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   Date: 8/28/09 Bookmark and Share

Fall Smith Sports Preview

Fall is approaching fast, and though that means students will be hitting the books hard, it also means a few hundred of them will be training and getting back in shape for another Pioneers sports season. Eight team sports kick off their competitive seasons through the fall. Support Smith’s student-athletes by attending some live sporting events (view the schedule). Meanwhile, for an overview, read comments by the respective team coaches about what they expect of the fall season.

Jaime Ginsberg, head coach, field hockey (first game vs. Nichols, Monday, Sept. 7, 3 p.m., at Williston-Northampton School)

“Smith field hockey is looking strong coming into the ’09 season, coming off last season, in which the team more than doubled its winning record. We look to capture more wins and place in the top half of the NEWMAC league this season. This is the team to watch this fall. Come support our team! (Check our schedule; all home games will be played off-campus, at Williston, Holyoke High School and in Enfield, Conn.) Led by a senior class of eight, we are entering our first season played and practiced all on turf. We expect to be in the mix and ready to capture and surprise a few teams. Do not miss the action!”

Stephanie Gabbert, head coach, soccer (first game vs. MCLA Monday, Sept. 7, 4 p.m., athletic field)

“We are excited for the season to begin, and are anticipating a very competitive schedule. We have three excellent senior team leaders who will also be serving as our team captains: Val Driscoll, Etta Grover-Silva, and Hailey Bird, who will each be very impactful players for us on the field. Surrounding them will be a fairly young team with many sophomores returning, who we anticipate will have even more of an impact this year, given their year of collegiate athletic experience. A competitive goal of ours is to finish well in our conference and compete in our post-season conference championships at the conclusion of the regular season.”

Angela B. Mills, head coach, volleyball (first game vs. Babson Tuesday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m., Ainsworth)

“The 2009 season gears up with a fantastic bunch of returners: all-conference senior Mikal Minarich will be a force as a starting outside hitter, joined in the middle position by fellow senior Bethany Weiss. Defensively we have the backcourt covered by seniors Rachel Lackert and Brianne Connizzo. Our fast-paced offense will be coordinated by two spectacular setters, junior Lauren Martinez and sophomore Courtney Faria. We have dedicated offensive “kill” (a scoring hit) power from junior middles Stephanie Bleyendaal and Shakwana Etienne. Fresh energy will come from our diverse first years: outside powerhouse hitter Blair Bell, defensive guru Tara Nooteboom, middle tower of power Becca Gordon, local talent (Frontier High School, Deerfield, Mass.) Isabelle Harper, and an energized Connecticut player, Kelly Aliano. We are fortunate to host two premiere tournaments this fall: the Hall of Fame and Seven Sisters.”

Christine Davis, head coach, tennis (first match vs. Babson, Saturday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m., tennis courts)

“For the first time since I can remember, we lost no players to graduation due to a young team last year of all first-years and sophomores. The majority of those players will be returning this fall, giving us an experienced and enthusiastic tennis team. Maggie Steiner ’11 and Ally Hawkins ’11 will be the captains this fall and will lead the Pioneers into fall competition."


Sue Payne, head coach, equestrian team, and director of riding (first event, Smith Show, Saturday, Oct. 10, 8:30 a.m.)

“The Equestrian Team has just 12 returning members, so half the team will be new! The returning group is very strong and there is a large group of entering students, as well as returning riders from the lesson program who will make it a very competitive team!”



Karen Klinger, head coach, crew (first event, the Pumpkin Novice Regatta, Saturday, Sept. 17)

“In 2009 we returned to the NCAA Rowing Championships after a two-year absence, and placed sixth as a team. This year’s returning fall group, one of the largest in Smith crew history, is really excited to improve on last year’s result, racing better and faster to get on the medals stand at the end of the year. Our eight-plus seniors are up for the leadership challenge.”


Lynn Hersey, head coach, basketball (first game vs. Albany College of Pharmacy, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m., Ainsworth)

“We are looking forward to a year when the mixture of experience and youthfulness combine to create a strong push for improved success in the NEWMAC conference. I think our veterans are ready to be strong leaders and will help change the expectations in our program, certainly a vital component to creating our team’s success this year. In addition, we will be welcoming a large and talented incoming class and will be eager to have them contribute to our common goal of winning a NEWMAC title.”

Carla Coffey, head coach, track and field

“I am excited about the coming year as our track and field program continues to attract top quality student-athletes that will give us a strong foundation for the future. We will have strong leadership from 22 returnees from last year’s squad, as well as an influx of 15 first-year student-athletes who will add much-needed depth and quality in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. The throwers led the team this past season in the conference championship. Team captains for the coming year are Etta Grover-Silva ’10 (4-time All American in pole vault), Anna Cressotti ’10 and Ruby Western ’12.”


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