Keuka College to vie for 2021 Empire 8 field hockey crown

Empire 8 Conference
Empire 8 Field Hockey

KEUKA PARK – St. John Fisher College will look to repeat as Empire 8 Champions, as the 2021 season gets underway on Sept. 1, with all nine teams in action. The top four teams will advance to the Empire 8 Championship Tournament, which will take place with semifinal action on Tuesday, Nov. 2 and the championship four days later on Saturday, Nov. 6. The Empire 8 Champion will receive an automatic berth into the 2021 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship.

Fans can watch the action all season long, free of charge on the Empire 8 Network.

Team Capsules

(Sorted by spring 2021 standings)

St. John Fisher

St. John Fisher earned its second Empire 8 title last spring and has won 16 straight regular season contests in league play dating back to 2018. The Cardinals return nearly everyone from the Spring 2021 Empire 8 Championship squad, including graduate student Bre Socker, who tallied 16 goals and 36 points in just six games last spring. That comes off the heels of Socker’s program-record totals of 28 goals and 62 points in 2019. Socker, who has a chance to become the Empire 8’s first five-time first team selection, enters her final season seven goals and 14 points shy of league records in both categories. Graduate student midfielder Alyssa Andres, a two-time All-E8 first team pick and fellow 2021 spring season All-Empire 8 first selection Gianna Palma will also be counted on to play key roles in 2021. Palma has 22 goals and 17 assists in her first three seasons at Fisher. Overall, five 2021 spring all-conference selections return this fall for St. John Fisher.

Hartwick

The Hawks enter the 2021 season, looking to reclaim the league title they won in 2019. Last spring, the Hawks suffered just two losses, both by one goal to defending champion St. John Fisher. The Hawks return 18 players from last spring, including 2019 Empire 8 Rookie of the Year Sydney Gagnon. Gagnon has 39 points in 26 career games for the Hawks. Senior Rebecca Peakes, junior Leah Tolley and sophomores Emily Strutt and Holly Calore serve as team leaders along with Gagnon in 2021. The Hawks will have to replace All-Empire 8 first team selections Tegan Robinson and goalkeeper Allyson Osborne.

Houghton

Houghton earned the number three seed last spring and also enjoyed a solid 2019 season, just missing out on a playoff berth via tiebreaker. The Highlanders return seven players from last season’s squad, including 2021 All-Empire 8 second team selection Zoey Kasper and junior forward Peyton Bentley. Kasper garnered All-Empire 8 second team honors last spring and Bentley enjoyed a strong rookie season in 2019, tallying 13 points on six goals and an assist. Sophomores Sarah Retz and Cedar Smith will be counted on to play a greater role in 2021. Ten newcomers will vie for playing time for the Highlanders.

Utica

The Pioneers return their top three scorers from a team that finished 6-1 in league play during the 2019 season and advanced to the Empire 8 Semifinals that season. Graduate students Sydney Scaccia and Sabrina Whitehouse, along with senior Madeline Krecidlo combined for 23 goals and 15 assists in 2019. Fellow senior Lexi Scaccia is also back after excelling with sister Sydney for the Utica women’s lacrosse team last spring. Whitehouse is a three-time All- selection, having earned second team honors in 2018 and 2019 and first team plaudits last spring. Krecidlo garnered second team accolades last spring. Senior goalkeeper Megan Chamberlain has appeared in all 24 games for the Pioneers over the last two seasons.

Nazareth

Nazareth advanced to the Empire 8 Championship game in 2019 and league semifinals last spring. Juniors Caroline Desautels, Bailey Selman, and Grace Kelleher will lead the team up front and in the middle. Desautels was an All-Empire 8 second team selection in the spring. Senior goalkeeper Amanda Chuttey is a two-time All-Empire 8 selection, garnering honorable mention accolades in 2019 and second team honors last spring. She has 242 career saves in 33 games.

Elmira

The Soaring Eagles return seven starters from last season’s squad. Elmira will have to replace two-time All-Empire 8 selection Janie Kempf, who tallied 24 goals and 55 points in 50 career games. She returns as an assistant coach this season. Kylie Rosen will be counted on to lead Elmira’s offense after tallying 11 points on five goals and an assist as a first year standout in 2019. Classmates Jenna Heiser and Sarah Griffith will play a much greater role for Elmira in 2021.

Keuka

Keuka makes its Empire 8 field hockey debut in 2021. The Wolves ended their reign in the NEAC as league champions in 2019. Keuka returns 10 players from its 2019 team, including Alyssa Muszak, who tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 points on seven goals and three assists in 2019. Junior Makaela Mills was right behind with 13 points on four goals and five assists. Senior defenders Emily Reynolds and Laura Reynolds will help solidify a stout defensive unit.

Russell Sage

The Gators of Russell Sage return 10 players from the 2019 team that won eight games. Senior Cortney Conley returns after recording 10 points on two goals and six assists in 2019, while junior Mia Unverzagt added three goals.

Washington & Jefferson

Washington & Jefferson is looking to get back to the top of the conference standings after winning back-to-back league titles in 2017 and 2018. The Presidents return 10 players from their 2019 team that won eight games, including senior midfielder Ashley Kunkle and junior forward Lindsay Diggan. Diggan earned All-Empire 8 honorable mention acolades in 2019 after scoring a team-best five goals. Kunkle has appeared in 36 games over two seasons. In addition, Lina Crowley, Madeline Hubbard and Tiana Swierski will be counted on to provide leadership.

Final Spring 2021 Empire 8 Field Hockey Standings*

St. John Fisher (6-0, 4-0 E8) – League Champions

Hartwick (4-2, 3-1 E8)

Houghton (2-4, 1-3 E8)

Utica (1-4, 1-3 E8)

Nazareth (2-4, 1-3 E8)

* Elmira, Keuka, Sage and Washington & Jefferson opted out of league play for the 2021 spring season.

THE EMPIRE 8 CONFERENCE – The members of the Empire 8 Conference are committed first and foremost to the pursuit of academic excellence and the league is regarded as an outstanding NCAA Division III conference. The membership has distinguished itself among its peer group for its quality institutions, spirited and sportsmanlike competition, outstanding services and highly ethical policies and practices. Its commitment to serve the educational needs of its student-athletes is the hallmark of the E8. For more on the Empire 8 visit www.empire8.com and YouTube.