Veteran Syracuse University field hockey coach Ange Bradley feels that the team caught a gem when Serra Degnan decided to play for the Orange.
“I am so amazed that she was missed by many in the recruiting process,” the coach said. “She will become a top Division I player. She has been a fantastic addition to our program.”
Degnan (Wyoming Area) is doing a great job as a freshman this season playing in all 17 games and starting 15 for Syracuse, which will take a 15-2 record and No. 2 seed into this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Besides being a standout defender, Degnan has scored four goals – two in a 4-0 victory over Princeton and one each in a 3-2 triumph over Cornell and a 5-2 victory over Wake Forest.
“Serra is a very free thinker, trusts herself, has a high degree of self-confidence and is willing to take risks,” Bradley said. “Those traits have allowed her to grow each day, trying new things and being willing to fail in an effort to succeed. It has been fun to watch her grow and be a major contributor.”
Bradley points out to a game early in the year when Degnan was pitted against Michigan State’s top player, a U21 standout from Scotland.
“Serra’s understanding of defense allowed her to shut her down,” the coach said. “And, she’s starting to find the back of the net on offense. I can’t wait to work with her in the off season.”
Syracuse meets No. 7-seed and tourney host Boston College in the ACC tourney Thursday in Newton, Mass. Maryland is the top seed, the Orange losing 2-1 in overtime to the Terps during the season.
TERPS NEED DESSOYE – The Maryland field hockey team is ranked first in the country and is the top seed heading into this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, and coach Missy Meharg says sophomore Anna Dessoye is a key performer for the Terps.
Dessoye (Crestwood) has played in all 19 games and started 18 for the squad, which is 18-1 overall and was a perfect 6-0 in league play. The 5-foot-6 midfielder has scored nine goals with three game-winners and leads the team in assists with 15. She had two goals in the Terps 7-1 victory over No. 7 Duke in the final game of the regular season.
“Anna has been a huge part of our success so far and we will definitely need her as we head into post-season play,” Meharg said. “She has international-level technical skills and is developing her tactical game with every training session. Her speed on and off the ball coupled with a deep-rooted love for competition makes her an enormous asset to any team. Thankfully, she’s a Terp.”
Maryland, the only team with a first-round bye, will play the winner of the Duke-Virginia game in the semifinals Friday in Newton, Mass. The title game is Sunday.
GROSSMAN WRAPPING IT UP – Senior defender Kelsey Grossman will play the final game of her career when her Brown field hockey team visits Ivy League foe Yale Saturday in New Haven, Conn.
Grossman, from Shavertown (Wyoming Seminary), has started all 16 games and leads the team in defensive saves with four. She’s played in 63 games with 42 starts in the four years.
“Kelsey’s game has really grown,” coach Jill Reeve said. “Her fitness level coming into this season impacted her strength and stamina on the field.”
Grossman’s steadiness and consistency are keys according to the coach.
“She allows us to take chances,” Reeve said. “She’s an excellent tackler and defender and if there were more stats for defenders, she would rank among the top defenders in the league.”
Brown will take a 6-10 record, 1-6 in Ivy play, into Saturday’s finale.
BOGART BOUNCES BACK – Freshman Austin Bogart played in 16 games and started six for the East Stroudsburg men’s soccer team. Bogart (Hanover Area) picked up a pair of assists as the Warriors posted a 2-13-2 record with a 1-10-0 mark in PSAC play. He’s a former three-time Wyoming Valley Conference first team selection.
“Austin returned from a year off due to an ACL tear,” coach Rob Berkowitz said. “He played as a center forward and outside midfielder and his one-on-one skills are amongst the best on the team.”
The coach feels that Bogart has a bright future with the Warriors.
“We look for him to continue to develop into one of the elite attacking players in the PSAC,” Berkowitz said.
MCMANUS LED THE WAY – Sophomore Leanne McManus (Meyers) led the Marywood field hockey team in scoring with 15 goals, two assists and 32 points. Her goals and points were fourth best in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. She’s a transfer from West Chester, but she fit right in with her new team.
“Leanne’s personality allowed her to mesh with the team seamlessly,” coach Lindsey Hendricks said. “Her competitive edge helped the entire team lift their play as a group. Her ability to put the ball in the cage gave us another point of attack. We are proud to have her as part of our program.”
The Pacers finished 4-13 overall and 3-4 in CSAC play, just missing the playoffs.
FETTERMAN, NOLE LEARNING – The Lock Haven men’s cross country team is one of the top squads in Division II so freshmen Jacob Fetterman (Hazleton Area) and Alex Nole (Tunkhannock) are using this season as a learning experience. They are not in the top seven for the Bald Eagles, that group including sophomore Ben Robinson (Tunkhannock).
Fetterman finished 48th (26:29.20 for 8k) out of 244 runners in the Lock Haven Invitational, 55th (27:32.8) out of 281 at the Gettysburg Invitational and 60th (27:21.5) out of 176 runners at the Division II Challenge at Kutztown.
“Jacob is in tremendous shape but has had an up and down season due to some illnesses popping up at inopportune times,” coach Aaron Russell said. “He has gained invaluable experience and I think he’ll take some momentum into the track campaign.”
Nole was 54th at Gettysburg (27:32.5), 96th at Lock Haven (27:39.0) and 109th (28:32.3) in the Division II Challenge.
“Alex’s real focus is mid distance in track and field so I have been pleasantly surprised to see how well he has adjusted to the collegiate distances,” Russell said. “He’s had a solid season and I think it will provide him with a great base during the track season.”
CRUZ LOOKING AHEAD – Freshman Melissa Cruz (Holy Redeemer) is a member of the Mansfield women’s cross country team, which is ranked first in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region and will put that ranking on the line in the Regionals on Saturday in Lock Haven.
Cruz finished 30th out of 130 runners in the Hamilton Invitational with a 5k time of 19:43. She finished 81st, seventh best on the team, in the Lock Haven Invitational with a 6k time of 24:20.50 and was 118th out of 160 at the PSAC Championships in a time of 25:45.9.
“Melissa has slowly adjusted to the college paradigm,” coach Michael Rohl said. “She has made progress and is learning a lot about her ability to improve. She is a fun personality with a funny wit about her and we’re looking forward to more improvement during the track season.”
TOURNEY FOR SURDY – Junior Sami Surdy (Crestwood) and her Kent State teammates will be the No. 2 seed in this week’s Mid-Atlantic Conference field hockey championship at Miami, Ohio. The Golden Flashes meet No. 3 seed Central Michigan. The finals will be next Tuesday.
Surdy, a defender, has picked up an assist for Kent, which enters the tourney with an 8-10 overall mark and a 4-1 record in MAC play.
“Sami is an anchor on our defensive unit,” coach Kathleen Schanne said. “Her hard work and grittiness benefit our team day in and day out.
This is Surdy’s third year starting for Kent.