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Aug. 26, 2019 — NCAA Division III Preview

The Fearless 5ive

Messiah
Middlebury
Rowan
Salisbury
The College of New Jersey

One year ago, Rowan walked off the field after dropping the 2018 national title game. The Profs are looking to contend without leading scorer Rachel Galante, but Bridget Guinan, Krystyna Hovell, and Kristina Castagnola return. Morgan Novak, who played all but 56 minutes last year, is a senior captain as goalkeeper.

Middlebury beat Rowan on that November day, and they should have enough talent to replace a number of senior scorers. Start with Erin Nicholas and Danielle Brown, the two juniors who are the Panthers’ leading scorers. Also, there’s Marissa Baker, who did not see the field until the sixth game of the season, but is one of the leading returning scorers for this year’s side.

But if there’s a team which is going to be trouble for the entirety of Division III, it’s The College of New Jersey. The team’s four leading scorers — Cayla Andrews, Kayla Peterson, Tori Tiefenthaler, and Tori Hannah — return. Their collective output last year was 57 goals and 27 assists. Such a balanced attack may be hard to stop.

For Salisbury, the team will be led by Tara Daddio, the team’s leading returning scorer. The team also gets a boost of Division I-level talent as Delmar (Del.) star Peyton Kemp has transferred from Syracuse.

Brooke Good enters her eighth season at Messiah this fall, and is primed to bring the Falcons a second national championship. For that to happen, she will have to get the best out of a team returning little of its 66-goal output. Hannah Palm and Kris Levesque will lead the charge.

The Contenders

Johns Hopkins
Rochester
Tufts
Vassar
Washington & Jefferson

Tufts does not return a double-digit goal-scorer, but will have Marguerite Salamone, who recorded seven assists for the Jumbos. Sophomore Andie Stallman looks to lead the defense from her goalie position.

Vassar was one of the first schools Constance Applebee visited after instituting field hockey at Harvard in 1901. It took 100 years for the team to become nationally-ranked as they were as high as fifth in the NFHCA poll. Chalk up a lot of this to head coach Michael Warari and his staff, but they’re going to have to work doubly hard as the team’s three leading scorers have graduated.

Washington & Jefferson graduate leading scorers Alana Boyd and Rachal Buyan, but will have plenty of game experience up and down the lineup. Goalkeeper Rena Israel will lead the Presidents on defense.

Johns Hopkins made last year’s national semifinals despite scoring a mere 56 goals. However, they all came at the right time, allowing Jodie Baris, the Westport Staples (Conn.) product, to shut down the opposition. Her goals-against last year was 0.93, an excellent average in this era of turf and composite sticks.

Our Division III dark horse is Rochester. It is the top team in the preseason Liberty League poll, and is led by a seven-member senior class including goalkeeper Kate Kujawa. The Yellowjackets have never gotten past the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament and, with six out of their top eight players returning, could be a real threat to the Division III order.

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