Johns Hopkins Field Hockey 2017 Season Preview
BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins field hockey team begins a new era on Friday, September 1 as head coach Jane Wells coaches her first game with the Blue Jays. Wells inherited 16 letterwinners, including seven starters and four of the top five scorers, from last year’s squad.
Wells sees a lot of potential in the 2017 Blue Jays saying “Our theme for this year is ‘Showtime’. We talk about our potential and how good we could be. Now there are no excuses, we have to go out and do it.”
Hopkins has built a great spine through the middle with either Princess Sutherland or Clare Kavanagh at high forward, Katie McErlean at attacking center mid, Grace Hillman at defensive center mid and Francesca Cali at center defender. The quintet consists of three seniors, one junior and one sophomore which puts the Blue Jays in pretty good position to build something more sustainable for the future.
“There is still some room for growth but I think we have the right players,” Wells commented. “The players have really bought in and we’re really pleased with how much they’ve grown in the short time we’ve had them.”
The coaches are really excited about the experience they have on the attack with Kavanagh, Sutherland and fellow senior Morgan Pothast. The trio has played in a combined 154 games with 93 starts while scoring 43 goals and handing out 13 assists. Last season, they accounted for more than 41 percent of the Blue Jays’ goals (16-of-39).
Sophomore Maddie Stabinski and junior Megan Ophel also return on attack and will be joined by freshmen Valerie Henderson, Michaela O’Donnell and Emma Penafiel.
Hillman and McErlean will lead the midfield this season after combining for 32 starts last season. Hillman totaled five points (2g, 1a) while McErlean added eight points (4g, 2a) in 2016. McErlean, who earned Second Team All-Centennial Conference honors, was tied for the league lead among all freshmen in assists and tied for third in points.
Juniors Lucy Reider and Claire Fox, sophomore Christina Glaser and freshmen Seema Sajjan, Danika Berman and Mackinley Taylor join Hillman and McErlean in the midfield. Fox finished tied for third on the team in goals (3) in 10 games played a year ago.
Wells has been really pleased with the play of the defense, led by Cali, this preseason. A two-year starter on the backline, Cali is Hopkins’ active career leader with nine defensive saves. She led the team and was tied for third in the Centennial Conference with six defensive saves a year ago. She has also contributed on the offensive end with eight points (1g, 6a).
Joining Cali on the backline are senior Amy Hallowell and sophomore Sophie Kim. Hallowell started all 17 games last season and is playing even better than she did last year. She will patrol the left side of the backline while Kim will do so on the right. Kim’s dedication to her training over the summer has paid off and after seeing action in just five games in 2016, she has earned a starting role.
IN THE CAGE
Hopkins returns a pair of strong goalies in senior Greta Helvie and sophomore Jodie Baris. Helvie started 11 games and played 14 last season and finished with a 2.48 goals against average and a .729 save percentage. Baris saw action in five games, including one start, in her rookie season and posted a 1.48 goals against average and a .786 save percentage. Assistant coach Britt Walker, a three-year starter in the cage for the Ohio Bobcats, has enjoyed working with the two keepers, who have made the Blue Jay attackers work even harder in the preseason.
Hopkins is looking to finish above .500 and return to the conference tournament for the first time in three years. But it won’t be an easy task for the Blue Jays as six of their opponents went to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, including four of their non-conference opponents. Hopkins’ seven non-conference opponents went a combined 104-35 (.748) last season, with four of those winning at least 15 games. It doesn’t get any easier once the Hopkins hits conference play. Ursinus, Franklin & Marshall and Muhlenberg – the top three teams in the league last season - each went 9-1 in league play and posted a combined 51-13 (.796) overall record.
“There are lots of opportunities for upsets and exciting wins,” noted Wells. “We’re going to have to be really tough and resilient with the schedule that we’re playing.”
BY THE NUMBERS
1 • Season at Johns Hopkins for head coach Jane Wells
1 • Returning all-conference players (Katie McErlean)
6 • Opponents that went to the 2016 NCAA Tournament
7 • Predicted finish in the Centennial Conference
7 • Returning starters
8 • Newcomers
16 • Returning letterwinners
43 • Seasons for JHU Field Hockey
152 • Career wins for Wells
389 • All-time wins for JHU Field Hockey