After nearly two years the Shippensburg University field hockey team is returning to the field after having their 2020 fall season canceled due to COVID-19. In the 2019 season, the Raiders went 12-6 and finished third in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC.) They ultimately lost to Millersville in the first round of the PSAC tournament.
The Raiders were recently voted third in the 2021 PSAC Preseason Coaches’ poll released on August 17.
The Raiders also received two of the 11 first-place votes in the poll. The two teams ranked above the Raiders in the poll are West Chester and East Stroudsburg University.
The Raiders have 21 players returning from the 2020 season. Even though the Raiders were not allowed to compete during the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were able to practice in the spring and had one exhibition match.
The Raiders will play 16 games this season with eight of those games being at Robb Sports Complex. The team's schedule includes a mixture of PSAC rivals such as West Chester and Millersville. The Raiders will also face off against non-conference opponents Coker, Belmont Abbey and Frostburg State.
Behind the bench for the Raiders this season is head coach Tara Zollinger. Zollinger is entering her fifth season with the team. In her five years with the team, Zollinger has led them to consecutive national championships in 2017 and 2018. In addition to Zollinger, the Raiders are led by assistant coaah Jordan Page and newly acquired assistant coach Alexandra Pennington.
One player to watch this year is senior forward Jazmin Petrantonio. Petrantonio was the Raiders leading scorer during the 2019 season with 29 goals, eight assists, and 66 points. Petrantonio has stockpiled a lot of awards throughout her three seasons for the Raiders.
Petrantonio was named PSAC Field Hockey Freshman of the year in 2017. Petrantonio is also a 3-time NFHCA All- American First Team.
Another player to watch this season is fellow senior forward Jenna Sluymer. In 2019 Sluymer started 11 games and scored eight goals, three assists, and 19 points.
Sluymer averaged 1.27 points per game, putting herin the top ten in the conference. In 2018 Sluymer led the team in assists. Sluymer was also named as part of the All PSAC First Team in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Raiders will have three preseason exhibition dates. The first exhibition match was last Saturday against St. Francis University. The second preseason match is on Thursday, August 26th vs Dickinson. The third preseason game will take place on Sunday, August 29th. After the preseason concludes the Raiders will open the regular season on Sunday, September 5th when the Raiders host Coker University at 1 pm at Robb Sports Complex.