With a new coach, comes new formations, a new style of play, and new expectations. Add to that an inexperienced team that only returns two seniors, and you might expect some difficulties. For the most part, this has not been the case for the 2002 UR Field Hockey team.

The Yellowjackets have won a game, lost a heartbreaker, and have given the defending national champions a competitive match in their first three contests of the year. The field hockey team has defeated Oswego 3-0, been edged out by Elmira 1-0, and has fallen to Cortland 5-2.

The program welcomes Michelle Andre, a former All-American and recent assistant coach at Rowan University. Andre already has an excited outlook for this season.

“I have already seen a steady improvement in my players. We are beginning to implement what we do in practice into our games. Once we do that consistently and play 70 minutes of hockey we will be a team to contend with,” Andre said.

Although the team is short on experience, they are definitely not short on talent. Brenna Simons and Nicole Ketter, the team’s lone seniors will be looked upon for leadership and setting a tone with their tenacious play. Katie Poethe is a game breaker, with her ability to turn the game around with a pivotal goal or a key defensive play. Finally, the back is solid as a rock with Pam Sheffield in the goal, being supported by defenders Erin Charnow and Jess Cassavaugh.

The Yellowjackets started slowly against Oswego, and let them hang around for the entirety of the first half. Once the game reached the second half, the team wiped away their opening season jitters and found their form. “In the second half we took control because we did the simple things correctly. The team knows that is why we were successful,” Andre added.

Unfortunately, Sheffield wasn’t able to play against Elmira due to injury, and her absence hurt the team. Again UR started slowly, and let Elmira hang around. This time their opponent cashed in during the second half and the Yellowjackets suffered a tough 1-0 defeat.

The team dropped a difficult 5-2 decision to defending national champion SUNY-Cortland at Fauver Stadium Wednesday afternoon. UR held off the Red Dragons through much of the first half. Cortland scored two goals late in the half to go into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

UR then started a comeback, with freshman Sally Jensen scoring her first of two goals and her first goal as a Yellowjacket. Cortland scored two more goals within the first fifteen minutes of the second half to make it 4-1. Jensen answered with her second goal of the game, but it was not enough for the Yellowjackets, falling to Cortland by a final score of 5-2.

In goal, junior Pamela Sheffield tallied seven saves. The two assists for Rochester were courtesy of Simons and Cassavaugh.

The next game for the Yellowjackets is against Muhlenberg College, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Fauver Stadium.

Rybaltowski can be reached at mrybaltowski@campustimes.org.

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