 6-­0 record in Division II’s Eastern College Athletic Conference, completing the season with two wins in the ECAC Tournament.

Prior to coaching, she played defense at Hofstra University from 2009­-13. Kiddo helped her team receive two defensive awards including a No. 3 ranking in the Colonial Athletic Association and a No. 21 ranking in the NCAA.

“Having a new coaching staff has given us the chance to start over fresh and dismiss everything we’ve had in the past,” Van Cleave said.

During preseason the team mostly focused on improving overall fitness capabilities in hopes to enhance on­field performance.

“Personally I’ve never been as good as I am today,” senior goalkeeper Christina Ceppi said.

“Our team is now lasting in practice… and our skills are starting to pick up as well because we’re able to stay on the field and focus because our fitness is there.”

With progress in endurance, the Mountaineer’s hope to make this a winning season with a goal to win at least half of their games. The team finished with a 5­-16 record in 2014, and will have to replace the production of their top two point­producers from last season, Dana Wetmore (14) and Jordyn Warren (11).

The team will likely look to rely on sophomore midfielder Taylor Cimbalist for production, who, along with Wetmore, led the team with five goals in 2014. The team will also rely on its other captain, junior defender Marissa O’Brien, to help bring along and lead the team’s  12 underclassmen.

“We have been working harder than we have before so I think it has brought us closer together,” Van Cleave said. “Having more challenging things for us to do really shows that our teamwork is really developing.”

The Mountaineers have two exhibition games before beginning the regular season, the first Friday at home against Limestone College at Adcock Field, and the second Saturday at Davidson.

The team opens the regular season Aug. 28 at the University of Louisville, beginning a streak of six straight away games for the team, before returning on Sept. 18 for their home­opener against James Madison.

Story: Kayla May, Intern Sports Reporter

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