Just how important are Traci Ragukas, Paige Selenski and Tara Puffenberger to the University of Virginia field hockey team?
Well, a good case in point came Sunday when the No. 5-ranked Cavaliers defeated No. 8 Michigan State 3-0 in Charlottesville. Puffenberger (Dallas) had two goals and an assist, Selenski (Dallas) had a goal and an assist and Ragukas (Lake-Lehman) had an assist and a defense stop.
Ragukas is a senior and team captain and while she’s outstanding on defense, she’s also pitched in with four goals and three assists for 11 points. Her defensive play has helped the 8-0 Cavaliers outscore foes 21-4.
“Traci could have picked any top ten college but she came here,”’ coach Michele Madison said.
Madison is in her fourth season as head coach and Virginia has made it to the NCAA Tournament her first three years.
“Traci has been here from the beginning of this journey,” the coach said. “She survived the transition and has always been loyal to the cause. The day I started I knew I had one winner on my side. The woman just hates to lose.”
The success of Ragukas proved to Madison that the Mountain Valley Conference offered some outstanding talent. Last season, Selenski came aboard with great results. She scored 47 points (19 goals and nine assists) and was named National Rookie of the Year (by womensfieldhockey.com), Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and was a second team All-American (National Field Hockey Coaches Association).
This season, she has seven goals and three assists for a team-leading 17 points.
“When our attack is firing on all cylinders, Paige is right in the middle of it,” Madison said. “She is an extremely coachable athlete and has no gauge of what’s too much. She is tireless and the consummate team player.”
While Puffenberger is just a freshman, she has plenty of field hockey experience. She competed in Junior World Cup play before the season began. She has scored seven goals and two assists for 16 points and has three game-winners.
“Tara, we call her Puff n Stuff, is starting to run with the UVA attack,” Madison said. “The Junior World Cup set her back a couple of weeks but she is starting to get it now. She is impatient, yet a perfectionist. She wants everything now, but that type of player is easy to coach. When she leans off the path, I have to bump her back on it.”
Virginia has a non-league date with Boston University Friday and then gets into the tough ACC schedule starting against Boston College Sunday in Charlottesville.
BRESLIN GETS HIS KICKS – The Widener football team is 1-1 on the season and sophomore Matt Breslin (Hazleton Area) kicks extra points, field goals and kicks off for the Pride.
Breslin has hit both of his field goals attempts (25 and 22 yards), is three of four on extra points (one was blocked) and is averaging 56.8 yards per kickoff.
“Matt had a very good camp and started the season on a good note in our opener,” coach Dave Wood said. “He’s a great kid that works extremely hard. He just needs to believe in himself a little more. He has a great leg and needs to just work on hitting the ball consistently.”
Last season as a freshman, Breslin won the starting spot over a fifth-year senior who had been all-conference a year earlier.
“I was more than excited last year when I won the job,” Breslin said. “However, the season was not as successful as I had hoped both on a personal and team level.”
This season, Breslin feels things are looking up despite a 41-17 loss to nationally-ranked Ithaca last weekend.
“We have a large class of seniors this year which makes me optimistic that we can win the league (Middle Atlantic Conference) championship.”
Breslin’s family moved to Jupiter, Fla. and he spent the summer practicing with Cody Parkey, who is a freshman at Auburn.
“Cody was listed as the top kicking recruit in the country and I learned a lot,” Breslin said. “The large amount of work I did in the offseason and the experience I had as a freshman make me feel confident about this season.”
The Pride hosts Frostburg State Saturday in Chester.
SURVILLA LEADS THE WAY – When it comes to scoring goals, Duke’s Amie Survilla is right up there with the best of them.
Survilla (Crestwood) has scored 10 of her team’s 24 goals thus far this season and has 46 goals and four assists for her career which leaves her just four points short of 100.
“Amie has started strong this season,” coach Beth Bozman said. “She is second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring.”
Bozman feels that Survilla has grown a lot as a player this year.
“This is the fittest she has ever been,” the coach said. “She has become a team leader and a role model.”
Freshman Devon Gagliardi of Wilkes-Barre (Wyoming Seminary) is also on the squad but isn’t playing this fall.
“Devon is recovering from ACL surgery, but she will have the spring to blend with the team and we expect great things from her,” Bozman said.
The Blue Devils are 4-3 after losing 3-2 to Wake Forest. They also dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Drexel and 3-2 to Old Dominion in their last three games. Duke is very young with Survilla just one of two seniors on the squad.
MOVE WORKS FOR KONYCKI – The Robert Morris coaching staff decided to move Corey Konycki from defense to offensive right tackle last season and the 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior from Hunlock Creek (Wyoming Seminary) has been starting for the Colonials football team ever since.
“Because of guys graduating we had to move Corey but to his credit, he made the change without saying a word,” line coach Andrew Richardson said. “I think that Corey has become more of a leader this season by showing the younger players everything you do on or off the field to make sure that it is in the best interest of the team.”
Richardson feels that Konycki is the type of athlete that people look up to – and not only because of his size.
“If Corey stays on the same path of continuing to progress as a football player, I can see a bright future ahead for him,” the coach said.
Richardson gives a lot of credit to Konycki’s roommate, Carlos Andrade.
“I think Carlos has had a big effect on Corey and I can see them both being very good football players,” the coach said. “They push each other to become the best they can be.”
The Colonials are off to an 0-3 start in non-league play and open Northeast Conference action at home against Bryant Saturday at noon in Moon Township.
DUO KEYS DUKES – Juniors Randi Segear (Coughlin) and Amy Daniel (Crestwood) are solid members of the James Madison University field hockey team.
Both are starting for the 4-3 Dukes, who are ranked 13th in the nation, but have scored just eight goals thus far this season. They got three of those goals in a 3-2 triumph over No. 19-ranked American Sunday.
“Randi and Amy are our veterans,” coach Antoinette Lucas said. “We look for them to be our quarterbacks on attack and make very good decisions with the ball to maintain possession and create goal-scoring opportunities.”
Segear starts at midfield.
“We start her there because she handles the ball so well, scrambles under pressure to maintain position and has a very high work rate,” Lucas said. “She is an inspiration to her teammates. She is someone that her teammates respect and will rally around because she wears her heart on her sleeve.”
Daniel is in the backfield.
“Amy is in the back not only because of her defensive skills and presence, but because of her vision and ability to distribute the ball so well,” Lucas said. “Randi and Amy are integral to our attack penalty corners and defense penalty corner units. They are involved in all aspects of our play.”
YENCHAK COMES UP BIG – Caryinna Yenchak (Bishop Hoban) scored both goals as her Widener women’s soccer team posted a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Drew last Saturday. The junior forward leads the 6-0-1 Pride with five goals and three assists for 15 points.
But scoring is nothing new for Yenchak. She had 26 points (nine goals and eight assists) as a freshman and 18 points (seven goals and four assists) as a sophomore.
“Caryinna is a dynamic forward with great vision,” coach Brian Sheehan said. “She is consistently the hardest working player on the field and this year, she has become one of the team leaders.”
RIZZO HONORED – Bucknell freshman Anthony Rizzo (Holy Redeemer) was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week in men’s cross country after finishing ninth in his college debut in the recent Colgate Invitational in Hamilton, N.Y. His 6.4k time was 21:20.
Rizzo competed in last Saturday’s dual meet with Duquesne and was 17th out of 41 runners with an 8k time of 26:45. The Bison won the Colgate meet but lost to Duquesne, 24-32.
“Anthony has been a pleasant surprise,” coach Kevin Donner said. “He did not produce big time track times last spring so our expectations were not quite as high as some of our other talented freshmen. However, he prepared himself very well this summer with lost of miles and he is very hungry and determined to succeed.”
Donner feels that he will have to pull in the reigns to make sure he doesn’t over train because of the long season.
“The Patriot award is quite an honor,” Donner said. “Our goal with Anthony now is to develop consistency and let him gradually progress.”
SWINGLE, TUTOROW FIT IN – Sophomore Sami Swingle (Lake-Lehman) and freshman Kristy Tutorow (Northwestern) are solid members of the 2-6 Mansfield field hockey team.
Swingle picked up her first points of the season with a goal and an assist in a 6-5 loss to East Stroudsburg last Saturday.
“Sami is a very versatile player,” coach Diane Monkiewicz said. “She can be a force on offense or defense. She has good stick skills and game sense. We need her experience to help tighten up our defense and control our up-field pressure.”
Tutorow leads the Mountaineers with seven goals and two assists for 16 points.
“Kristy has great speed and an eye for scoring,” Monkiewicz said. “We are thrilled to have this kind of acceleration on the outside. It gives us more flexibility, both offensively and defensively. Can you imagine what’s possible from Kristy when she puts it all together?”