Lucye Rafferty/The Hoya Senior Beth Gagnon will see more touches this year, Coach Carrol said. Gagnon was moved from forward to midfielder during the offseason.

After a team loses a handful of key players, they usually call the next season a rebuilding year. For the Georgetown women’s field hockey program, the 2003 season looks more like a reloading year.

The team will take the field without last year’s standout senior captains, forward Michaela Brown and goalkeeper Jess Herring.

Losing Herring, a regional All-American who had started every game since her freshman season, the team will be looking for both strong defensive leadership and someone to fill her spot in the net. Freshmen keepers Abby Winer and Caitlyn Faller are progressing very well through the preseason and, despite their drastically different styles in goal, both have something to offer to the team. Herring has returned this season to volunteer coach the new goalkeepers.

The defense will be anchored by a very experienced squad, including seniors Nora Mirando and captain Lauren Galbally. Equally experienced in the back are juniors Meghan Leahey and Caroline Cole.

Senior Beth Gagnon will slide from forward to midfield and assume more responsibility, hopefully getting a lot of touches on the ball and playing the important but often overlooked role as the quiet leader. Sophomore midfielder Molly Ahearn will also pick up major minutes.

The offense will be led by senior Dionna Jordan, who has scored an impressive number of goals already this preseason. Jordan will be accompanied by sophomore Jessica Quinn and junior forwards eghan Devaney and captain Leeanne Rizzo. Sophomore Erica Chan will also see her share of minutes up top.

The deep roster from last year’s team will ensure that both on offense and defense the Hoyas will be not only adequate, but will be experienced. Freshmen and sophomores will have to assume more responsibilities and the only real question lies in finding a replacement in the net.

The coaching staff understands that filling Herring’s shoes is a huge task.

“[Herring] was one of the top goalkeepers in the country, in my opinion,” Head Coach Laurie Carroll said.

Despite the daunting undertaking, the two young keepers may be just what the team needs.

“[Winer and Herring] are not as flashy as Jess, but they’re a great fit for our defensive unit,” Carroll said.

A strong mix of talented underclassmen and seasoned veterans hopefully will add to the success that the field hockey program has had over the past few years. Carroll hopes to make 2003 the program’s fourth straight winning season and clinch back-to-back trips to the ECAC Tournament.

“The staff is excellent, the team is positive; with those ingredients, I can’t see us not winning a lot of games,” Carroll said.

Liz Sanders, a former All-American at James Madison University, and Homero Pardi, an international player and coach from Venezuela round out the field hockey coaching staff. Sanders is the offensive assistant coach and Pardi, a former assistant coach for the Kent State team ranked No. 7 in 2002, will help the defensive squad.

The team has a very practical and focused outlook on the season, as seen in their two quick opening wins during the opening preseason weekend. Carroll hopes to impress upon her team that not even the smallest games, even this early in the season, can slip away.

“We can’t overlook anybody,” she said.

Although Carroll believes that the program is ahead of where the coaching staff thought the team would be at this point, the focus next week will not be on playoffs or games down the road. They will simply focus on the first two games of the regular season.

This weekend the team will scrimmage a local club team. The game is Saturday on Kehoe at 10 a.m.

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