For Quinnipiac, the celebration of its seniors started before the puck dropped...
Romano: ‘Sky is the limit’ for field hockey
By Zack Daly, QBSN Co-Broadcast Manager
Last year, the Bobcats’ field hockey team posted the most wins in program history with 12. This year, the team looks to set a new mark for program wins and shatter other records along the way.
“We have undoubtable talent this year and have people that are going to break records this year, but we have to play as a team,” said captain Jennalise Taylor (Yardley, Pa.). “No one can do it on their own.”
Head coach Becca Main is returning 17 players from last year’s squad, including eight seniors that combine for 33 goals and 22 assists in the last season. Main hopes the veteran presence on the team will have an influence on the six freshmen.
“We’re hoping that we’re teaching old dogs new tricks and incorporate some of our young players into our game plan as well,” Main said.
One key freshmen is Lea Dietrichs (Lueneburg, Germany), who has already made an impact in the Bobcats’ first two games against Syracuse and La Salle.
“Lea’s adjustment has been rather effortless,” Main said. “She is a very dynamic player; she is a very open individual. She is the kind of international player who we want to get year after year.“
Despite all of the returners and newcomers, the Bobcats’ biggest challenge will be replacing the 2012 NEC goalkeeper of the year, Nicole Lewis. Junior Megan Conaboy (Clarks Summit, Pa.) backed up Lewis the last two years and has worked tirelessly in the off-season; her hard work was evident in the Bobcats’ first two games.
“Around January, Meg realized how big the shoes were that she needed to fill,” Main said. “She spent the spring figuring out what her strengths and weaknesses are, and then spent the summer getting into fitness shape and level that rivals Nicole’s [Lewis].”
The team also lost Lauren Zimniski in the midfield, but its depth at the midfield is one of its strengths, which will allow Main to get key players rest and afford the rest of the players the opportunity to thrive in some situations.
“For us, recovery and rest is key when you’re playing at this level. In the past, we may have forgotten that part of it and realized we were exhausted,” Main said. “When you’re able to have some depth, and see your athletes come back in the best shape they’ve ever been in, you’re afforded the opportunity to try other people and find the strengths and weaknesses.”
Quinnipiac was tabbed to finish second in field hockey’s inaugural season in the MAAC, one vote behind the three-time NEC champion Rider Broncs. The Bobcats are using that as motivation to try and win the first ever MAAC field hockey title.
“I always like being underrated,” captain Christa Romano said. “There is always a lot of pressure to consistently perform when you’re No. 1. We know we are more than capable to compete with Rider. I would much rather go into the championship and beat them on their home field twice.”
A championship would go a long way to the legacy of the senior class, which has already left its mark on Quinnipiac field hockey history. Jess Rusin (Garwood, N.J.) highlights the list of seniors looking to make history. Rusin looks to become the Bobcats’ all-time leading goal scorer and point leader this season. She needs eight goals and 19 points to top the lists.
“I try not to think about it because I don’t want it to affect my play, but starting the spring and starting summer I told Becca [Main] that was one of my goals,” Rusin said.
Whether Rusin breaks the records or the Bobcats win a MAAC title, the senior class looks to leave a mark on the field hockey program that will be remembered for years to come.
“As a senior class, I would like us to come together and do whatever it takes as a team to win a championship,” Romano said. “The sky is really the limit for our team this year. We’re very talented, so it’s a matter of working together on the same paged and staying focused as a unit.”
With the returning talent and new faces on this squad, Main believes the team has an opportunity for a magical year.
“The opportunities are limitless,” Main said. “I’m really enjoying seeing different people stepping up at different times and really looking forward to seeing when they all step up at the same time.“
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Former teammates behind opposing benches at the Frozen Four