By MICHELLE KIM – CENTO WRITER
The Centre College Field Hockey (CCFH) team opened their 2014 campaign ranked 22nd in the country. They were hard at work, training intensely weeks before the majority of students had even moved onto campus.
Last season’s team set high standards to uphold, but with seven wins and 33 goals out of ten games so far, these standards may be attained, or even surpassed, this season.
Replacing the talented group of seniors with seven new first-years has been a challenge, but the upperclassmen are sure the coaching staff brought in the right group of women. These first-years include Christine Semple, Nora Verhoff, Natasha Loeb, Brooklyn Bell, Mary Andrews, Hayley Barker, and Lena Jewler.
“Our team last year was great, but this year’s team chemistry is awesome,” sophomore Kelsey Gordon said. “We brought in some amazing new first-years who have been vital this year’s success. Our returning players have come back stronger than ever and it shows on the field. Together our team is striving for a fun year and a season even better than last.”
Joining a high-level collegiate athletic team as a first-year is typically a nervewracking experience, but goalkeeper Lena Jewler from California had no problem adjusting because the team was so welcoming. It took little time for the closeknit friendships to be built.
“As a first-year, being a part of the field hockey team was so helpful in easing the transition to life at Centre,” Jewler said. “Being here two weeks early gave me a chance to get used to living on campus before having to deal with the pressures and time commitment of academics.”
Field hockey has the added challenge of facing opponents that are in Division II, which means that the majority of their players are on scholarship and have different challenges than the athletes at Centre who are not on scholarship.
Their biggest rivalries this season in conference include Rhodes College and Christopher Newport University, whom they are hoping to beat in order to avenge their Sweet 16 loss during the previous season.
“We had a challenging beginning to our season by facing Kenyon, DePauw, and Lindenwood,” sophomore Megan Flocken said. “Our games were scheduled this way so our game mentality could be fierce and confident going into our conference games.”
The intensity of training and focus the players have been undergoing, with practice every day, not including conditioning at the gym on their own time, is impressive.
“Coming from a background of field hockey programs with limited success, it has been so exciting to be a part of a winning program like Centre’s,” Jewler said. “In just a month and a half of hockey, I feel like being on this team has helped me improve so much as a player. I’ve learned so many specific skills and techniques that I never knew about before.”
Even though being a part of the team is a huge commitment, the players know it is all worthwhile in the end. “My favorite part about CCFH are my teammates,” Gordon said.
“I know that no matter how bad my day is going or how stressed I am about homework, my teammates, (my best friends) will be down at the field at 4:30 every day to put a smile on my face and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
The Lady Colonels will return to action on Sat., Oct. 4 at Rhodes College. Their next home game is slated to occur on Fri., Oct. 10 against Newberry College.