By Jeff Milby–
The biggest story surrounding field hockey this season is their youth. Ten freshmen needed to be integrated into a team selected ninth in the preseason NFHCA poll, the highest preseason rank in program history.
If coach Justine Sowry knew which of those freshmen would come to the forefront, she kept it close to her chest. When asked if any of the rookies stood out in the preseason, Sowry was mum on the subject at media day.
It didn’t take long, though, for one of the youngsters to steal the spotlight. Through four games played, Marisa Martin Pelegrina is tied for the team lead in points at seven, with two goals and three assists to her name. After the season opening win over border-rival Indiana, in which Pelegrina scored twice and assisted once, Sowry was very complimentary of the German youth international.
“For being as young as she is, she has a pretty cool head on her shoulders,” Sowry said of the 18-year-old. “She sees the game very, very well.”
Her teammates have taken notice, too. Pelegrina is just one example of this talented freshmen group.
“I thought she played great,” teammate Abby Grimes said after the opener. “All the freshmen are doing awesome.”
Only two other freshmen have registered points this season, Megan Schneider and Sarah Sabaluski, though eight have seen action. With a 4-2 record, which includes a win over defending national champion and third-ranked Delaware, Sowry has to be pleased with what she’s seen from her young squad, though she still sees room for improvement.
“We’re gonna make mistakes along the way,” Sowry said of her youthful squad. “As long as we continue to improve, address some of the things that are going on on the pitch … we’re moving in the right direction.”
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