For the first time in four ears, the Slippery Rock University field hockey team will open the season without all-time leading scorer Megan McKay. A senior last year, McKay owns the SRU career records for goals scored, assists and points.
Without McKay, eighth year head coach Julie Swiney said that the team is going to have to change their approach on offense.
“We are working hard to fill the role that Megan (McKay) had, which was a huge role as a scorer for us,” Swiney said. “I think we’re just going to have a different approach, more of a team approach to scoring this year.”
McKay accounted for over 30 percent of The Rock’s total offense last year, scoring 11 og the team’s 28 goals and 26 of the team’s 75 total points.
Returning this year to try and fill the void left by McKay are senior forwards Kailee Krupski and Alyssa Castle. Krupski was second on the team in 2016 with 10 points scored and led the team with eight assists. Castle will serve as a team captain in 2017 and has scored three goals in 32 career games in her three years with the Green and White.
The Rock returns a solid defensive core, led by juniors Liz Wolfe and Kayla Mack. Mack and Wolfe teamed up to make 13 of the team’s 14 defensive saves in 2016 and are fourth and fifth in school history in career defensive save, respectfully. Wolf will also serve as a team captain alongside Castle.
Swiney thinks that the defense could be the strength of her team.
“We have Liz (Wolfe) back, who is an excellent defender for us,” Swiney said. “We also have (Kayla) Mack, who was all conference and some new faces. With the positive things we’ve seen in the preseason I think they’re going to be a strong group to help our goalies.”
Senior Nicole Bream returns in net for The Rock after starting and playing all 18 games last year, her first as a full time starter. Bream made 114 saves and sported a 2.00 goals against average.
Also returning for SRU are midfielders Torri Rose, a senior, Hannah Downing, a junior and Brenna McGovern-Lind, a sophomore.
SRU was picked to finish eighth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference(PSAC) preseason coaches’ poll. The Rock opens the season this Saturday Sept. second at home against American International College and begins PSAC play on Sept. 23 against West Chester University.