The University of Scranton field hockey team enjoyed an outstanding season last fall, but a heartbreaking overtime loss in the Landmark Conference semifinals at Fitzpatrick Field dashed the championship aspirations for the Royals.
Scranton will now look to win its first-ever Landmark Conference championship this season as the Royals were selected second in the Landmark Conference preseason coaches' poll after garnering 47 points and one first-place vote. Scranton posted a 15-3 overall record last fall including a 6-1 mark in conference games.
The competition will be fierce as always in the Landmark Conference with Catholic selected as the preseason favorite with 68 points and six first place votes. Juniata, who ousted the Royals from the postseason last season on its way to winning the conference title, and Elizabethtown, tied for third in the balloting with 46 points apiece, just one point behind Scranton.
Rounding out this season's preseason poll were Susquehanna (26 points), Goucher (19 points), Moravian (12 points), and Drew (8 points).
Under the leadership of 14th year head coach Colleen Moyer, Scranton has appeared in the Landmark Conference playoffs in six of the past seven seasons.
The Royals return 20 players from last year's squad including four players who earned All-Landmark Conference accolades while welcoming 11 freshman to the program.
Scranton returns three of its top four scorers form the 2017 campaign. Senior Elizabeth Tolley (Brookside, N.J./West Morris Mendham) recorded 13 goals and had five assists for 31 points on her way to claiming Second Team All-Conference honors. Sophomore Megan Gallagher (Thorndale, Pa./Bishop Shanahan), also a Second Team All-Conference selection, contributed 16 points with four goals and a team-leading eight assists while junior Grace McClatchy (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) also returns after contributing three goals and six helpers for 12 points.
Senior Katherine McVeagh (Flourtown, Pa./Springfield Township) has started all 35 games over the past two seasons in the midfield for the Royals and is expected to provided leadership in the center of the field as a team captain, along with Tolley, after collecting two assists a year ago.
On the defensive side of the ball, Scranton will look for strong sophomore campaigns from Jenna Cyr (Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh) and Christina Motz (Glenside, Pa./Gwynedd-Mercy Academy). Cyr was named the captured NFHCA Second Team All-Region, First Team All-Conference, and Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year honors last fall after posting a 1.07 goals against average and a .792 save percentage in the Royals' cage. Motz claimed Second Team All-Landmark Conference honors after starting all 18 games as a leader of the Royals' defensive unit.
Scranton opens the 2018 season on Friday at 7 p.m. at Muhlenberg before making its home debut in the Royals' first-ever game on Weiss Field next Wednesday, September 5, at 7 p.m. The Royals will open Landmark Conference play at home on Saturday, September 22, against Catholic.
To view the full 2018 University of Scranton field hockey schedule, click here.