Quinnipiac field hockey changing the narrative

Seth Fromowitz, Staff Writer

After a less-than-ideal 2021 season where the Quinnipiac field hockey team finished with only three wins, the Bobcats have a new outlook headed into the 2022 campaign.

Head Coach Becca Main, who is entering her 28th year with the program, discussed a key factor that can positively impact the new season.

“One of the number one things was getting our strength back,” Main said. “We were out of the weight room for two years because of COVID … so it was really good for us to get stronger.”

Playing just 15 games last season, and only nine the year prior, Quinnipiac will suit up 19 times in 2022, the most since 2015, putting its newly-formed strength to the test.

“We spent a lot more time tactically in positions,” Main said. “If you’re a right defender or a right midfielder, we had that player train that way for four to five months, so that’s brought us to the point of meshing the two groups together, the 16 from the spring and the new seven makes it a little more cohesive.”

One player, however, finds herself in the role of both newcomer and returner.

“We also got to bring back (senior) Eva Veldhorst,” Main said. “(She) played for us her freshman year, then COVID hit and she’s been gone for two years but came back to do one year for us.”

The senior midfielder and Netherlands native last played for the Bobcats in 2019. She was the only freshman to start in all 18 games that year, registering four points in addition to earning a spot on the Big East All-Academic Team.

One of the more exciting storylines for this season would be the seven incoming freshmen, especially goalkeeper Cristina Torres.

The Barcelona native comes into this season after competing in the 2022 U18 Spanish National Championship, where she was named the tournament’s top goalkeeper.

She now enters the fall campaign with the starting role.

“She is the woman on the team who has played the most this past summer,” Main said. “She is very humble, very all about giving to everyone around her.”

Torres is still getting acclimated to her new environment, but still receives high praise from her teammates.

“I do also have three Spanish-speaking players now so that’s helpful for all three of them,” Main said. “But she is the future … She has two goalkeepers behind her with the experience and I think the threesome, in general, is very good in the cage … I’m excited to see her grow and she has already learned a lot in these past three weeks.”

One of those three helping Torres with the language barrier is junior midfielder Micaela Grajales, an Uruguay native and the team’s current on-field captain.

“I feel like I’m one of the most aggressive players we have,” Grajales said. “I want to go forward to every ball like it’s my last, and that motivates the team.”

While Grajales may describe her style as aggressive, the coaching staff sees it as passionate.

“Micaela cares a tremendous amount,” Main said. “She also has a high hockey IQ. So when you put those together, she has the ability to be the catalyst on almost everything that we’re doing.”

Her ability to spark this team paid dividends this past weekend, as the Bobcats knocked off No. 22 Maine in a 1-0 thriller, the program’s first win against a nationally ranked team since 2016.

With the help of its impactful international players, the team will look to turn things around before conference play begins. The Bobcats open their season with five out-of-conference games before the first Big East matchup of the season against Temple on Sept. 16.