Section: Sports

Ladies Field hockey team eyes third NCAC title since 2012

Ladies field hockey will begin their 2017 season Friday afternoon, when they host Transylvania University. If they beat Transylvania, which they expect to do, the Ladies will take their first step towards a second consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) title. The Ladies also opened their championship 2016 season at home against Transylvania, winning 3-0.

Last season, the Ladies had an overall record of 15-7, going 10-4 in the NCAC, which was enough for a third-place finish in the regular season standings. In the first round of the NCAC tournament, the Ladies outlasted Denison University 2-1 on the road, then moved on to defeat DePauw University 2-1 in their second consecutive overtime game to claim their first NCAC tournament championship since 2014.

With their win in the NCAC tournament, the Ladies clinched a spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament, where they defeated Elizabethtown College 2-1 before ultimately falling 3-0 to number two-ranked Salisbury University to conclude their season. Prior to their victory over Elizabethtown, the Ladies had not won an NCAA tournament game since the 2006 season.

Despite losing seven players on their 2016 championship team to graduation, the Ladies will bring back many of their key contributors from last season, including their entire 2016 starting lineup. With nine seniors, they are a team composed of more veteran players than usual. Of those seniors, Shannon Hart ’18, Sarah Speroff ’18 and Kelsey Trulik ’18 were honored with All-Region distinctions for their excellent play in 2016. Speroff, in particular, had an excellent season, as her dominant play in the goal earned her the 2016 NCAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-American status.

Jacque DeMarco is back as head coach of the Ladies for her sixth season, and looks to improve on her already impressive history with Kenyon. DeMarco took over coaching responsibilities from  Chrissy Needham prior to the 2012 season and has led excellent play from her teams ever since.

The Ladies went 8-10 in DeMarco’s first year at the helm. They’ve been .500 or above since, winning the NCAC regular season titles in 2014 and 2015 and NCAC tournament titles in 2014 and 2016. Overall, DeMarco has a record of 72-30 in her five seasons as head coach, and has twice earned NCAC Coach of the Year honors. Assistant Coach Anna Crumb will also return to the sidelines for the Ladies in a role she has filled for the last two seasons.

Following their opener against Transylvania on Friday, the Ladies will travel to Danville, Ky. to play Centre College on Saturday afternoon. They will open their NCAC season on Sept. 5, when they will host the Oberlin Yeowomen.

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