Date Posted:09/06/2005,  10:30AM

2005 Field Hockey Preview

HEAD COACH: Nicky Pearson (10th season, 109-34)

LEADING RETURNERS: Taryn King (6 goals-10 assists, First Team All-NESCAC, First Team All-New England, Second Team All-American), Christi Gannon (4-2), Sarah Horn (4-0), Kate Leonard (1081 minutes, 81 saves, 0.71 GAA, First Team All-NESCAC, Second Team All-New England), Margaret Gormley (Second Team All-NESCAC, Second Team All-New England)

KEY LOSSES: Marissa O'Neil (8 goals-8 assists, First Team All-NESCAC, First Team All-New England, Second Team All-American), Colleen McDonald (7-2), Jessica Ross, Kate Brady

NEWCOMERS: Tamlyn Frederick, Katherine Gormley, Lindsay McNamara, Madeleine McQueeney, Julia King, Leah Ferenc, Kristen Veiga, Emileigh Mercer

2004 RECAP (10-5): The Polar Bears, led by the scorching offensive efforts of senior Marissa O'Neil, outscored their opponents at a blistering pace, netting 37 goals and allowing just 11 in 15 games. O'Neil led the goal-scoring charge alongside classmate Colleen McDonald and sophomore Taryn King. The real story of the season, though, was the team's balance, as the defensive corps was proved just as effective as its offensive counterpart. Led by seniors Jess Ross and Kate Brady, along with junior All-New England honoree Margaret Gormley, the backfield helped goaltender Kate Leonard to miniscule 0.71 goals against average. The team did not allow more than two goals in a single game all season and never lost by a margin greater than a single goal. However, in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs, Colby needed no more than that to cut short the Polar Bears' season as Bowdoin was eliminated in a tough 1-0 loss at Ryan Field.

2005 PREVIEW: Coach Nicky Pearson's squad suffered some off-season losses, but a stalwart netminder, a sharp-shooting junior, and a small but worthy corps of seniors are looking to make a playoff run and compete for the NESCAC crown. Senior defender Margaret Gormley, who earned All-New England honors for her play last season will lead a strong defensive unit alongside classmate Allyson Craib who will likely have a career-defining season as a regular starter. Upfront, fellow senior Christi Gannon will work in tandem with junior Taryn King who led last season's squad in assists and was named an All-American performer. Add to that mix juniors Sarah Horn, Burgess LePage and sophomore Hillary Hoffman, and the Polar Bears will rely on a balanced recipe for finding the back of the net. Much of the pressure for the team's success though will fall squarely on the shoulders of Kate Leonard who hopes to repeat her breakthrough performance of last season. Look for the returning players to avenge last season's losses against NESCAC rivals Colby (Sept. 17), Middlebury (Oct. 2), and Wesleyan (Oct. 29) as they make their push to stand atop the NESCAC.

DID YOU KNOW?: The Bowdoin field hockey squad has been a mark of consistency as head coach Nicky Pearson enters her 10th season at the helm. The team has reached double figures in victories every season under Pearson and has won at least 10 games in the last 13 seasons; easily the longest string of success in the NESCAC, out-pacing Williams (six straight) and Middlebury (four straight).

COACH PEARSON SAYS: "Obviously, the team will feel the effects of graduation, particularly up front where we lost two starting forwards. But we've got a good, solid group of returners- some with three years of significant experience- and our first-years will add some depth to the team. Overall, our challenge for this season will be to replace the goals we've lost."