Any high school field hockey player would love to be recruited by Marcia Pankratz. But not any player can say they had a chance to say goodbye after four years in her program.

Seniors April Fronzoni, Stephanie Johnson, Laura Woitkewitsch, Jenny Zangara, Kristi Gannon and Anneke Huntzicker will be honored during Michigan’s Saturday matchup against No. 7 Penn State.

“I remember as a (high school) senior, the thought of being able to play for Michigan was something that I never imagined,” Zangara said. “It was an achievement just to be looked at by Marcia, and the fact that I was going to play for her was unbelievable. She’s not just a coach, but a good friend.”

Michigan’s seniors will have to say goodbye to their long-time coach, as well as their teammates and friends.

“There are a lot of girls that I’ll miss,” Zangara said. “I’ll miss all the senior captains, like Stephanie Johnson. I love them all. Laura Woitkewitsch is great; she’s a housemate of mine. It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye to her because she’s leaving the country.”

Woitkewitsch’s family resides in Cologne, Germany, but she now calls Ann Arbor home.

“I don’t see my family that much,” Woitkewitsch said. “I only see them during summer and Christmas, but for holidays like Thanksgiving I go home with one of my teammates. They’re like my sisters, and all their families are wonderful. We just hang out, and it’s so much fun. It’s going to awful to leave.”

Despite Woitkewitsch’s inevitable return to her home in Germany, Michigan will remain a huge part of her life.

“I’m going to definitely miss everything about Michigan,” Woitkewitsch said. “The friendship that I made here are unbelievable. The first time I got here, I just felt like I didn’t want to be here, but now its awesome and I love it.”

The success of this senior group has been uncanny. Winning the national championship in 2001 remains one of the most unforgettable pieces of their stay here at Michigan.

“My most memorable moment was absolutely winning the national championship two years ago at Kent State,” Zangara said. “It was an amazing experience. It was just indescribable.”

The seniors have played field hockey for most of their lives, but regardless, their field hockey careers most likely will end after this season.

“I’m not sure what my plans are at the present time,” Zangara said. “I’m going to take a lot from this experience. I haven’t thought about coaching, and I don’t really know where I’m going to go either. I know I’m not going to go the coaching route or continue to play. There is no professional field hockey.”

Woitkewitsch remains positive as she looks further down the road.

“When I go back to Germany, there’s a club system where I can play,” said Woitkewitsch. “It’s not professional. We only have club teams. We have like three to four practices a week.”

No. 6 Michigan will hold senior day at home this Saturday against Penn State. It will be the last home game for the seniors.

 

 

 

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