After earning a post-season berth for the second time in three seasons, excitement is running high around the UMass Dartmouth field hockey program, as fourth-year Head Coach and Corsair Hall of Famer Linee Mello-Frost is looking to lead her squad to new heights in the always tough Little East Conference race this fall. Mello-Frost led her alma mater to nine overall victories and a spot in the LEC quarterfinals in 2017, and she welcomes back 13 letterwinners and seven starters from that team.
A tradition of leadership is steeped into the Corsair program, and Mello-Frost looks for that tradition to continue in 2018 with seniors Ciara Anderson (Medway, Mass./Medway), Mary Brown (Leicester, Mass./Leicester) and Allison Burke (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) set to serve as UMass Dartmouth’s tri-captains. Mello-Frost has high praise for the trio, stating that “not only are they all amazing athletes, they are also strong leaders on our team. I know they’re going to put forth 110 percent effort without being asked at every practice and every game, and that is a quality every coach hopes that every athlete has. They’ve enjoyed success both on the field and in the classroom, and they will establish a tone and work ethic for everyone to follow throughout the season.”
Here's a look at how things are shaping up for the 2018 edition of Corsair Field Hockey:
FORWARD. Brown is the top returning scorer for UMass Dartmouth after netting eight goals and five assists for 21 points last year, while sophomore Brittany Perry (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) appeared in 14 contests in her first collegiate campaign. Junior Katie Bridge (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) lends additional experience after playing in four contests for the Corsairs in 2017, while sophomore Grace Sylvia (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) and freshman Kylie Dias (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) are vying for roles up front as rookies.
MIDFIELD. Anderson leads a talented group in the middle for Mello-Frost, as she collected three goals and three assists for nine points last fall. Sophomore Mikella DaSilva (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) chipped in with a goal in 19 outings a year ago, while junior Elliana Stormwind (Littleton, Mass./Littleton) started in 18 of 19 matches played in 2017 for UMass Dartmouth. Senior Katie Tighe (Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames), junior Ali Shaw (Westport, Mass./Westport), sophomore Maya Birks (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) and freshmen Samantha Bittenbender (Belvidere, N.J./Belvidere) and Lydia Stormwind (Littleton, Mass./Littleton) will look to impact the Corsair midfield crew as well this season.
BACK. Senior Kassidy Cestodio (Westport, Mass./Westport) is one of four veterans returning in the backfield for Mello-Frost, as she started 16 of 18 outing last fall, while junior Hailey Boucher (Leicester, Mass./Leicester) appeared in 11 matches in 2017. Junior Bridget Harrington (Florence, Mass./Northampton) and sophomore Hannah Steen (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) provide additional experience on defense for UMass Dartmouth after combining to play in three contests a year ago.
GOALIE. Burke, who earned honorable mention all-Little East accolades last season, returns to the Corsair cage after notching nine triumphs (four via shutout) and 168 saves for an .824 saves percentage, while sophomore Katelyn Banalewicz (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) appeared in a pair of contests and recorded 18 stops. Senior Ariel St. Germaine (Wareham, Mass./Wareham) will provide additional depth and experience as the last line of UMass Dartmouth’s defense this fall.
SCHEDULE. A challenging 19-match regular season slate awaits Mello-Frost’s charges, as the Corsairs will host Roger Williams and Wellesley in non-league action while welcoming Keene State, Westfield State, Southern Maine, Castleton, Plymouth State and Worcester State to Cressy Field for Little East clashes. UMass Dartmouth will head to MIT, Babson, Lasell, Johnson & Wales and Clark for non-conference encounters while venturing to Eastern Connecticut, Framingham State, Western Connecticut, Fitchburg State, Bridgewater State and Salem State in LEC play.
The Corsairs begin their fourth campaign under Linee Mello-Frost’s tutelage on Friday, August 31st by heading to Cambridge, Mass. to square off with MIT in a non-league clash at 6:00 pm EDT.