BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off its third straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title and a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, the Babson College field hockey program will look to continue its emergence as one of the nation's top teams in 2018.
Under the direction of five-time NEWMAC Coach of the Year Julie Ryan, the Beavers return 13 players from a team that went 17-5 overall and a perfect 8-0 in league play for the second year in a row last fall. The Green and White, which was ranked as high as No. 2 in the NFHCA poll last October, brings back seven of its top nine scorers and will feature eight players that saw action in every game last season.
SUCCESS STARTS WITH THE SENIORS
The senior quartet of Lauren Drakeley (Woodbury, Conn.), Catherine Gilman (Cohasset, Mass.), Brielle Schafroth-Bach (Rye, N.H.) and Ashley Tango (Reading, Mass.) has already cemented themselves as one of the top classes in program history with 55 victories over their first three seasons. Tango and Drakeley are both two-time All-Americans, while Gilman was named to the all-conference team after finishing third on the squad in scoring in 2017.
FINISHERS UP FRONT
Despite being shut out in last season's first round NCAA Tournament loss, Babson has a deep and balanced group of proven scorers at the forward position. Junior Tori Roche (Andover, Mass.) scored a team-high 14 goals and finished second on the squad with 31 points on the way to earning all-conference and all-region honors, while Gilman tallied a career-high 11 goals last fall. Junior Kate Driscoll (Milton, Mass.) notched seven markers, classmate Carla DiBiase (Winchester, Mass.) scored five times, and Schafroth-Bach chipped in with a pair of goals.
CONTROLLING THE MIDFIELD
Tango, who enters her senior campaign ranked sixth on the Beavers' all-time points list, became just the fourth player in program history to reach 40 points in back-to-back years thanks to 11 goals and a Division III-best 18 assists last year. Junior Cate Diamond (Hingham, Mass.) started all 22 games and contributed a goal and three assists, while sophomore Maddy Paro (Manchester, Conn.) garnered all-league and all-region accolades with three goals and six assists. Fellow sophomore Cate McShane (Louisville, Ky.) should also see an expanded role after making four appearances as a rookie.
DEFENSE IN FOCUS
Although the Beavers must replace three starters on defense, they can lean on Drakeley, who earned her second consecutive NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Year honor in 2017. In 66 games as a starter over the last three years, Babson has posted 32 shutouts while holding its foes to a miniscule 0.65 goals against average. Joining her in the back are junior Haley Pesce (Roxbury, Conn.), who made four starts last fall, and sophomore Ellie Bisceglia (Kenilworth, Ill.). Classmate Madison Adler (Stratham, N.H.,), the team's lone returning goalkeeper, stopped three of four shots in her lone appearance as a rookie.
NEW FOR 2018
Along with adding nine first-year players from six different states, Summer Washburn was hired as the program's full-time assistant coach back in June. A first-team All-America selection as a senior at Salisbury University in 2014, Washburn helped Trinity College make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances as an assistant coach in 2016 and 2017.
The Green and White, which will play eight of its first 12 games at home, will once again take on some of the nation's best teams this fall. The Beavers welcome Tufts, Skidmore and Montclair State to MacDowell Field and face mid-September trips to defending conference tournament champions MIT and defending Division III champs Middlebury.