VCU forward Emily McNamara topped the list of goals scorers for the 2018 field hockey season with 27 goals in just 19 games, averaging 1.42 goals per game. Unfortunately for the Rams, McNamara was a senior last year and VCU will have a big offensive void to fill for the 2019 season.
McNamara wasn't the only senior who dominated up front last season. Five out of the top six goal scorers were seniors in 2018. Three out of the top five who had the highest goals per game averages also were seniors.
With the 2019 season already underway, who is poised to replace this set of super scoring upperclassmen? A week into the schedule, there already seems to be a new crop of talent emerging upfront. These five players — whose names also graced the top scorers' list in 2018 — hope their offensive play can continue in 2019 to push their team towards a national championship run:
Tonya Botherway, Forward — St. Jospeh's, Sophomore
St. Joe's sophomore Tonya Botherway is one of the best young players in the NCAA right now. Coming off of her 2018 freshman campaign, where she won Atlantic 10's Rookie of the Year award and broke the St. Joe's freshman program record for most goals and points in a season, Botherway looks to be one of the strongest offensive forces in the nation. She was also tied for sixth with the most goals scored in the nation last year with 23. The sensational sophomore is already off to a hot start as the 17th-ranked Hawks started their season strong beating Hofstra 9-1, backed by three goals from Botherway. St. Joe's will host a pair of matches this weekend, starting with Drexel on Friday, Sept. 6 and No. 19 Rutgers on Sunday, Sept. 8.
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Bibi Donraadt, Forward — Maryland, Sophomore
Bibi Donaat is one of the top scorers on one of the top teams in the nation. The Netherlands native, who is fresh off of her Big Ten Freshman of the Year award-winning season, has started her season with two goals through two games. Maryland knocked off Richmond 5-1 and New Hampshire 5-0 to start its 2019 campaign. The Terps are expected to make a strong bid for the national championship this year, as they are ranked No. 2 in the national preseason poll. Donraadt will look to improve upon the 15 goals and 0.6 goals per game average from her freshman campaign to be even more of an offensive catalyst for Maryland.
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Erin Matson, Forward/Midfielder — North Carolina, Sophomore
If there is a player on this list packed with the most potential it is, without a doubt, Erin Matson. She led top-ranked North Carolina in goals last year with 20 and goals per game with 0.87. Matson will have even more opportunities to score this season with former UNC star Ashley Hoffman graduated. The sophomore will be one to keep an eye on even outside of goal scoring as she led UNC in assists with 19 last year and was named ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year last season. The best offensive player on arguably the nation's best team is also a favorite to take home the NFHCA National Player of the Year award. As UNC looks to defend its crown, Matson will be there, scoring and assisting in most likely every game.
Corinne Zanolli, Forward — Stanford, Junior
Remember how just one of the top six of 2018's goal scorers was not a senior? Enter Corinne Zanolli, the now junior forward from Stanford. Zanolli racked up 26 goals last season, tied for second in Division I, with an impressive 1.3 goals per game. Although 21st-ranked Stanford stumbled out of the gate this season, starting 1-2 with losses against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 4 Connecticut, the Cardinal notched their first win of the year against Quinnipiac. Over this three-game stretch, Zanolli already has scored four goals, putting her in the top tier of goal scorers to start the 2019 season. Look for the Cardinal forward to be a favorite to — once again — win the America East Conference Player of the Year, as well as be in contention for the NFHCA National Player of the Year award.