Field Hockey Goes Out With a Bang
After a two-and-a-half-month spell that consisted of intense preseason workouts, team bonding sessions, winning the league and the NCAC tournament and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history, Oberlin field hockey’s extremely successful season finally came to an end on Nov. 12 as the team lost to top ranked Salisbury University 4-0 in the second round of NCAA tournament competition.
Vital wins against Wooster in the NCAC final and Lebanon Valley in Oberlin’s first tournament game set up the mouth-watering match in Maryland with the back-to-back national champions. The Yeowomen, however, were not to be intimidated.
It was Oberlin who came out of the blocks quickly, dominating the beginning of the game and outshooting Salisbury. The solid performance at the start was noticed by the entire team, including senior co-captain Rosemary Mudry.
“We played perfect hockey for the first 20 minutes. We were aggressive, had good movement and worked as a team.”
Shortly thereafter Salisbury broke the deadlock, scoring a penalty stroke at the 18:52 mark in the game. Fourteen minutes later they doubled their tally and added two more after the half, one being another penalty stroke.
Despite being outshot on goal and in penalty corners, the players remained upbeat about this giant step forward in the field hockey program and took plenty of positives from the experience. “How we competed says a lot about our program,” junior Sam Kyrkostas said.
Mudry reiterated the good play she saw in the beginning, saying, “It is exciting to see that type of play show through and to know where the team is going in the future.”
Another positive of the game, which has been constant throughout the entire season, was sophomore Lauren Malinowski’s amazing goalkeeping. An integral part in the Oberlin defense, Malinowski had 18 saves, helping to keep Oberlin in the game and Salisbury at bay. Defensive saves by Mudry and fellow senior Rebecca Schugar were also crucial.
Although the team had plenty of offensive firepower, defense was the key to Oberlin’s success down the stretch of the season. With a stingy average at 1.5 goals a game during all tournament play (including two shutouts), the Yeowomen were able to come out victorious in close games. A perfect example was the 1-0 win against Lebanon Valley in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The contributions from Christine Castilla, Meg Reitz, Schugar and Mudry will be greatly missed, but according to Kyrkostas the future looks bright for Oberlin field hockey.
“The freshmen came in and were serious and eager to learn. It is sad to lose all the seniors, but it is nice knowing the people who will replace them have the same desire to achieve.”
First-year Prunie Brox was one of the new players who had an immediate impact, coming in second for scoring in the NCAC.
In a season blurred by the constant success of the team, it is hard to pinpoint one crowning instant. According to Mudry, however, the sweetest moment was the NCAC final win.
“The greatest moment during the season was beating Wooster to win the NCAC and go to the tournament. It was even better that it was against Wooster because of the huge rivalry between us,” she said.
The team goal at the start of the season was to make it to the second round. Outsiders may have doubted this achievement, but it was something the team focused on since day one.
“One of the greatest things about this team was we all had a clear idea of what our goal was at the beginning of the year,” said Kyrkostas.
Their success, the two defenders admit, could not have been done without the constant fan support.
“It was really inspiring knowing there were so many people who supported us. Professors would stop and congratulate us on our performances,” said the NCAC tournament MVP. Kyrkostas was also quick to single out the commitment by a “super fan.” “It showed dedication when senior Steve Le almost got kicked out of the Wooster game three times in ten minutes.”
The Oberlin field hockey team took leaps and bounds into uncharted NCAA territory this fall. The successful season was capped off by winning the league and the league tournament in order to advance to the national tournament. While the seniors will be missed, Oberlin will look to build from this year with the current talent they have, along with incoming recruits. Even though the team is looking toward next season, the achievements of this season will remain in the forefront of all players’ and fans’ minds for a long time. While many were stunned by how far the team went this year, Mudry was confident all along.
“Once the team stepped out on the field for the first day of preseason,
I knew it would be a good year. It was a great season. A pretty fabulous way to