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Field Hockey Looks to Continue Run of Top-Four Finishes in 2018

bridgewater huddles up at washington & lee

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The Bridgewater College field hockey team is looking to continue their run of strong league finishes, and then take advantage of a wide-open Old Dominion Athletic Conference in 2018.

The Eagles were picked sixth in the ODAC preseason poll but have finished in the top-four for the past six seasons (including a championship in 2015). After losing at home to fifth-seeded Shenandoah in last year's playoff opener, the Eagles feel that their rebuilding season is already behind them.

"We need to find a way to score more this season," said head coach Allyson Kenyon. "Our goals are to get back above .500 and continue to finish in the top-four." The Eagles were 7-11 overall in 2017 after nine straight seasons of .500 or better, and scored 28 goals in those 18 contests.

Bridgewater has just two seniors on its roster, but that includes an All-Conference selection both on the attack and at defense.

Defender Laura Gretz was an All-State and First Team All-ODAC selection, starting all 18 games at centerback and also scoring two game-winners and four goals overall. Classmate Tessa Tierson was eighth in the ODAC in scoring (11 goals, 4 assists).

There are also two returning juniors who have earned All-ODAC recognition, including defender/midfielder Georgia Howard- who has made the list in each of her first two collegiate seasons.

Junior goalie Ali Bishop was a second team All-State and National All-Rookie Team selection in 2016, and last fall earned Honorable Mention National Player of the Week honors from two different organizations after helping BC lock up the playoffs with 19 saves and just one goal allowed over the final two matches of the regular season- both one-point wins for BC. She will be challenged for the starting job this fall by classmate Emily Witzke.

The attack will be bolstered by junior Jacqueline DiFulvio and sophomore Courtney Cooke, who tied for fourth on the team in scoring with seven points each.

Several freshmen may start right away for the Eagles, who welcome a rookie class of seven. "The freshman class has been fitting in well and there's a lot of depth there," said Kenyon. "I anticipate them having a significant impact right from the get-go."

Bridgewater opens the season with a pair of tough opponents in CNU and Mary Washington, and kicks off conference play on September 29 at new league member Ferrum.

"The ODAC is going to be a very tight race," said Kenyon. "Any team has a chance to upset someone and shake things up- hopefully that will be us."