Head coach Laura Baker’s 2015 VCU Field Hockey team features an assortment of young, talented players preparing for the start of their collegiate season. After losing five seniors from last year’s team, Baker hopes to integrate a wealth of new underclassman with her six returning starters.
Kendall Clifton, goalie, and Kendall Farino, midfield, are the only remaining seniors for coach Baker. The pair will seek to provide leadership and set an example for the young talent that could prove key in the Rams success as the season progresses.
Other noteworthy returnees from the 2014-15 team include sophomore midfielder Spencer Tossone, who received an invite to play at the USA Field Hockey’s Young Women’s National Championship this past summer. Tossone is coming off a freshman campaign where she earned a spot on the Atlantic-10 All-Rookie team and ranked third on the team in points, with seven that year.
Also looking to improve upon early success at VCU is junior defender McKenzie Bowler, a Stafford native who Baker will look to as an anchor for her defense. Bowler did not receive significant playing time last season, but has aspirations of being a pivotal player on defense.
On the offensive end, sophomore sisters Jamee and Alexis Albright contributed four goals and two assists last season. The sisters’ play will be particularly vital in the absence of the team’s leading goal scorer from last year, Kendell Combs, who graduated in May.
Newcomers will also play a huge role for the 2015-16 team. Australian transfer and graduate student Taleah Scott, midfielder, are primed to embark on their VCU careers alongside eight freshman recruited by Baker this past year.
The incoming class includes high school state champions Jordan Lally, defender, Suzie Pileckas, goalkeeper, and Colleen Rodgers, forward, as well as all conference stars such as Lauren Kaup, forward, and Hannah Fox, defense.
Notable opponents for the Rams include road contests against Georgetown University and defending A-10 champ, The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Highly anticipated home games include the season opener against Central Michigan on September 4, clashes with A-10 foes Davidson and La Salle, and a late season date with the perennial national powerhouse University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. UNC played in the national semifinals in 2014 and the Tar Heels are poised to be the Rams toughest threat this fall.