Field Hockey 1999 Season Review

Dec. 7, 1999

The 1999 season was a memorable one for the Wake Forest field hockey team. The Deacons posted an 18-4 record and were ranked as high as third nationally. The team also reached the finals of the ACC Tournament for the first time and competed in its first NCAA Tournament, reaching the quarterfinal round.

The Deacons began the season with a 7-1 win over Radford and an 8-0 win over Louisville. Wake then traveled to Appalachian State and came away with a 5-0 victory. After the brief road trip, the Deacons returned home to take on the Duke Blue Devils in a non-conference game. Wake ran over the Blue Devils 6-0 to improve to 4-0 on the season.

After a 7-1 win at home over American, the Deacons traveled to Louisville, Ky. for the University of Louisville Tournament. WFU defeated Miami (Ohio) 6-1 and Pacific 6-0 in the tournament. The Deacs improved to 8-0 with a 10-1 win at home over the Davidson Wildcats. After the win over Davidson, the Deacons went to Maryland to take on the defending national champion Terrapins in the ACC opener. The Deacons suffered their first loss of the season in a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Terrapins.

Next up for Wake was a home game with the second-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Deacons played one of their better games of the season in defeating the Tar Heels 2-0 to improve to 9-1 on the season. After 3-2 wins over William & Mary and Dartmouth, the Deacs traveled to Chapel Hill for a rematch with North Carolina. In a hard-fought game, Wake gained its second win over UNC this season 3-2 in overtime. The second win over UNC, unlike the first, did not count in the ACC standings.

The Deacs then came home to take a 7-0 win over Virginia Commonwealth. After the win over VCU, Wake went to Durham for an ACC contest with Duke. The Blue Devils handed the Deacons their second loss of the season, dropping Wake's record to 13-2 overall and 1-2 in ACC play.

Next up for the Deacs was their last home game of the season against ACC foe Virginia. Wake took control of the game from the outset and cruised to an 8-1 victory. Wake ended its regular season with wins at Boston College (3-0) and Boston University (1-0). They finished the regular season a record of 16-2 overall and 2-2 in ACC play.

Wake Forest was selected to host the 1999 ACC Field Hockey Tournament at Kentner Stadium. In its first game, Wake was pitted against North Carolina for the third time. The Deacs once again came out on top, this time 6-1. In the championship game, Wake Forest met defending champion Maryland. The two teams were even at 1-1 through regulation and one overtime before Maryland scored in the second overtime to capture its second straight ACC Championship.

The Deacons were ranked third in the next week's NSCAA poll, and as a result, were rewarded by being selected to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. In the first round, the Deacs defeated the James Madison Dukes 3-0, with all three goals being scored by senior Amy Marchell. Wake then faced Michigan for a chance to go to the Final Four in Boston. Wake scored a goal late in the first half and late in the second half to send the game to overtime tied at 2-2. After one scoreless overtime, the game ended in the second overtime when Michigan scored on a penalty stroke to win 3-2.

The Wake Forest field hockey team was ranked third in the NFHCA poll after making it to the finals of the ACC Tournament for the first time. The ranking is the highest in the program's history. The Deacs ended the season ranked fifth in the country.

Statistically, junior Jenny Everett led the team with 62 total points and 27 goals scored. She was also tied for fourth on the team in assists with eight. Sophomore Jennie Shelton was second on the team in both total points (40) and goals scored (16). Seniors Samantha Rush and Amy Marchell shared the team lead in assists with 15 apiece. Senior goalkeeper Meaghan Nitka allowed just 22 goals in 22 games played for a goals against average of 1.14. Meaghan also had 119 saves to her credit.

Wake Forest placed three players on the NFHCA All-America teams. Junior Jenny Everett was named to the first team. Senior goalkeeper Meaghan Nitka was named to the second team, while fellow senior Amy Marchell was named to the third team. Everett, Nitka, Marchell and sophomore Jennie Shelton were also named to the NFHCA South Region All-America Team.

AVERILL EARNS COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS Head coach Jennifer Averill was named the 1999 ACC Coach of the Year, as well as the NFHCA South Region Coach of the Year. She guided the Deacons to an 18-4 record and a number five final national ranking. After eight seasons at Wake Forest, Averill has a record of 80-72 in her time with the Deacons.

Three Wake Forest players were named to the 1999 All-ACC team. Senior Meaghan Nitka, junior Jenny Everett and sophomore Jemima Cameron all received All-ACC honors. Nitka was also named to the All Conference team in 1998 as a junior.

Wake Forest finished the season second in the country in scoring offense (4.29 ppg.) and average margin of victory (3.28 ppg.). The Deacons are also fifth in winning percentage (82) and scoring defense (1.01 ppg.). Junior Jenny Everett ranks third in goals with 27 and fifth in goals per game, averaging 1.2 per game. Everett is also fifth in points (62) and sixth in points per game (2.82).