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Alex Hall's NH College Notebook: Frost heats up Penmen revival

By ALEX HALL
September 10. 2017 2:13AM
SNHU senior Erin Frost in action last season against St. Thomas Aquinas. (Courtesy photo)

ONE REASON Erin Frost wanted to join Southern New Hampshire University's newly-revived field hockey team three years ago was the chance to make history.

Now a senior, Frost has helped the Penmen achieve a number of firsts.

The forward from Andover was a member of the program's first team since 1981 as a freshman in 2014 and a junior on last year's squad that went a program-best 9-9.

Frost has recorded a team-high nine points (four goals, one assist) on the Penmen's way to a program-best 3-0 start this season. The Merrimack Valley of Penacook graduate is one point shy of tying her career-high mark, which she set last year.

Frost and teammate Melanie Rennie, a junior, were named the Northeast-10 Conference player and goalkeeper of the week this past week, respectively.

"Being a new team and a first-year program, it was definitely hard to adjust," Frost said. "All the teams had been in the league for however many years. This is the first year where we do not feel like underdogs."

SNHU sponsored a field hockey team from 1977-81 but the program went dormant until the hiring of Dover High School and University of New Hampshire alumna Julie Munson as its head coach in 2013.

When Munson first went on the recruiting trail, she looked for players from historically successful high school programs.

"We had to find people who knew how to fight," Munson said. "We went to schools where people knew how to win so at some point they'd get tired of losing and find a way."

Munson's first recruiting class consisted of current seniors Frost, goalie Alexis Soucy, forward/midfielder Amaris Taylor and Mikaela Gauvain, a forward from Salem.

SNHU went 1-17 overall in 2014 and 2-16 in 2015 before its 9-9 campaign last year.

"It's fun to watch (Frost) and her teammates progress from a program that struggled to mentally stay in games to now step on the field and know we're all there for the right reasons and can compete with other programs," Munson said.

Gauvain and Taylor are the Penmen's captains but Frost said everyone on the team acts as if they carry that responsibility.

"Every single player, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a freshman or senior," Frost said. "Everybody is a leader and acts like a captain. I couldn't ask for a better team to go through this with."

Helping the program progress is not SNHU's only motivation this year. The team is playing this season for junior forward Cassidy Huckins' father, Dave, who has cancer.

Dave Huckins is the Merrimack Valley girls' basketball coach and coached Cassidy and her SNHU teammates Isabel Hoyt and Frost in high school. The Penmen players have worn ribbons in their hair each of their first three games in honor of Dave.

"We're playing for a purpose," Frost said. "We can go one extra step, that extra mile, one more sprint. When we're so tired, we remind ourselves to go one more for Cassidy Huckins and her family."

SNHU is currently preparing for the first of its two regular-season meetings with rival St. Anselm College. The Hawks will host SNHU for a non-conference bout Wednesday at 7 p.m. The teams will again Oct. 18 at Larkin Field for an NE-10 contest.

The Penmen have scored 15 goals over their first three games. Rennie and Kate Pigsley, a freshman from East Kingston, have allowed a combined two goals over 210 minutes. Rennie has recorded two shutouts.

St. Anselm is 2-0 with victories Assumption and St. Michael's College.

Frost is eager to be part of another SNHU first: defeating the Hawks.

"It's always a great battle between us," Frost said. "My team is hungry to get that win against them because honestly it's personal. They're a team we want to beat because we haven't beaten them yet."

SNHU has high expectations this season but Munson is confident they are achievable.

"With the amount of belief and work ethic on this team, anything is possible," Munson said.

Field hockey

St. Michael's senior Jenna Deschaine was named both the Northeast-10 and National Field Hockey Coaches Association NCAA Division II defensive player of the week this past week.

Deschaine, of Claremont, scored the game-winning goal in the Purple Knights' 1-0 triumph over Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Sept. 3 and made a defensive save in their 2-1 loss at Shippensburg University the day before.

Former Bentley University field hockey player Melissa Martin will be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame Nov. 3. Martin, a New Boston resident who graduated from Bryant in 2004, was a two-time NFHCA All-American and scored 22 career goals alongside 38 assists.

Hampton Falls native Taylor Blood is in her first season as a member of the Merrimack College coaching staff. Blood is serving as an assistant to first-year coach Megan Shea. Blood played at Boston University, where she graduated from last spring.

Women's soccer

St. Michael's sophomore Lindsay St. Pierre, a goalkeeper from Hooksett, made six saves in the Purple Knights' 2-1 victory at Post University Sept. 3. The triumph marked the first for St. Pierre in her college career.

Colby-Sawyer College sophomore Sam Mitchell was named the North Atlantic Conference defensive player of the week. Mitchell, a goalkeeper from Chester, earned a shutout in the Chargers' 3-0 season-opening victory at Norwich University Sept. 1.

Women's cross country

Assumption College senior Courtney Fisher was selected as the NE-10 athlete of the week this past week. Fisher, of Peterborough, won the Shacklette Invitational at St. Anselm on Sept. 2 with a time of 18 minutes, 55 seconds on the 5-kilometer course.

St. Michael's sophomore Abby French was selected to the NE-10 weekly honor roll this past week. The Nashua native opened the season with an eighth-place finish at the Shacklette Invitational, earning a time of 19:54.

Men's golf

SNHU sophomore Garret Olivar was chosen as the NE-10 co-golfer of the week alongside classmate Drew Kane. Olivar, of Manchester, and Kane shared individual medalist honors after shooting an even-par 70 to lead SNHU to a 286-304 triumph over St. Anselm Aug. 31 at Lake Sunapee Country Club.

Alex Hall compiles the college notebook for the New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at ahall@unionleader.com or on Twitter @AlexKHall.


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