NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2016 season was marked by dramatic progress for the Yale field hockey team, as the Bulldogs more than doubled their win total from the previous season. They also increased their goal scoring by a whopping 75 percent while decreasing their goals allowed by 13 percent. With those positive trends in place, eight players who started 11 or more games for Yale in 2016 remain on the roster for 2017. Those players -- along with seven other returnees and six talented incoming freshmen -- give the Bulldogs reason to believe they can make more strides in 2017.
Pam Stuper, Yale's Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey, enters her 13th season at Yale's helm. The Bulldogs are captained by senior back Kiwi Comizio. Here is a position-by-position look at the team heading into the 2017 season, which starts Sept. 2 vs. Sacred Heart at Johnson Field:
7 players (1 senior, 1 junior, 3 sophomores, 2 freshmen)
2 returning players who started 11 or more games last season (Condie, Middough)
The lone senior forward, Carol Middough, provides plenty of scoring punch. She was a second team All-Ivy League selection last season, when she led the team in goals and points (10-3-23) for the second year in a row. Middough achieved career highs in all three scoring categories last year, and factored in 37 percent (13 of 35) of the team's goals. One of the team's top options on attack penalty corners, Middough can play forward or midfield.
Junior Brooke Reese certainly has made the most of her opportunities -- she has scored six career goals on 10 career shots. Last year she improved her totals in all three scoring categories from her freshman year, also notching her first game-winning goal. With 32 career games of experience, she figures to remain a key part of Yale's attack.
Three sophomores add greatly to Yale's depth at forward. Bridget Condie started all 17 games last season, finishing second on the team in assists with five while adding three goals. She finished the year strong -- 10 of her 11 points came in the final 12 games -- en route to earning the team's Senior Award. Camille Scheyer played in 14 games, scoring her first career goal in the season opener, and added to her experience this summer by playing for the USA at the Maccabiah Games. She and Condie could also see time in the midfield. Classmate Annina Zelkin had her season cut short by an injury, and the Bulldogs are excited to have the former participant in USA Field Hockey's Futures program back on the field this year.
Two freshmen, Anissa Abboud (Bethlehem, Pa.) and Sarah King (Davidsonville, Md.), could play forward or midfield. Abboud set the school records for goals in a season and a career at Liberty High School, where she also helped the team set the school record for wins in a season. King was named Player of the Year by both the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post last year after captaining her team to a win in the Maryland Class 4A State Championship.
7 players (2 seniors, 1 junior, 1 sophomore, 3 freshmen)
4 returning players who started 11 or more games last season (Jackson, Medici, K. Smith, L. Smith)
The Yale midfield includes an exciting mix of experienced veterans and talented newcomers, with four players returning who started 11 or more games last year.
Seniors Katie Smith and Lily Smith head into their final season together, identical twins who bring similar skills to the team. They have both played in all 51 career games, with Katie making 43 career starts and Lily making 40. Their speed and athleticism allows them to play midfield or forward, and they also both play lacrosse for Yale each spring.
Junior Marissa Medici is another valuable veteran in the midfield for Yale, playing though an injury last year to appear in all 17 games (13 starts) for the second straight year. Her composure and versatility, including work on the penalty corner units, make her one of the Bulldogs' top contributors.
Sophomore Holly Jackson, who can also play back, stepped right in as a starter last season. She was one of Yale's best defensive players, building on the experience she earned as a member of England Hockey's U18 Advanced Apprenticeships in Sporting Excellence program prior to coming to Yale.
The freshmen class adds greatly to Yale's midfield depth -- and international flavor, with three different countries represented. Iliana Cabral (Camarillo, Calif.) is a three-time National Futures Championship selection who served as captain of the Moorpark club team for three seasons. Imogen Davies (Kilmacolm, Scotland) has played for Scotland's U16 and U18 teams, while also captaining the team at St. Columba's School. Olivia Levieux (Johannesburg, South Africa), who could also play forward, was captain of the Gauteng (state) team in South Africa twice, and captain of her team at St. Stithians' Girls' College as well.
5 players (2 seniors, 1 junior, 2 sophomores, 0 freshmen)
2 returning players who started 11 or more games last season (Comizio, Thompson)
The Bulldogs will count on a pair of seniors for leadership in the backfield, starting with the team's captain -- Kiwi Comizio. Comizio has started all 51 games of her career and was a second team All-Ivy pick last year. Classmate Tess Thompson has led by example throughout her career, totaling 49 games played and 15 starts despite a chronic injury. She has earned the team's Coaches' Award twice, an indication of the many ways in which she contributes to the team.
Junior Jackie Kisa has some starting experience, with 14 starts over her first two seasons. Last year she also contributed her first career goal. She and Comizio are Yale's tallest backs, five-foot-seven each.
Two sophomores figure to continue emerging as factors in the backfield for Yale, as both Tara Litjens and Alex MacKay made seven starts last year. Litjens can also play in the midfield. Both have international experience, with Litjens having spent time playing for a club team in Barcelona and MacKay a Canadian National Team ID Camp invitee who has participated in multiple Canadian National Championships.
2 players (0 seniors, 1 junior, 0 sophomores, 1 freshman)
0 returning players who started 11 or more games last season
One of the biggest challenges facing the Bulldogs in 2017 is replacing goalkeeper Emilie Katz '17, who graduated this past spring with a slew of honors that included Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-Mideast Region. Katz played every minute in goal for Yale in 2015 and 2016.
Two candidates have the chance to be Yale's answer in goal for 2017. Junior Chaney Kalinich spent two seasons as Katz' understudy. She has been a part of the USA Field Hockey Futures program, and set her high school's record for shutouts in a season with 12.
Freshman Sydney Terroso (York, Pa.) brings impressive credentials to New Haven, having been a first team all-league selection for the last two years at Dallastown Area High School. She set her school's record for shutouts in a season and helped the team to league and county championships all four years of her career, including an undefeated record this past season.
The 17-game slate starts Sept. 2 against Sacred Heart. In addition to the seven Ivy League games -- starting Sept. 23 vs. Harvard -- the Bulldogs have 10 non-league games. Alumnae Weekend is Sept. 23-24, when the team will celebrate the 45th anniversary of Yale's first varsity field hockey team. Senior Day at Johnson Field is Nov. 4 vs. Brown.