Coach Smith Excited to Begin New Era
A new era of Pacific Field Hockey will begin with the 2013 season. After adding coach Andy Smith from Cal in the offseason, the Tigers are poised to contend for a NorPac conference championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament. Certainly, there is a feeling of excitement and optimism amongst the coaching staff and players on the Stockton campus.
After announcing plans to play exclusively on turf fields in the 2013 season, coach Andy Smith took the Tigers' preseason training one step further when he announced plans to also practice exclusively on turf, holding preseason workouts at the Stockton Arena on turf formerly used by Stockton's now defunct arena football franchise.
"Stockton Arena was just phenomenal for us." Smith said of the downtown facility. "For us to be able to train in that world class venue for two weeks has been an incredible experience. The team was very happy with it and we got two weeks of hard work in there to set us up well for the season."
The season will begin with three designated home contests on turf fields in Palo Alto and Berkeley, Calif., against Michigan State, Missouri State and VCU. In late September, the Tigers will take a trip to the East Coast for a unique challenge.
Smith believes the trip will be extremely beneficial for the team. "We've got a trip to Philadelphia where we play four games in four days. For me that's the best possible preparation for the conference tournament."
Overall, the Tigers will be tested in three different time zones, including a trip to Iowa City, Iowa.
"We've got a very strong schedule, with potentially four to five top 25 teams on it." Coach Smith noted, "it's a very tough schedule but we feel we will be able to compete."
Smith expressed excitement in adding assistant coach Laura Spellman, who was on his roster at Cal, and athletic trainer Renee Romo to the staff. In addition, Pacific adds a freshman class including several players that will provide a key role for the Tigers.
Smith expects freshman Laura Pujade to contribute immediately in goal while fellow freshmen Katharine Egan, Kyleigh Morrison, Nicole Laskosky and Sidney Brooks will see significant playing time at their respective positions.
Pacific's head coach cited sophomore Kirsten Doting as Pacific's most improved player and someone he expects to be an important part of the defense this season. He also noted Redshirt sophomore Erica Gordon had a strong preseason showing and expects to be a commanding presence in the midfield.
Sophomore Kelsey Gulledge is expected to provide leadership in the backfield while Hannah Bettencourt and Molly Bettencourt are expected to be stalwarts in the midfield for the Tigers. Junior Malia Robertson will see time at midfield and forward, while Lauren Peterson will see time in the backfield along with Kayley Brown.
Senior co-captain Emily Tregoning will continue being an anchor on the midfield while senior co-captain Katelyn Tatar will be an integral part of the forward line. Seniors Paige Counsman and Melissa Maultsby, who co-led the Tigers in goals last season, will again be counted on to provide leadership to a young squad while serving as the orange and black's top goal scoring options.
Pacific's season will begin 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 as they play host to Michigan State in Palo Alto.