15 Returning Letterwinners Give Cardinals Reason for Optimism as 2009-10 Season Unfolds

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While the Cardinals will have to make up for the loss of second-team all-NESCAC and four-year starting netminder Rachel Stemerman '09, who graduated, along with the loss of four other seasoned graduates, including top scorer Hannah Jackson '09, Wesleyan has a core of 15 letterwinners back to fashion the 2009-10 squad. 

Top forwards back from last year include Sena Ito '11 (8-3-11), who had more goals than any two players on the team combined, Jill Reynolds '12 (4-3-7) and Julia Mulhearn '12 (2-4-6). Two of the team's three captains, Heather Lindgren '11 (#19, photo insert upper right) and Julia Heffelfinger '11 (#6, photo insert lower left) are talented forwards as well. Also back are Izzy Huston '10, Leah Coe '12, Alex Bean '11, Molly Friedemann '10 and M.J. Cardin '12, giving the team more than enough veterans to sponsor three lines of attack.

Wesleyan also had five defenders returning to the ice, led by tri-captain Erin Fitzsimmons '10 (wearing #8 in 2009-10, photo insert upper left). Other are Emma Ram '12, Rebecca Snelling '12, Claire Feldman-Reich '12 and Ann Wheeler '12.

The troops will be bolstered by six newcomers, two of whom are frosh goalies - Nicole Bonneau '13 and Ashleigh Corvi '13. They will battle it out for the vacancy left behind by all-time saves leader Stemerman. Other featured newcomers are Kelsey Muller '13, Cassie Murphy '13, Becca Koppel '13 and Manhattanville transfer Jaime Bonner '12.

To say Wesleyan had its work cut out for it from the get-go might be an understatement as the squad hosted Little Three rival Amherst for a season-opening weekend series Fri., & Sat., Nov. 20-21. Amherst posted a 16-0 conference mark in 2008-09 and a 24-5 overall record while defeating Elmira in overtime for the NCAA Division III title. Amherst racked up its 43rd and 44th consecutive NESCAC regular-season wins by defeating Wesleyan, 8-0, in the first game followed up with a 7-0 Lord Jeff victory in the second meeting. Cardinal keeper Corvi (#21, photo lower right) got a baptism under fire but handled her role extremely well with 109 saves over the two contests as Amherst enjoyed a 124-8 shot margin. Corvi's best streak came during the first two periods of the second game as she posted 37 stops while yielding just two goals for a .949 save percentage over the stretch. But the Lord Jeffs erupted for five third-period markers to make it a 15-goal weekend.

Wesleyan was back in game action Sat., Nov. 28 with a trip to Hamilton for another NESCAC game. The Cards got on the board first with a goal by Becca Koppel '13 just 13 seconds into the contest. After Hamilton gained a 2-1 lead, Izzy Huston '11 tied it to send the game into the second period knotted at 2-2.

But the last two periods were all Hamilton as the Continentals lit the lamp five times while outshooting the Cards 28-7 over the final 40 minutes and 43-11 for the game en route to a 7-2 NESCAC victory. Keeper Corvi recorded 36 saves.

The team finished up the NESCAC weekend at Conn. College Sun., Nov 29. The squad suffered another shutout, this time 3-0 as Corvi equaled her season high for saves with 59 as the Camels launched 62 shots to 19 by the Cardinals.

The team moves out of conference for its next encounter, traveling to UMass Boston for a game Sat., Dec. 5.