The women’s field hockey team is currently in the middle of an important playoff drive. Recently, the team played Castleton University for the number one seed. After a disappointing loss, the team still has high hopes for the rest of the season.
According to head coach Amy Watson, the team has had a strong season: “We’ve been pretty strong for the most part offensively. We’re led by four strong seniors, so that’s been great for us too.” Watson said the team is full of a lot of experienced players, and they don’t plan on slowing down. “We play again soon for the first round of the tournament. We have to really come out and play our game, and play hard. It’s do or die time,” Watson said.
Team captain Erica Stauffer shared a similar attitude about the next few upcoming games. She also said that while the team is disappointed, they don’t plan on letting the loss stop them.
“We were competing for the number one seed, and whoever wins the next game hosts the tournament. So we were really looking for that home field advantage,” said Stauffer. While the team may not have been able to get the win from Castleton, Stauffer said the team has a lot of good things going for it.
“We have one of the strongest forward lines, I’d say. We have a pretty strong returning mid field line, and especially our goalie. She’s been very strong for us.” Stauffer said she started playing field hockey in seventh grade, and has played consistently since. Being a senior at Keene State, she’s had plenty of experience playing college field hockey, and said that this year had a very solid start.
“We came out strong in the beginning, and were definitely excited about that. Towards the middle of the season, had a little dip. But we brought it back up,” said Stauffer.
According to Stauffer, there’s more on the line than just a play off drive. “We’ve won our conference the past five years in a row, so this year would be making history for us with the most consecutive LEC (Little East Conference) championships in a row.”
Ally McCall, a junior on the team, has taken up an important position on the team. Stauffer said that after losing two key seniors last year, McCall has stepped up a lot as a center defender in order to fill that role. McCall has been playing field hockey since third grade, and said that the season has been going just as well as previous years: “Personally I feel like it’s gone pretty well. I mean there’s always points in the season when you’re not your best and you get into lulls. That’s definitely happened this year, but we’ve stayed strong and it’s gotten better.”
She also said that the way practices are run has been a big factor into the team’s success: “Every practice is really based off of who we’re competing next with, and when we’re playing them. So if we’re not playing a game for a couple days we’ll definitely do more conditioning. A lot of our drills are based off of what we want to focus on in the game, so it definitely changes every day.”
The team is getting ready for its most important games of the season, and feels confident that they have what it takes to succeed.
Matt Barriga can be