2001 one for the ages
The 2001 season will long be remembered in Catholic University field hockey history. Despite going just 5-13 the previous season and playing in the top conference in the region, the Cardinals jelled early, getting off to a 14-1 start en route to a record-setting 16-4 season and finishing runner-up in the ECAC Mid-Atlantic Region postseason tournament.
Emotionally, it was a roller coaster year.
"With the attack on America in September, a lot of our girls had to make many trips back to New Jersey and Philadelphia to attend viewings and funerals," said third-year head coach Lisa Thompson, "and then when my mother passed away at the beginning of October our spirits were again tested.
"I was back and forth from Buffalo, the girls were forced to lead practices themselves, continue to balance all their academic workload, my assistant coach suddenly was working two full-time jobs, and everyone continued to hold their heads high. We had some of the highest GPAs in my time here at Catholic."
Catholic had an inkling they could do something special with the way they bounced back from a loss to No. 1 Salisbury in the season's third game. Conference foe St. Mary's scored late in the second half to take the game to overtime.
"They played us hard the entire game," Thompson recalls. "We were tired in overtime, the field was slow but our girls really persevered. Tricia Hines delivered a beautiful pass across field to Andi Snyder, and Andi dove headfirst to score the winning goal.
"When she came back to the huddle she still had grass stuck to her forehead. I will never forget it."
It was soon thereafter that the Cardinals got the attention of Division III by beating No. 12 Gettysburg and No. 5 Mary Washington in consecutive weeks. They were two of three wins the team would post against teams that eventually made the NCAA Tournament.
Catholic did not get one of the five at-large "Pool B" bids to the 18-team NCAA Tournament for conferences without automatic bids, but was selected to host the ECAC Tournament as the top seed.
"At first it felt like a bittersweet victory," said Thompson. "Our region is competitive and we knew we were head-to-head with a lot of programs. But then when we received the news that we were hosting ECACs, we were thrilled with that opportunity."
The Cardinals drew Washington College after a first-round bye and rode a Katie Iannacone shutout and a Steph Roselle goal to win 1-0 before falling to Montclair State 2-1 in the championship game.
"It was our first postseason experience and it is a great feeling to be on your own field," said Thompson. "We had a great turnout of fans and I was so proud of our girls. They worked so hard, played with such class and are just an amazing group of women. I was glad that the ECAC committee recognized all of their accomplishments of this year."
Several Cardinals also were recognized for their individual accomplishments, including Snyder, who became the program's first All-American, earning third team honors. She led the team in assists with seven while scoring 10 goals. Four of those 10 scores were game-winning goals.
"It's a great accomplishment in which she is very deserving," said Thompson. "Andi has had a fantastic career here at Catholic. She worked hard to make a name for herself in the CAC, the South Region and now nationally. She really matured this year as a player and a leader on the field. She learned and adjusted to many different roles. She made an impact offensively, defensively and was key to our transition. She played selflessly and worked to bring the best out of her teammates. She has left an unbelievable mark on this program."
Juniors Sondra Pires and Stephanie Roselle (pictured) were each named second team Regional All-Americans as well.
Snyder and Pires were named first team All-Conference, while Roselle and Hines earned second team honors. And senior Aileen Gambescia was selected to play in the NFHCA North/South Senior All-Star Game, played at the site of the Division III Final Four, held at Springfield, Mass.
"Oftentimes defensive players can get overlooked," said Thompson, "because they do not necessarily have the stats of an offensive player. But defense controls and changes the pace of the game, it determines and changes momentum. Defense can win or lose a game for you. Aileen was key to our 16 wins this season, and I'm glad the regional committee recognized that."
Although Catholic graduates five seniors from the record-breaking 2001 squad, hopes are still high for the future as the Cardinals pursue their first NCAA Tournament bid.
2001 Results (16-4, 3-2 CAC) | Stats
|Sept. 1||Ohio Wesleyan||Haverford, Pa.||W, 4-0|
|Sept. 2||Haverford||Haverford, Pa.||W, 4-1|
|Sept. 5||Salisbury *||DuFour Center||L, 5-1|
|Sept. 8||at St. Mary's *||St. Mary's City, Md.||W, 2-1 (OT)|
|Sept. 13||at Bryn Mawr||Bryn Mawr, Pa.||ccd.|
|Sept. 16||Gwynedd Mercy||DuFour Center||ccd.|
|Sept. 18||Gettysburg||DuFour Center||W, 4-1|
|Sept. 22||at Goucher *||Towson, Md.||W, 1-0|
|Sept. 24||at Georgetown (Div. I)||Washington, D.C.||ppd.|
|Sept. 26||Mary Washington *||DuFour Center||W, 5-4|
|Sept. 29||Christopher Newport||DuFour Center||W, 7-0|
|Oct. 2||Franklin & Marshall||DuFour Center||W, 2-0|
|Oct. 4||Johns Hopkins||DuFour Center||W, 4-3 (OT)|
|Oct. 6||at Eastern Mennonite||Harrisonburg, Va.||W, 3-2|
|Oct. 7||at Washington & Lee||Lexington, Va.||W, 3-1|
|Oct. 10||Frostburg State||DuFour Center||W, 2-0|
|Oct. 13||Notre Dame (Md.)||DuFour Center||W, 4-1|
|Oct. 16||Villa Julie||DuFour Center||W, 4-1|
|Oct. 18||at York (Pa.) *||York, Pa.||L, 1-0|
|Oct. 22||St. Mary's (Md.) %||DuFour Center||W, 2-1|
|Oct. 25||at Mary Washington %||Fredericksburg, Va.||L, 4-3 (OT)|
|ECAC Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament|
Montclair vs. Drew
|DuFour Center||W, 2-1 (OT)|
|Nov. 3||Washington College||DuFour Center||W, 1-0|
|Nov. 4||Montclair State||DuFour Center||L, 1-0|
* CAC games
% CAC Tournament
Home games in bold
|2||Linnea Patt||So.||B||Salisbury, Md./James Bennett|
|3||Danielle Deon||So.||F||Cape May Ct House, N.J./Middle Township|
|4||Sondra Pires||Jr.||B||Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth|
|5||Stephanie Roselle||Jr.||F||Tinton Falls, N.J./Red Bank Catholic|
|6||Rebecca Clark||Fr.||M||Pasadena, Md./Seton Keough|
|7||Sarah Scannell||Fr.||B||Wilmington, Del.|
|9||Aileen Gambescia||Sr.||B||Havertown, Pa./Merion Mercy|
|10||Katie Iannacone||Jr.||GK||Havertown, Pa./Villa Maria|
|11||Megan Hartnett||So.||F||West Chester, Pa./Villa Maria|
|12||Erin Swift||Fr.||GK||Middletown, N.J./Red Bank Catholic|
|14||Kim Nolen||Jr.||F||Blue Bell, Pa./Merion Mercy|
|15||Renee Desrochers||So.||B||Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill|
|17||Deanna Feliciani||Sr.||B||Norristown, Pa./Merion Mercy|
|18||Meghan Nigborowicz||Fr.||M||Pittsburgh, Pa./The Ellis School|
|19||Jen Altman||Sr.||F||Hampton Bays, N.Y./Hampton Bays HS|
|20||Tricia Hines||So.||M||Churchville, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy|
|21||Andi Snyder||Sr.||F||Bryn Mawr, Pa./Sacred Heard|
|22||Maggie Mahoney||Sr.||F||Gaithersburg, Md./Stone Ridge|
|24||Ellen Manning||Fr.||B||Wharton, N.J./Morris Nolls|
Head Coach: Lisa Thompson
Assistant Coaches: Gia Fenoglio
Captains: Andi Snyder, Maggie Mahoney