WATERVILLE, Maine -- With all but two players returning from last year's team and more promising newcomers, the expectations for the Colby College field hockey team will be higher when the Mules open the 2018 season.
Colby head coach Kelly Terwilliger and her team will start the season at home against Husson University on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. on Bill Alfond Field.
"As a team we have a lot of potential and a lot of room for rapid growth," Terwilliger said. "We're looking forward to taking it one day, one game at a time and try to get better and reach our potential by the end of the season. We are loving the process, the daily grind of it, and have enjoyed our first days of training as we put the puzzles together."
Junior forward Georgia Cassidy (Darien, Conn.), a captain this year and a transfer from University of North Carolina, was a difference maker last year with a team-best 15 goals and three assists for 33 points. She earned NESCAC Second Team honors, All-New England West Region Second Team honors, tied the Colby single-season goals record, and was seventh in the league in scoring.
Cassidy was one of numerous players to make an impact in their first seasons. Sophomores Myri Skodock (4 goals, 1 assist, Mechlenburg-Pommerania, Germany) and Merel van Gijzen (3 goals, 3 assists, De Meern, Netherlands) were tied for second in scoring with nine points.
Colby senior goalkeeper Riley Whitmyer (Bentleyville, Ohio) anchored the defense by leading the NESCAC in save percentage (.829). She had a 1.72 goals against average and had six shutouts while playing every minute.
The Mules head into the 2018 season with the perfect mix of young players with experience and veteran players. Terwilliger has 11 juniors and seniors on the roster, while first-years and sophomores make up 10 spots.
Whitmyer, a captain, and junior goalkeeper Emily Buckman (Chatham, N.J.) will bring experience in the net. Junior defender Maddie Schoeni (Ann Arobor, Mich.) started 13 games last year, while senior Kallie Hutchinson (Pownal, Maine) can play multiple positions. First-years Sally Cassidy (Darien, Conn.), Georgia's younger sister, and Sydney Turner (Englewood, Colo.) will make an immediate impact on defense. Sophomore Elizabeth Brashich (Penfield, N.Y.) also returns in back.
Skodock returns in the midfield along with sophomore Delaney Keithley (Chelsea, Maine), who started 14 games last season. Ally Corbett (Oakland, Maine) is a transfer from Division I St. Joseph's (Pa.) University. Senior captain Kate Burkett (Larchmont, N.Y.), junior Eliza Mell (Far Hills, N.J.), and sophomore Lauren Walter (Dedham, Mass.) also return to the midfield.
Georgia Cassidy and van Gijzen will get scoring help from transfer Emily Hogan (Waterville, Maine), who played at Division I American University. Senior forward Sarah Gaffney (Bolton, Mass.) studied abroad in Ireland last winter and played field hockey. Senior captain Merrill Read (pictured, Milwaukee, Wis.) and classmates Holli Olson (Ludlow, Vt.) and Eleanor Fitzgerald (Falmouth, Maine) also return as forwards along with first-year Mary Thomas (Wilton, Conn.).
"We are excited to welcome Mary, Sally, Sydney, Ally, and Emily to our Colby field hockey family," said Terwilliger, who has assistant coaches Leslie Smith and Samantha Swenson. "They bring to our program a very positive attitude, a great work rate, and are ready to compete and contribute immediately."