Posted: 08/16/2012 | Last updated: August 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh field hockey team is deep into its preseason practice after opening up camp on Sunday. Since, the Mountain Hawks have put in many hours of practice, along with a scrimmage, as they prepare for their season opener next Saturday vs. Ball State. Lehigh features a deep roster, returning all of its All-Patriot League honorees while bringing in 12 freshmen.
“I’m really excited for the season,” said senior Kelsey Zeswitz. “I can’t believe it’s my last time through. Time has flown by. We have a great group of girls and I’m excited to put in a lot of work these next two weeks.”
“We’re focusing on fitness and possession [this preseason],” said Lehigh head coach Stacey Blue. “We want to possess the ball a lot during the games. That’s definitely going to be important moving forward, from the beginning of preseason all the way to the end of our schedule.”
The Mountain Hawks finished 2011 strongly, winning four of its last six regular season games to enter the Patriot League Tournament as the #3 seed. Lehigh’s 3-2 league record marked its best since 2007. The squad defeated Patriot League finalist Bucknell, 1-0, while also topping La Salle in an overtime thriller. The Mountain Hawks posted a strong 5-4 record at home.
“We had our first scrimmage [on Wednesday],” said senior and two-time All-Patriot League honoree Kim Eng. “That gave us a good starting point so we know what we need to work on and what we’re doing well.”
“We’re really trying to figure out how we all work together,” said Zeswitz. “We’ve brought in 12 freshmen, so obviously there are some adjustments. But we’re trying to figure out what works and just trying to work on possessing the ball and getting together as a group.”
In the large freshmen class are four who reign from the Lehigh Valley, which features some of the strongest high school field hockey in the nation: Abigail Bakke (Bangor High School), Caitlin Bryan and Zoey Pacheco (Emmaus) and Rachel Werley (Lehighton). In addition, Amie Diamond played at Lower Dauphin High School and three others from nearby New Jersey, including West Jersey Player of the Year Lindsey Schott.
“I’m so excited about the recruiting class,” said Blue. “They don’t play like freshmen, which is really nice. They’re really aggressive, they’re willing to learn and they’re excited to be a part of Lehigh field hockey.”
The Mountain Hawks open their season with two straight at home, next Saturday (Aug. 25) vs. Ball State at 12 p.m. and Sunday (Aug. 26) against Liberty at 1 p.m.
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