In her 16th season last year Buckeye Field Hockey Coach Anne Wilkinson took her team to the NCAA tournament after a 12-9 record. Returning to the tournament will be no small task in 2012. Wilkinson is entering her 17th year as head coach of the squad and, even though she faces many challenges, she still feels good about the 2012 team.
The Buckeyes only have three seniors returning this year but all three are entering their fourth year as starters. In addition to being seniors, Danica Deckard, Berta Queralt, and Laura Napolitano have all been named tri-captains by Wilkinson for the upcoming season.
“I’m excited about the leadership of this team for this upcoming season,” head coach Anne Wilkinson said. “Danica, Laura and Berta have the experience to lead a team, playing in more than 150 games combined the last three years.”
Deckard is returning from an outstanding 2012 campaign in which she led the team in goals with 11 and was tied for the team lead in points with 24. Those numbers led her to second team All Big Ten honors. In addition to that Danica is also a two-time recipient of the Academic All Big Ten honors.
Berta Queralt is a two-time NFHCA third team All-American and three-time All-Big ten selection. The forward from Spain was second on the team in goals with 10 and was tied with Deckard with 24 points. In 2009 as a freshman she scored an astounding 46 goals and became the first freshman in the program’s history to be named All-American. Queralt then followed her freshman season up by scoring 47 points.
Laura Napolitano is a home grown product from Cincinnati, Ohio. Last year she was named Big Ten Defensive player of the week in week three. The three-time Academic Big Ten honoree scored a career high nine points last year and looks to build on that for her senior season. Where Napolitano really shines is on the penalty corner unit. That unit averaged 7.14 corners last year and is a key component to the Buckeye scoring attack.
One area that the Buckeyes have to be worried about is at the goalkeeping position. Outgoing senior Ally Tunitis was the keeper of record in all 21 games last year and posted a.706 save percentage. Junior Emma Voelker looks to step in and lead Ohio State’s defense. Only time will tell what she is able to do because she only played in 2 games last year, facing a mere 4 shots while giving up 2 goals.
The Buckeyes opened camp this past Thursday at Buckeye Varsity Field, which is in its third season as the home to the field hockey team. On August 18 they will be playing in exhibition game in their first tune up for regular season play that begins on the road in New Hampshire against UMass on August 25. The first of eight home matches is on September 9 when they face Miami(OH). Check out your Buckeyes in person at Varsity Field, on the Big Ten Network, or here as they begin their march towards another NCAA appearance.