Strong Defense Leads Field Hockey Into 2019 Campaign

georgia howard hits a slap shot

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The Bridgewater College field hockey team returns a deep defense and All-Conference goalie in 2019, and will be looking to ramp up its scoring output.

The Eagles struggled to put the ball in the cage at times last year, with 21 goals in 17 contests (an 8-9 overall record). Some added scoring should get team back into the ODAC top four for the seventh time in eight years.

Even in some of the Eagles' best performances, goals were at a premium- including a 1-0 loss to CAC contender Mary Washington and a 1-0 victory over defending ODAC champ Washington & Lee on a Tessa Tierson goal with under eight minutes remaining. Bridgewater would qualify for the ODAC playoffs as the fifth seed and lose in a rematch at W&L in the quarterfinals.

"We were in every game," said head coach Allyson Kenyon. "We were a young team that showed a lot of resiliency and grit. Now we've learned those lessons and are ready to move forward."

This year's senior class includes two multiple-time All-ODAC selections- goalie Ali Bishop (6-6, 1.76 GAA, 84 saves) and defender/midfielder Georgia Howard (a three-time All-ODAC honoree). Howard could move to attack to increase the depth at that position, with Bridgewater boasting a strong core of defensive players.

The group at the back includes junior Kelsey Hicks and sophomore Claire Ashley.

Junior midfielder Karinne Moyer has started every game in her BC career, and the Eagles also return senior midfield starter Jacqueline DiFulvio and junior Courtney Cooke (6G, 1A)- their leading goalscorer from 2018.

"We have a mature team coming back and we've added depth and athleticism with the freshman class," said Kenyon. "We're excited to get to work."

This year's schedule features a run of six home games leading into the ODAC opener at Virginia Wesleyan on October 5. The Eagles have mixed in some new non-conference opponents, starting off the season with Misericordia and Gwynedd-Mercy- who have combined for three NCAA tournament appearances over the past two years.

"It's a balanced schedule," said Kenyon. "Every game will be a challenge, but one that we can overcome if we play well."