AU field hockey has a fresh outlook for fall 2021

With an optimistic preseason behind them, the Eagles are ready to return to the field

AU field hockey has a fresh outlook for fall 2021
AU field hockey shut out Bucknell on March 14 in its season opener.

On April 22, the American University field hockey team got knocked out of the Patriot League tournament in the semifinals. On Sept. 27, the team will return to the field against Virginia Commonwealth University to reclaim its honor.

“We have a lot of talent and a lot we can work with; it’s just a matter of putting in the work and having the right mentality,” head coach Steve Jennings said after the team’s semifinal loss to Bucknell.

Despite the disappointing end to their spring 2021 season, the Eagles have a new look, a fresh perspective and a commitment to excellence on both offense and defense that the team hopes will help them take flight this season. 

However, the Eagles will also be entering the fall 2021 season without one of the best players in program history. Noor Coenen, the 2019 and 2021 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year as well as AU’s 2021 leader in goals and assists, graduated this past spring. With her departure, The Eagles’ offense will be tasked with the challenge of finding a new direction without their star offensive player. AU will have to rely on their remaining and incoming offensive players, including senior Aidan Rossman, junior Julia Kraft and graduate student Gaby De Kock.

Rossman was crucial to the Eagles’ success all season, scoring the first goal of the season in AU’s 4-0 shutout season opener against Bucknell on March 14. De Kock, who scored two of AU’s 13 goals in the spring, helped carry this dynamic offensive effort throughout the season, scoring a thrilling game-winner vs Lafayette on April 4. Kraft scored two goals, one in AU’s 2-1 loss against Bucknell on March 28 and one in AU’s 2-0 shutout win against Lehigh University on April 11.

The team’s defensive powerhouses, junior Charllene Boshoff and senior Georgia Davies, were also crucial to the Eagles’ success during the shortened spring 2021 season. Notably, the pair kept the ball out of AU’s defensive circle in the first quarter of the 2-0 shutout win against Lehigh on April 11, keeping the game going before AU’s offense came alive in the second quarter. 

Additionally, sophomore goalie Bryn Underwood saved AU from losses on numerous occasions last season, notably keeping the game afloat in double-overtime vs Lafayette before De Kock’s game-winner, and will be backed up in the rotation by junior Abbie Ortyl and senior Dani Acuna.

AU field hockey is welcoming seven new incoming freshmen to their roster. Compared to last year’s team, which only had four freshmen, this is an incredibly young lineup. AU will be gaining fresh faces on both the offensive and defensive side this season, and they’ve already begun to show just how talented they are. Last season, AU struggled in the midfield — matchup after matchup resulted in midfield battles for the majority of the game. Five of the incoming Eagles are midfielders.

This upcoming season is a chance for AU to reclaim their spot atop the Patriot League following its win in 2019. They open the season today at 3 p.m. ET against Virginia Commonwealth University. Evidently, this year’s Eagles are off to a great start.

largiropoulos@theeagleonline.com 

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