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Nicole Goff
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Lady Monarchs Open Up Season at Penn State and American

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: August 27, 2014
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NORFOLK, Va. – The ninth-ranked Old Dominion field hockey team will compete for the first time in the 2014 regular season with two tough road tests, starting with No. 8 Penn State on Friday, Aug. 29 at 5:00 p.m., followed by a matchup with No. 19 American at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31.

2013 Season Recap
In their inaugural season in the BIG EAST, the Lady Monarchs went 6-1 during the regular season, only losing to 19th-ranked Louisville, 3-2, in overtime. ODU made it to the conference tournament final, but fell to Connecticut 1-0, who was ranked seventh in the country at the time and eventually hoisted the National Championship trophy in November. Overall, Old Dominion went 13-8 on the year, with all eight of its losses coming to opponents ranked 19th or higher. The team also made it to the NCAA Tournament for the 31st time in program history, where it fell to Wake Forest, 3-2, in the first round.

Series Record vs. Penn State
Old Dominion enters the game holding a 14-12 advantage over Penn State in the series that dates back to the 1986 season. Last season, the Nittany Lions recorded a 3-1 win over the Monarchs. The last time ODU defeated Penn State was during the 2011 season when the Monarchs claimed a 5-2 victory. Penn State’s largest margin of victory over ODU came during the 2010 and 1999 seasons when it tallied a 4-0 and 5-1 victory, respectively. The Monarchs largest margin of victory was recorded twice when ODU defeated the Nittany Lions by seven goals in the 1997 and 1995 seasons.

Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions finished the 2013 season with a 13-6 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Big Ten play. Penn State made it to the NCAA Tournament where it fell to No. 8 Princeton, 5-4, in the first round. Penn State welcomes back three players that were named to the 2014 Big Ten Field Hockey Players to Watch List. Seniors Katie Breneman, Laura Gebhart and Taylor Herald each earned the recognition.

In 2013, Breneman helped anchor a Nittany Lion squad that secured six shutouts. She started all 19 contests and logged 1,302 minutes played, the third most on the team. Gebhart is named to the list for the third-consecutive season. The senior earned First Team All-Big Ten honors following last season and was named a 2013 Longstreth/NFHCA Division I Second Team All-American. As a junior, Gebhart paced the Nittany Lions with 14 assists. Herold, named to the list for the first time, was a 2013 Second Team All-Big Ten selection. Last season, she started 18 games and led the squad with 13 goals and 30 points.

Series Record vs. American
The Lady Monarchs hold a 28-2 advantage in the series against American, with the first meeting coming in 1978. ODU’s last loss came during the 2005 season when the Eagles defeated the Lady Monarchs, 3-2, at Forman Field. Old Dominion recorded its largest margin of victory during the 2001 season when the Lady Monarchs notched an 11-0 shutout over American.

Scouting American
After claiming the Patriot League Championship title last season, the Eagles were picked to repeat in 2014. AU earned 68 points and eight first-place votes in the poll. Last season, the Eagles claimed the Patriot League regular season and tournament titles and made it to the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in program history. AU defeated Quinnipiac, 3-1, in the play-in round and then fell to Maryland, 4-1, in first round action.

The Eagles welcome back First Team All-Patriot League selection Grace Wilson and second team pick Carly Atchison. The duo was recently voted to the Preseason All-Patriot League Field Hockey Team after combining to score 42 points on 14 goals and 14 assists last season. Wilson finished the season tied for first on the team with 10 goals, while Atchison tallied a team-leading 11 assists on the year.

Fuhrman, Goff, Smither, Villagra and Wagner Named 2014 Team Captains
Senior Katie Fuhrman returns as a forward for the Lady Monarchs after starting in all 21 games last season. She notched four goals and two assists to total 10 points. In the 5-0 win over Connecticut during the regular season, Fuhrman led the team with two goals.

Nicole Goff is welcomed back on the Monarchs’ offensive line for her final season with ODU. Last season, she saw action in all 21 games, making 10 starts, and tallied five points on one goal and three assists. She highlighted her season with one goal and one assist against Louisville in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals. For her efforts, she was named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team

As a midfielder last season, senior Kelsey Smither led all Lady Monarchs with 14 assists and finished third on the team in points. She earned Second Team All-America, All-BIG EAST First Team and NFHCA All-South Region honors. For the 2014 season, Smither was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team.

Rosario Villagra finished her junior season with a team-leading 41 points on 14 goals and 13 assists. She was not only the conference player of the year, but a First Team All-BIG EAST selection and an NFHCA All-South Region Team member. For the 2014 season, Villagra was picked to repeat as the conference’s Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST squad.

Cassandra Wagner started in all 21 games as a forward or midfielder during her junior campaign. She recorded four goals to total eight points for the Monarchs. She highlighted the season with two goals against Quinnipiac and Villanova.

Noting the Monarchs’ 2014 Schedule
The Lady Monarchs will take part in an 18-game regular-season schedule, including 11 teams that reached the NCAA Tournament and seven conference champions. To further this note, of the 11 NCAA Tournament qualifying teams, ODU will take on all four of the teams that reached the semifinals and the 2013 National Champion, Connecticut.

After the two matches this weekend, the Lady Monarchs begin their home schedule with a matchup against Wake Forest on Friday, Sept. 5 at 5:00 p.m. at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex.

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