Cathy Hamill's first two years as Fairfield Ludlowe field hockey coach were bonafide successes.

But in year No. 3, in 2012, Ludlowe took a step back.

Now, as Hamill prepares to lead Ludlowe again in 2013, she's hoping the club can restore its standing after a 3-11-0-1 season a year ago.

"They have a strong work ethic," Hamill said. "I'm excited to start our season together."

The Falcons boast a roster of 55 girls, eight of whom are returning seniors. First-team All-FCIAC East midfielder Meg Thompson returns, and along with classmate Claire Burns and junior Caroline Power, they will offer support in the midfield.

Three-year starter Riley Thompson will start in goal as a captain. Just because the multi-year starter boasts experience does not mean she won't feel competition from Julia Ennis -- who has Junior National team experience.

A slew of experienced defenders will play in front of Ludlowe's goal, including captain Sydney Shaffer. Joining Shaffer on defense is Sydney Burr, Meg Curran and Emily O'Keefe.

Scoring was a problem for the Falcons in 2012, as the club netted 14 goals in 15 games. However, the club will have experienced forwards, including senior captains Aliza Schaffer and Bryce McClure.

"The girls have worked very hard," Hamill said. "They've developed solid stick work and field sense."

Ana Nolan will join McClure and Schaffer on the front line.

With an ample roster, Ludlowe will boast a solid bench as well. Hamill named nine role players -- Perry Kindel, Meg Lynch, Phoebe Ertel, Paula Camara, Sarah Ford, Madison Burress, Grace Hoffman, Hannah Sharpe and Jackie Berens -- and many of them played significant minutes in 2012.

"I'm confident in our supporting team members as well," Hamill said.