July 29, 1997

Friars Optimistic about Upcoming Season

Excitement looms and optimism is in the air as the Friar field hockey squad is poised for a successful year and a run at the BIG EAST Championship in November.

The 1997 squad is exploding with offensive talent as 94% of their goal scoring returns from a year ago. Eight starters are back for head coach Jackie Barto, now in her 13th season at the helm.

Leading the squad is Paula Wagoner, a 1996 Third Team All-America pick and a two-time First Team All-BIG EAST choice. An excellent leader both on and off the field for the Lady Friars, Wagoner has had a fabulous career at Providence. As the 1994 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, Wagoner didn't stop there as she has garnered many awards in the past three seasons.

A quick and aggressive athlete, Wagoner is an excellent athlete who will backbone the offensive attack. She has developed into a very poised and confident player who makes things happen on the field.

"Paula is one of the most talented players in the BIG EAST and in the nation," states Barto. "She is an exciting player to watch and will be a key to our team's success."

Senior Heather Koopman will assist Wagoner in the goal scoring production. A year ago, Koopman tallied a team high nine goals and scored 20 points overall. An All-BIG EAST Candidate, Koopman is a strong and explosive player with excellent circle skills.

Along with Wagoner and Koopman, senior Alissa Wickles is also a tri-captain for the Friars. Wickles was tied for third in goals scored as a junior with five. A dangerous threat in the circle, she is a smart player who sees the field well. Sophomore Erica Hebert had an excellent freshman season and earned BIG EAST All-Rookie honors. Hebert saw immediate action in the field and scored seven goals which was second best on the squad. The sophomore will be one of the team's top offensive threats. She will be one of team's top corner hitters.

Junior Mirandi Balg and sophomore Carrie Leoncavallo also return with experience. Balg tallied eight points last season including three important goals which were all gamewinners. An outstanding work ethic coupled with her athletic ability make her a dangerous threat on the field. Leoncavallo made a splash as a freshman as she started in 20 of the team's 21 games. An All-BIG EAST Rookie team member, she is an excellent athlete who has strong offensive instincts with an explosive first step with the ball.

Others who will gain experience and add to the depth this season are Katie Lachapelle, Kristen Lane and Kristi Lyman. Lachapelle was injured for most of the season in 1996 and is expected to be an asset on the field. She had a solid spring season and should rebound with a productive junior season.

Three freshmen will add to the depth up front. Amy DePietro, Breanne Wojnarowicz and Jamie Lerch will compete for time against the veterans.

In the backfield this season, junior Jamie Shipman is the most experienced of the group. A BIG EAST Second Team select as a sophomore, Shipman is a gutsy competitor who has excellent defensive skills. Sophomore Jen D'Amore started 11 games as a freshman and gained considerable experience.

Senior Katie Whelan and Mollie Costello should be solid contributors this season. Whelan is an excellent team player who has worked hard to improve her game. Costello is coming off a solid junior campaign as she started four games. She is a solid marking back with an outstanding work ethic. Both look to have excellent senior seasons. Freshmen Julie Tanguay and Meg Landry will add to the depth.

Two goalies return with considerable experience from a year ago. Senior Jaime Soteriades started the first half of the season between the posts and added four wins. She is coming off a strong spring season and will compete for the starting job. Sophomore Andrea Weyl started 11 games last season and recorded a 7-3 record. She came on strong during the second half of the season and posted four shutouts in the last four games of the regular season. A 1996 BIG EAST All-Rookie team select, Weyl is a dynamic and explosive goalie who has a strong presence in the goal. She and Soteriades will push each other for time. Freshman Heather Tattersall will also see time between the posts.

A memorable season is expected as the Friars add Maryland to their schedule and also travel to the University of Connecticut Invitational to take on Radford and Miami of Ohio. Yale, Massachusetts, Harvard and Brown are mixed in between an always tough BIG EAST schedule.

Midfielders and Forwards Returning

Starters (5) Heather Koopman Sr 9-2/20 pts Paula Wagoner Sr 5-10/20 pts Alissa Wickles Sr 5-0/10 pts Mirandi Balg Jr 3-2/8 pts Carrie Leoncavallo So 1-0/2 pts Others (4) Erica Hebert So 7-3/17 pts Katie Lachapelle Jr 0-1/1 pts Kristen Lane So 1-0/2 pts Kristi Lyman Jr 0-0/0 pts

Backs Returning

Starters (2) Jamie Shipman Jr 0-2/2 pts Jen D'Amore So 0-0/0 pts Others (3) Katie Whelan Sr 0-0/0 pts Mindy Austin So 0-0/0 pts Mollie Costello Sr 0-0/0 pts Goalies Returning (2) Jamie Soteriades Sr 10gm/10s 1.95 gaa Andrea Weyl So 12gm/11s 1.58 gaa

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