Tara Puffenberger is having another solid season with the Northwestern field hockey team.
Senior Puffenberger (Dallas) has five goals and six assists for 16 points and two game winners for the Wildcats, who are 11-3 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten Conference play. After playing two seasons at Virginia and sitting out a year after transferring, the 5-foor-3 midfielder was an All-Big Ten, All-West Region and a third-team National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American after scoring 15 goals with 10 assists for 40 points with three game-winners last season.
“Tara has always been really consistent in terms of her attack but in terms of her leadership and her ability to make really good decisions as the game goes on has really increased, even more than last year,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “Tara is very good at creating and giving us a numbers advantage and she’s a large part of the reason why we have had so many attacking opportunities.”
Twin sisters Ashley and Lauren Bernardi (Holy Redeemer) are also on the squad and are key reserves in the midfield. Freshman Maura Anistranski (Wyoming Valley West) has seen limited action off the bench.
CRAWFORD GETTING TO PLAY – Sophomore Darrell Crawford (GAR) is seeing action with the Lafayette football team. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound wide receiver has caught four passes for 27 yards. He’s also carried the ball once for 5 yards. Because of his speed, he’s also used as a punt returner (four for 17 yards) and kick returner (three for 73 yards). He sat out his freshman year with a medical redshirt.
“Our expectations are very high with Darrell,” head coach Frank Tavani said. “During preseason, he was still dealing with lingering problems with a hamstring injury sustained during track season his senior year of high school.”
But Crawford is healthy now and beginning to impact the Lafayette offense.
“We play four and five receivers, and he’s in that mix now and getting more comfortable in the offense,” Tavani said. “He has three more years and we expect him to continue to be an impact player because of his speed.”
The Leopards are 1-4 overall but 1-0 in Patriot League play.
LEO KEYS FAIRFIELD – Emily Leo (Crestwood) is in her third season playing for the Fairfield field hockey team. The 5-foot-7 defender has helped the Stags post a 9-3 record with a 1-0 mark in America East play. She has a goal and two assists and has led a defense that has given up 23 goals with a shutout.
“Emily is an integral part of our team,” coach Jackie Kane said. “She plays a pivotal role on our penalty corners as the inserter and has helped us set up several goals off the corner.”
Leo is a key player in another area according to the coach.
“Emily’s leadership both on and off the field is an important part of our success,” Kane said.
GOOD START FOR SUTTON – Freshman Kieran Sutton (Lake-Lehman) is moving up with the Shippensburg men’s cross country team. After running the first three meets of his college career as the team’s No. 6 man, he finished fourth on the team in the annual Paul Short Run. His 8k time was 26:21, which shaved 36 seconds of his previous best time for the distance. His best finish was 13th in the Dickinson Short Course race and he was 18th in the Piper Alumni race in Shippensburg.
“Kieran is an excellent student and athlete who has adapted well to the 8k collegiate race distance,” coach Steve Spence said. “He has finished in our top seven in every meet and we will be relying on him to be a major contributor at the upcoming conference, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship meets.”
The Raiders return to the track this Saturday at the Gettysburg Invitational. The PSAC Championships are Saturday, Oct. 26 at Kutztown.
MUHAMMAD CHIPS IN – Red-shirt junior Ali Muhammad (Wyoming Valley West) is starting on the defensive line for the Indiana (Pa.) football team. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder, a transfer from Rhode Island, has 13 tackles, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble and he’s been credited with 2 ½ sacks. He had three tackles and was credited with half a sack in a 42-16 loss to Slippery Rock last weekend. The Crimson Hawks opened with five straight victories and ranked No. 1 in defense in Division II (allowing 30 points with two shutouts) before the Slippery Rock setback.
“Ali is starting at defensive end in his first year in the program,” coach Curt Cignetti said. “He’s getting better every week.”
Red-shirt freshmen Tony Morgante and Matt Reams, also former Spartans, are seeing action on the offensive line. Morgante is a 6-foot-2, 290-pounder while the 6-foot-1 Reams weighs in at 298-pounds.
“Tony has been our top backup guard and has started one game,” Cignetti said. “We moved Matt to center and he’s played backup in three games at that spot.”
The Crimson Hawks are hoping to rebound when they face PSAC foe Edinboro on Saturday in Indiana.
WYSOCKY A SOLID VET – Junior Rachel Wysocky (Hazleton Area) has started all 13 games on defense for the DeSales field hockey team but that’s nothing new. She started all 18 games as a sophomore and 14 of 15 games as a freshman. This season, she’s also helped the offense with three goals, two on penalty corners.
“Rachel is a solid defender and her confidence shows whenever she is pressured by an offensive attack and she comes up with a beautiful defensive clear,” coach Megan Smith said. “She strives every day to be the best field hockey player on the field. She is a natural leader and provides a role model responsibility that is such an important aspect to this program.”
The Bulldogs are 6-7 overall, 2-1 in Freedom Conference play, but have won three of their last four.
MCGINLEY SPARKS OFFENSE – Lauren McGinley, a transfer from Bloomsburg, is doing the job on offense for the West Chester field hockey team this fall. McGinley (Coughlin) has four goals and three assists including a game-winner and had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 victory over East Stroudsburg.
“Lauren has been a spark for us offensively, always providing us with her speed, aggressiveness and strength on the ball,” coach Amy Cohen said. “Here style of play is a great change of pace for us.”
The Golden Rams are loaded with area players – junior Hannah Davies (Crestwood), sophomore Alexa Moran (Crestwood) and freshmen Marnie Kusakavitch (Holy Redeemer), Caitlin Wood (Coughlin) and Allie Malacari (Holy Redeemer). Kusakavitch has four goals and an assist, and Davies has two goals and an assist.
West Chester is 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the PSAC.
GOOD ASSISTS WARRIORS – Junior defender Alexis Good (Wyoming Valley West) picked up the first two assists of her career for the East Stroudsburg field hockey team last week. She had an assist in a 2-1 loss to Bloomsburg and an assist in a 9-2 victory over Mansfield last weekend. Earlier this season, she scored her first career goal in a 4-2 triumph over Bloomsburg.
“Alexis is a very positive, genuine type of person and we love having her on the team,” coach Sandy Miller said. “We try to recruit very good field hockey players, good students and good people and Alexis has all of those traits.”
The coach feels that Good’s midfield play and her fundamental skills are improving.
“Alexis tracks well with the ball and has good vision on her passes,” Miller said. “She has improved tremendously on her one-on-one defense as well.”
The Warriors, ranked seventh in Division II, are 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the PSAC.