Change is generally something that people reject. As for the Women’s field hockey team, they have gladly welcomed it after their heartbreaking loss last fall to Rider University in the NEC finals. The changes began in January, when the team began its off-season regimen. My name is Julie Smith, and this is an athlete’s diary.
The team practiced indoors four days a week with two days of strength training. As one of seven seniors, I watched our team take part in the most rigorous off-season since the jump to Division I. “The intensity was picked up. We knew what we needed to get done in the off-season in order to make is to the NCAA tournament this fall,” said senior goalkeeper Sarah Mathers.
We competed in three off-season tournaments at Villanova University, Penn State, and Hofstra University. Each tournament helped us in a different way. Coach Becca Kohli feels as though there is so much we can gain from playing high caliber teams. Many of our opponents were All-Americans and All-Stars.
Although we didn’t dominate our opponents, the team gained confidence in the end. “It’s great for us to see this competition. We are finally at the level where we can compete with these teams and not get pushed around,”said senior co-captain Jaime Glendening.
The spring season left all 13 players in great shape to begin their summer workout programs. Home for the summer to Long Island, Queensbury, Hampstead, New Hope, and Cape Cod, each of us began our busy schedules. Some players worked field hockey camps throughout New England, while others fulfilled internships and affiliations. Aside from working, we are given a workout booklet specifically designed for each player. Each workout generally takes two hours a day, five days a week. “We were able to focus on individual strengths and weaknesses. Each workout is geared toward a specific skill that needs work,” said senior Julie Champagne. The workouts not only help you stay organized, but they also planned everyday of your summer for you.
On Aug. 17, 24 players were invited to preseason. The preseason was kicked off with a 12 minute run, completed on a track. The team had to complete 155.25 laps total, requiring each player to reach 6.75 laps each. If the team did not reach this number, then we would be required to run it each morning at 6 a.m. until we successfully finished. Well, the thought of repeating the run didn’t go over so well and the team finished 3 laps over at 158.25. “I knew I had to bust my (butt). There was no way I was doing it over,” Mathers explained.
After 23 practices, the 10 new players and 13 returning players had successfully formed a team. There