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Women’s Field Hockey: An Overview of the Season

By: Audrey Kough, Red & Black Campus Sports Writer

W&J Women's Field Hockey won 6-0 against Oberlin College. (Photo Courtesy Regan Carlson)

NOV 4 - Starting the season all the way back in August with pre-season conditioning, the women on the field hockey team were ready to take on whatever the 2022 season brought to them.

The women’s field hockey team is one of the few teams here at W&J that is not a part of the President’s Athletic Conference (PAC). The team is a part of the Empire 8 Conference based out of New York. This means a lot of travelling, long hours on buses, and lots of overnight stays at hotels.

The field hockey was under new leadership this season with new head coach Maggie Fees.
The team consisted of many freshman students, with the number of first years being ten women compared to eight returning upper-class women.

Despite the youth of the team, senior and co-captain Madison Devine would describe the atmosphere of the team as, “the closest we have been in all of my four years here.”
“It was an adjustment at first, but once we figured out how to work together, it clicked, and we were solid,” Devine said. “There was a lot of talent on the team this year, we were dynamic, and we had a nice balance of getting to work, while still having fun because our team was so close.”

The field hockey team was able to create a close bond with each another early in the season, creating connections off the field that would in turn help them on the field. If the women on the team were able to communicate and trust each other off the field, that would directly translate to effective communication and teamwork on the field.

Senior and co-captain Lindsey Diggan shared what helped the team run smoothly and operate as one unit rather than individual players.
“Something important about the team is stressing that everyone has a role and is equally important regardless of playing time or position,” Diggan said. “This built a respect among all players in the team to work together.”

While the season started off a rocky with three loses, the women on the team turned the season around and began winning many games. Reflecting on the season, freshman Riley Dortenzo remembers what she felt was the team’s biggest accomplishment: “One of our biggest accomplishments was beating Saint John Fisher as they were three-time Empire Eight Champions.”

Continuing with their season, the field hockey team continued to fight hard and play with their hearts in every game. Win or lose the women on the team knew everyone was giving their best effort.
Finishing off the regular season with a record of 6-10 and an Empire Eight Conference record of 5-4, the team was able to secure themselves a spot in the first round of playoffs. W&J’s field hockey team has not been in playoffs since the 2019 season.

The team traveled to Utica, New York on Nov. 1 in preparation for the game on Nov. 2 against Utica University. The team went into the game hungry for a win and a lot of fight instilled in them. They fought hard, battling Utica until the very end.

“One of our biggest accomplishments was beating Saint John Fisher as they were three-time Empire Eight Champions.” - Dortenzo

While W&J did not win, Devine feels proud of the team’s performance.
“It did not turn out the way that we had hoped, we knew we gave it our all,” Devine said. “There is not much more you can really ask for as a senior on the team.”

As W&J’s field hockey team return to campus, they were still winners in their strength and connection as a program.

“I’m really proud of the team and all of the progress we made, and I know I’m leaving the program in good hands with the team,” Devine said.
Dortenzo reinforces this belief.

“The season ended earlier than what we had hoped for, but it was a solid season all around full of success and many opportunities,” Dortenzo said. “I feel like next season we are going to come out even stronger.”

While the field hockey season may have ended, the ladies on the team can all agree it was a great season with many highs.

The one thing that propelled them through the season and helped them fight game after game was the love they all shared for the sport of field hockey.
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