Women’s field hockey wins first game of the season
By Peter Hailey, Staff Writer
With the dissatisfaction of finishing sixth in the Centennial Conference last year and just barely missing out on postseason play still fresh in their minds, the Gettysburg women’s field hockey team opened their season with a statement win against Eastern Mennonite University last Friday.
Sophomore Hannah Fitzgerald scored the game winning goal just 11 seconds before the end of regulation, her second goal of the contest, to lift the Bullets past the Royals, 4-3. Senior captain Kellyann Walley said last year was in the back of everyone’s head during the game, and while she’s pleased with the victory, she also knows the team must get better if they are to reach their ultimate goal.
“It was extremely disappointing not making the tournament last year, but it really just makes us want to get after it this season even more,” Walley said. “It was obviously an awesome feeling getting that goal within the last play of the game, but definitely reminded us that we don’t want to let it get to that point again.”
Aside from Fitzgerald’s two goals and one assist, the Bullets got strong performances out of sophomore Samantha Wright and junior Kim Engelhart, who notched a goal each, and senior Lexie Mowery and first year Lindsay Kraus, who both had an assist.
Junior Mari Bigley is excited about the team’s depth and believes in each of her teammate’s abilities. “We have confidence in each other and trust our teammates wil l do everything possible to win. We will play until the last second without giving up.”
Starting the season on the road is no easy task, but the Bullets were certainly up for the challenge. Fitzgerald scored in the first minute of the game, and players from each class contributed in every facet and every area of the field. However, for the team moving forward, head coach Barb Jordan knows her seniors will have to lead the way.
“Our seniors have the experience of being in the tournament, and they know what it takes to get there,” Jordan said. “The team will be looking to them to provide that leadership by example.”
Jordan herself will also be a key component to the team’s season. The opener against Eastern Mennonite s ignaled the star t of her 13th season at the helm of the program, and also was her 132nd career win as coach, adding to her all-time program lead. Players know having a leader with such an impressive resume is not something to take for granted.
“She is so successful because she really cares about us and runs the team with respect,” said Bigley. “We in turn respect her and don’t ever want to disappoint her.”
The Bullets will hit the road again for a non-conference game against York College on Wednesday, September 3rd, before returning home for four straight games at Shirk Field, starting on September 6th against Cabrini. The final game on the extended home stand will be against Ursinus, the team’s first Centennial Conference show down.
When asked to describe the team’s mindset moving forward after a terrific win to begin the 2014 campaign, Walley brought up the team’s new motto, one that will go a long way in keeping the team together during the grueling and very important season.
“Our team’s theme this year is ‘We will,’ meaning that we will do everything that we can to achieve our goals and better ourselves and the team. We’re a group of girls with a lot of passion and drive for each other and the game.”
For a group of players who are desperate to get back into the conference tournament and continue to build on the successes of their longtime coach, the motto is perfect. The Gettysburg women’s field hockey team will continue to improve every day, approach each game with the same intense focus, and do whatever it takes to make some serious noise in the postseason.