Aug. 30, 2012
Head coach Megan Fraser had a big void to fill this past offseason as she graduated a class of 11 seniors, including seven starters, from last year’s team that went 10-8 and advanced to the Centennial Conference semifinals for the seventh straight year. Despite last year’s large senior class, the Blue Jays do return five seniors in 2012, which they will need as they welcome in nine freshmen.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Fraser commented. “Because we only had 14 returning players, we were able to give a lot of individual time in the spring and were able to work really hard to elevate our skill level. A lot of the younger players who didn’t see a lot of time, because we were so senior heavy last year, we were able to get them the experience and the touches they needed.”
Below is a position-by-position look at the 2012 Blue Jays.
Seniors Sam Stuek and Meghan Kellett along with sophomore Alexa Lantiere will anchor the forward line for the Blue Jays. Stuek, who missed the final eight games of the season after suffering an injury, made the move to the forward line after three years in the midfield. She’s started 23 games in the last two seasons and has scored three goals.
Kellett has seen a lot of action in her first three seasons, starting 15 games and popping in 14 goals. An incredibly hard worker, she has great reaction time and gets a lot of rebound shots around the cage. Fraser will look to her to really pressure opposing team’s goalies and defenses, particularly in front of the cage.
Lantiere has really developed into a strong player in the offseason after playing 13 games and starting the last seven. She has a really hard hit and can shoot and score from anywhere inside the circle.
Also seeing time on the forward line will be junior Shelby Graham, freshmen Miceile Barrett, Shannon Parker and Natalie Vicas. Though she’s seen limited time in her first two seasons, Graham really worked hard in the offseason to become a dangerous forward, adding a lot of power to her shot. Barrett set some high school records in Virginia and is very intelligent, but still a bit raw according to Fraser.
Parker, a midfielder in high school, got moved up to forward early in the preseason because the Blue Jays are so experienced in the midfield and she has really blossomed in the transition. She is fast and very athletic with a great shot so her speed will be a great asset for the Blue Jays in their transition game. Vicas will also compete for playing time as she gains experience.
Returning in the midfield this season are senior Liane Tellier, juniors Storm Kodde, Allison Thompson and Maddie Fryer, and sophomore Danielle Thompson. Sophomore Amanda Darrow and freshmen Leslie MacManus and Gabby Giannone will also play in the midfield in 2012.
Tellier started all 18 games last season and totaled 13 points to earn Second Team All-Centennial Conference honors. A solid threat on attack with a great touch in front of the cage, she will be a member of the Blue Jays’ corner attack. Kodde was moved to the midfield in the spring where Fraser feels the Blue Jays will be able to fully utilize her game. With her quickness and savvy ball movement, she will be a play a big role in the Jays’ transition game.
Allison Thompson won the JHU Spring Hockey Award as the player that raised the level of play in the spring. She will play more of a defensive role, though she can play any spot in the midfield, and will be a key in the team’s transition out of the back. Danielle Thompson made great strides in the offseason, raising her level of play as well. She is very athletic, a great communicator and makes smart decisions. She and Fryer will be great assets in the midfield for Fraser. Fryer is incredibly fit and has made a real commitment to studying the game and understanding its ins and outs. She has worked very hard and can play anywhere in the midfield.
MacManus, who has great field awareness and is very smart with the ball, will be a real advantage in the Blue Jays’ passing game. Darrow, who joined the team in the spring, has worked extremely hard on her fitness and getting back into competitive hockey after a year away. She also has a great game sense, particularly with her off-ball positioning. Giannone is very speedy and will add depth to a strong Hopkins midfield.
Senior Maggie Phillips led Hopkins with 14 goals and earned First Team All-Centennial Conference last season, despite moving from the forward line to defense midway through the year. She returns to anchor the back line but is not afraid to take the ball on attack and will still be one of the team’s primary options on attack corners.
Joining Phillips in the back this season is junior Sarah Henderson, who is making the move from the midfield to defense, where the Blue Jays need more experience. A very steady and calm player, she started all but one game last season and handed out a pair of assists. Sophomore Lucy Woodrow and freshmen Elena Gresick and Kiana Duncan bring youth to the defense in 2012. Woodrow, a lefty, can play at any of the three spots on the backline. Gresick is a tremendous athlete with speed and great stickwork. A fantastic defender, she is also not afraid to go on attack. Duncan is very defensive minded, but she can play any spot in the midfield or on the back line. She has great quickness and stickwork and can also go on attack when the opportunity arises.
Getting the starting nod in goal this season is senior Elizabeth Peijnenburg, who has seen action in 13 games in her first three seasons. She boasts a career goals against average of 1.28 and a save percentage of .769. She will mentor freshmen Zoey Atabek and Dilara Ertenu, who are both very athletic and have a ton of potential.
“We have a lot of unanswered questions as to what will really define us this year,” noted Fraser. “But I’m really encouraged by what I’ve seen so far. “