Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Five first years fueling Field Hockey -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
GITTENS, MINK MAKING IMPACT ON FIELD HOCKEY
Graduates leave a program and new players enter...it's an inevitable fact in college athletics. The hope is that you can somewhat fill the talent gap that is departing and that the recent arrivals will help keep the team on the improve incline...or at the very least...the status quo.
Louisville Field Hockey (4-0) had eight new players come into the program and five have had an immediate effect on the squad. Four freshmen and a graduate student. A global coverage in the hometown's for these five...ranging from New Zealand and Australia to the Netherlands, England and Delaware.
Lizzie Gittens GS Southhampton, England. This talented mid-fielder/back came to Louisville to participate as a graduate student after being on England's U 21 squad. Out of The Toynbee School, Lizzie has started all four games for Louisville and tallied two goals. Her experience on the international level has helped the Cards in all factors of the game. Just as Trey Lewis and Damian Lee benefited Louisville MBB as GS's...and Taylor Johnson hopes to do the same for Louisville WBB...Gittens has been a very nice "acquire" for the Cards.
Minout Mink FR Haaksbergen, Netherlands. She's the leading scorer for the Cards with five goals and has started three out of the four games for UofL. A hard-charging forward that seems to glide by defenders with ease and accuracy, she can also create interceptions with her defensive intensity. A member of the Dutch U 18 squad that won the European Championships...Mink has scored in all four Louisville games. The Cards have 19 goals on the season, so she's responsible for over 25% of the scoring. Louisville appears to "be in the pink" with Mink !!!
Whena Munn FR Wellington, New Zealand. Having two starts in four games...but 11th. in minutes played for UofL, Munn comes to Louisville after a stellar career in NZ high school Field Hockey and she also competed in Dragon Boat competitve racing. Imagine being in a boat with 20-22 other people, including a drummer and a sweep! Munn has a goal and an assist on the season. Another fast and penetrating forward on the UofL roster, she is one of the "Magnificent Seven" doing the attacking for the Stick Cards. Whether she's talked former Cardinal great and now graduate assistant Vic Stratton (also from New Zealand) into "Dragoning the Ohio" yet or not is unknown...
Bethany Russ FR Melbourne, Australia. With three starts and two assists, she's been a steady performer at mid-field for Justine Sowry's flock this season. Teaming up with Lotta Kahlert, Erin McCrudden, Nicole Woods and several others at the "middie" spot...she's an integral part of Sowry's rapid-fire substitution sequence and has worked in well with the returners. She looks to run her own business after her college days. So far, she's been part of a strong partnership at the center spot for the #12 in the nation Cards.
Is it too early to borrow a men's basketball phrase and start calling her "Russ" diculous?
Carter Ayers FR Wilmington, Delaware. Carter is one of the defensive back that stand in front of sophomore goalkeeper Ayeshia McFerran and as a group they've done quite well in allowing just three goals in four games. Losing Stratton and Elisa Garcia to graduation meant that the backs would need the services of a few newcomers right off the bat and Ayers has been one that has stepped forward. The lone American out of the five we've mentioned here...she does have international experience...travelling to South Africa, staying on a reserve and taking wildlife photos. Let's hope all the pictures of her this season have her turning away opponent's scores.
We should not fail to mention that Sowry had a pretty strong nucleus returning...with McFerran, Kahlert, McCrudden, Hailey Netherton, Shannon Sloss, Stephanie Byrne, Nicole Woods, Gianna Perrone, Taylor Stone and Abby Grimes. The key is mixing the old in with the new for that perfect balance. It would appear, early on...that Sowry and staff have the correct blend. The challenge ahead, as it has been the last several seasons, is the ACC Conference...the best in Field Hockey and currently with five of the top eight in the nation ranked...#1 UNC, #2 Syracuse, #4 Duke, #7 Wake Forest and #8 Boston College.
If the Cards can take care of business at home (and three of these top eight will visit Trager) it should be another season where the Cards finish well over .500 and contend for the NCAA Championships. Some say the ACC Championships are tougher. Either way, lots of excellent pitch action awaits...the Cards are out to protect Trager and so far...it's a very safe place for the team and fans.