Youthful Bates field hockey team eager to go in 2015

Tri-captain Hannah Beinecke and the Bates College field hockey team open the 2015 season at home against Husson on Wednesday, Sept. 9. (File photo by Russ Dillingham/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- As the Bates field hockey team concludes preseason and prepares to step into regular season play, third-year head coach Dani Ryder is excited about the possibilities to come in the 2015 season. With a roster that includes eight new faces and more depth than ever, the squad is looking to build upon the 2014 season.

"There are new ideas and some creative changes happening for Bates field hockey; it's an exciting time to be a Bobcat coming off of a successful 2014-15 year for many teams and we are looking to capitalize on that positive energy within our own program," said Ryder.

Clearly, Ryder has her eye on building the program from the ground up, but that doesn't mean there's any void of veteran leadership.

The Bobcats' senior tri-captains are all highly experienced and proven players, forward Shannon Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.), defender Hannah Beinecke (Manchester, Mass.) and goalkeeper Cristina Vega (Needham, Mass.). Beaton led the team in goals last year, while both Beinecke and Vega played in every game last season. Vega made 14 starts in net while Beinecke scored two goals and helped anchor the Bates defense.

Other proven veteran include a pair of returning sophomores who have already earned NFHCA All-Region honors as first-year players -- defender Delaney Nalen (Greenwood Village, Colo.) and midfielder Caroline O'Reilly (Longmeadow, Mass.).

Joing Bates in 2015 are eight first-years, two of whom are former high school teammates of Nalen and O'Reilly. Emma Patterson (Denver, Colo.) and Jessie Moriarty (Springfield, Mass.) come from their states' top programs at Kent Denver School and Longmeadow (Mass.) High School, respectively. Moriarty, a high-scoring forward, cleared the 100 career points plateau in her senior year, becoming the highest scoring forward in program history. In addition, Bates' freshmen class welcomes Shelbie McCormack (Tyngsborough, Mass.), Adelae Durand (Cumberland, R.I.), Adah Lindquist (Wayne, Pa.), Caroline Barnes (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Taylor Lough (Little Compton, R.I.), and Mackenzie Winslow (Winslow, Maine).

In all, the Bates roster will have 22 student-athletes. 

"We have a lot of depth across each line, from the goalkeeper position all the way through the forwards," said Ryder. "The group is strong with a great mix of two really big back-to-back classes, along with a group of returners who have really dedicated themselves to this program over the past two years."

Bates hosts Husson University in its first official game of 2015 at Campus Avenue Field on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 7pm.