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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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field hockey serious about enjoying season

Field hockey has kept Amanda DiMarco and Chessie Martinez together for the last eight years, whether at Muhlenberg, on a club team that traveled to Florida and California, or on a Mountain Lakes (N.J.) High School team that went 23-2 and reached the state semifinals their junior year. The following year, according to DiMarco, “we weren’t as successful, but it was more fun because we had a great group of seniors.”

The two seniors hope to have the best of both worlds – a season that is both
Amanda DiMarco
DiMarco has started every game for the Mules the last two years, scoring one goal and recording a pair of defensive saves.
successful and fun – when they and their Mule teammates kick off their 2010 campaign by hosting the four-team Mule Classic this Friday and Saturday.

“As much as we’re intense, we try to keep it fun. That’s why we play – because we love the sport. There’s no reason we can’t have fun while we’re beating somebody,” said Martinez with a laugh.

Muhlenberg has consistently beaten other teams – finishing at .500 or better 10 of the last 12 years – and went 9-8 last season, finishing in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Centennial Conference but missing out on a playoff berth on tiebreakers.

“We really want to stay positive throughout the whole season,” said Martinez. “We know we have to be physically tough, and we also have to stay mentally tough.”

“One thing we’ve learned through playing is what it is really like to be on a team,” added DiMarco. “If one person’s down, everyone’s down.”

Muhlenberg is down its top two scorers from 2009, a pair of all-conference players who combined for 16 of the team’s 24 goals. But the seniors don’t think scoring is going to be an issue.

“We have more variety, a lot of forwards who can score,” said Martinez, who with
Chessie Martinez
Martinez leads all active Mules in career games played with 50.
five career goals leads all active Mule forwards. “We don’t have ‘go-to’ girls who we think we have to get the ball to in order to score. We work well together, trust each other and have a lot of confidence that our teammates can score.”

Joining Martinez on the forward line are juniors Jillian Katz (4 career goals) and Courtney DeAngelis (3 career goals) and sophomores Kiara Santana and Nicole Fiorentino, who were impressive as rookies last year. Sophomore Jaclyn Todisco can play either forward or midfield.

The forward line also should get a boost from senior Cristina Steglitz, a strong finisher inside the circle who hasn’t played since her freshman year due to injury.

Anchoring the defense is sophomore Kristen Dornenburg, who ranked in the top 30 in Division III in both save percentage (a Centennial Conference-leading .810) and goals-against average (1.46) during a great freshman season. Juniors Brittany DeAngelis (left back) and Cait Teegarden (right back) both started every game last year, with DeAngelis making a team-leading 5 defensive saves.

Senior Jess Kasza is a two-year starter at center midfield and enters her final season with 22 career points. DiMarco will be a key midfield player, while junior Renee Norton and sophomore Tiffany Kreider could contribute at either midfield or back.

Muhlenberg got a headstart on the season when it traveled to Barbados and is carrying forward the good vibes from that trip. “We have a real good bond,” commented Martinez. “We’re communicating very well, which is something we worked hard at.”

“The freshmen came in well prepared and with good skills, and they mesh well with the team,” noted DiMarco. “It’s looking really good for this year.”

Muhlenberg® Collegeempty2400 Chew St.emptyAllentown, PA 18104-5586empty484.664.3100empty484.664.3623  (TTY)