FOREST — Ferrum College’s field hockey team, under the direction of sixth-year head coach Carrie Hanshue Austin, opens its 2019 season at home Friday against Oberlin (Ohio) College, a squad that brings a 17-match losing streak into the contest.
Oberlin’s lone win last year came at Ferrum’s expense, 2-0, in its season opener.
The Panthers, who are coming off a 3-13 campaign, have been picked to finish last in the nine-team Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).
Ferrum was 0-8 in the conference in its inaugural year of competition in the league and the Panthers failed to qualify for the ODAC’s six-team postseason tournament.
Austin is 16-72 in her five years as head coach.
The Panthers’ top returning player on offense is Emily Campbell, who netted five goals and distributed two assists last season.
Also returning are Morganne Flinkstrom, Brittany Warren, Deanna Evans and goalkeeper Mia Holmes, who collected 148 saves last season.
Ferrum opens ODAC play at home Saturday, October 5 against Shenandoah University and plays conference matches at home against Washington and Lee University, Virginia Wesleyan University and Roanoke College. League matches against Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College, University of Lynchburg and Randolph-Macon College are on the road.
The Panthers defeated Hendrix (Arkansas) College once and Sweet Briar College (twice) last season. Hendrix is not on this year’s schedule and the Vixens and the Panthers play once: at Ferrum on Saturday, October 26.
Ferrum brings a five-match losing streak into Friday’s opener.
Postseason ODAC play begins Tuesday, November 5.
Lynchburg is the conference’s reigning champion and preseason title favorite.
The Hornets defeated Shenandoah, 5-2, in the finals of last year’s conference tournament to claim the ODAC’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Lynchburg hosted Denison (Ohio) University in a first-round match and bested the Big Red 3-1. A 1-0 second-round setback on the road against Rowan (New Jersey) University ended the Hornets’ campaign.
Lynchburg received eight of the nine available first-place votes in the preseason poll.