LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell head coach Jeremy Cook has announced the addition of seven players to the Bucknell field hockey team for the 2018 season. Payton Kenney, Erin Zielinski, Emily Doyle, Mary Kate Stefanowicz, Madison Hatcher, Grace McEvoy, and Peyton Fischer all signed their national letters of intent and will make up the team’s class of 2022.
Kenney will join Bucknell from Crofton, Maryland, where she was a captain of the field hockey team at Archbishop Spalding High School. During the 2015-16 season, Kenney helped her team to an undefeated season and state championship, while reaching the semifinals her freshman, junior, and senior years. In her senior season, she recorded 13 assists and four goals in 17 games.
“Payton’s a really versatile player and we can see her contributing anywhere on the field,” Cook said “We’re super excited to have her joining us, and we think she can add some depth to the midfield this coming fall.”
Zielinski will join the Bison from Malvern, Pennsylvania, where she attends Villa Maria Academy, which just won the state championship. At Villa Maria, she was a four-year varsity letterwinner, a team captain in 2017, and on the National Academic Squad in 2016. The team won the Catholic League all four years, and this past year Erin scored eight goals. She also plays for Horizon Field Hockey Club, and she will be the first person in her family to play a collegiate sport.
“Erin understands the game extremely well, which allows her to consistently be in great positions on both sides of the ball in the backfield,” Cook said. “She’s well placed with solid basics to grow into a big contributor for us.”
Doyle, a teammate of Zielinski’s at both Villa Maria and Horizon Field Hockey Club, will join the team from Malvern, Pennsylvania. Doyle has been an offensive force at Villa Maria, scoring 40 goals in 24 games this past season on a state-winning team. Doyle was named to the DLN All-Area Second Team and the High School National Academic Squad in 2016. She was awarded Attacker of the Week in 2017 and named to the Senior All-Star Team this year in addition to being named First Team All-State.
“Emily is an absolute rock star in the attacking circle, and we’re super excited to add another finishing forward,” Cook said. “She works incredibly hard defensively up front, which is one of the key things we look for in our strikers.”
Stefanowicz, will join us from Mount St. Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, where she was a team captain and three-year varsity starter. MK’s older sister “Coach” Kelly was a member of the Bison Field Hockey program and graduated in 2013. MK, a Catholic Academies League All Star and a 2016 and 2017 All-State Honorable Mention recipient, was named to the NFHCA High School Academic Squad, and was selected to play in the Senior All-Star game at the end of this past season. Stefanowicz scored five goals and had nine assists and three defensive saves in 2017, and also contributed heavily to a very successful WC Eagles club program.
“We had great success with Kelly, and we’re super excited to see how MK challenges in the midfield,” Cook said. “She’s skillful, smart, a joy to be around, and will add a lot to the team.”
Hatcher, whose nickname is Cookie, comes from Mountain View High School in Stafford, Virginia, where she just helped her team win a state championship. At Mountain View, Hatcher was a First Team All-Conference selection her sophomore, junior, and senior years, as well as First Team All-Region and First Team All-State. She was the Region Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Class 5 State Player of the Year in 2017. She scored 15 goals and had 11 assists in her senior campaign, upping her 13 goals and eight assists from the previous year. She also captained the lacrosse team, and won several medals with her club team, Nova Elite.
“Cookie is an incredible defender, and we can’t wait to see how she integrates with our backfield,” Cook said. “She’s fast, smart, very aggressive with the ball, and can contribute offensively. Adding such an all-around player will be great going into next year.”
McEvoy will be joining the Bison from Berwyn, Pennsylvania, where she attends Conestoga High School. She is a two-time captain of the Conestoga squad that boasts four Central League championships, two district championships and state appearances in three of her four years. McEvoy herself was named to the NFHCA High School National Academic Squad in 2017 while being named First Team All-Central League and receiving numerous other honors. She’s no stranger to college athletics, as her mom Ashley played lacrosse and field hockey at the University of Pennsylvania and her dad played college lacrosse at Villanova (and professional lacrosse for the Wings).
“Grace is an exciting player because she can play literally anywhere on the field,” Cook said. “We’ve seen her set a fantastic standard for her teammates with how hard she works and her unselfish play, and are excited for her to add that to our culture here.”
Fischer will join Bucknell from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where she anchored the Central Bucks West field hockey team in goal, earning Third Team All-League. She helped the team to an 18-3 record and a second-place finish in districts in 2016 and a 14-4 record in 2017. She’s been ranked in the top 100 field hockey players in the nation for the past three years, having been selected to the National Futures Championship three times and having won her pools in the National Indoor Tournament two times with her club team, the FSC Falcons.
“Fischer is an excellent goalie and really, really talented,” Cook said. “She has the athleticism and foundation to continue our tradition of having incredible goalkeeping. She’s already shown great support for her future teammates cheering us on during a few games this fall, we can’t wait for her to actually join us!”
The seven incoming players will join a Bucknell team that has qualified for the Patriot League Tournament in 10 consecutive seasons. The Bison have made the league’s championship game in two of the past four seasons, including this past year at Boston University.