This is the first of a two-part series previewing the Bryant Field Hockey program entering the 2018 season. The midfielder and forwards will be spotlighted on Wednesday.
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The young Bryant University defensive unit will be a force to be reckoned with for the 2018 season.
Bryant lost two strong defenders from last year and are looking to regain its cohesiveness coming into the new season with leadership from second-year head coach Joppe de Vries.
The Bulldogs will only be returning three defenders from last year, senior Leyna DiMarco (Glastonbury, Conn.), sophomore goalie Lyndsay Swanston (Burlington, Ont.), and sophomore Lauren Zimmerman (Newtown, Conn.).
The Black and Gold will be adding four new faces to the lineup who are all international; Pia Klupp (Hamburg, Germany), Brittany Gouws (Cape Town, South Africa), Casey Wheeler (Capetown, South Africa) and Marijn Jaarsma (Uithoorn, Netherlands). de Vries says that the team uses their diversity as a strength.
"I'm excited for our defense and our goalkeeping unit. They are from all over the world and it's fantastic to see how they gel together and communicate," de Vries said. "The more we practice the better they will perform."
DiMarco will be leading the back line after coming off of a solid season last year, finishing 14th in the country with four defensive saves.
Swanston was the main goalkeeper last year for the Bulldogs and will be working with rookie goalkeeper, Marijn Jaarsma. Swanston finished the 2017 season making 87 stops and had a save percentage of .644.
"Our goalkeepers are pushing each other to the limit and that's exactly what we need in order to get the best performances out of them," de Vries added.
Coach de Vries also stated that the Bulldogs have been working hard every day to continue to gel and come together.
"I can't wait to see them perform on a weekly basis," he said.
The 2018 season will kick off this Friday, August 24 as the team heads to UMass Lowell at 1 pm.