Courtesy: Kyle Kelley/CMU Athletics
Central Michigan head coach Cristy Freese addresses a group of players during practice Wednesday morning at the CMU Field Hockey Complex.
Field Hockey Takes to the Turf for First Practice of 2013

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Under clear blue skies and in crisp fall-like temperatures, the Central Michigan field hockey program took the turf for the first time Wednesday morning.

The Chippewas and 29th-year head coach Cristy Freese practiced for nearly three and a half hours at the CMU Field Hockey complex, opening their preseason camp with conditioning, tactical and skill drills and their first taste of live competitive action.

“It was a good first practice,” Freese said. “As a coach we will never be satisfied, so it was good to see where they are and where we need to go from here. The most important thing is looking at the veteran players. They need to have it in their head the way we want to play right away. Sometimes the first day, the players want to get acclimated, but as coaches we want to see where we want to go and really push forward.”

After earning All-MAC first team honors last season, seniors Simone Lazar and Skylar VanNatta return for their senior season looking to lead the Chippewas to their third Mid-American Conference title in program history.

“I just want to keep getting better,” Lazar said. “There is no point in playing the game if you’re not working at getting better everyday. As a team, I want that MAC championship. This is my final year and I really want it.”

In addition to Lazar and VanNatta, the Chippewas return 2012 Second-Team All-MAC selection Jordyn Brengosz, as well as junior forward Cayleigh Immelman, who was named the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2010.

The Chippewas will open the regular season with a pair of home contests versus Robert Morris on Friday, August 30 at 2 p.m. before taking on St. Louis on Sunday, September 1 at 1 p.m.