Published: October 2, 2015
The University’s field hockey team is having a perfect season, with zero losses or ties – a rare feat for any sport.
In a total of nine games, the team has been shutting down opponents by scoring early in the first half and letting few goals get past them. The team is coming off a 3-1 win at Marywood University Tuesday.
This season, senior captains Jessica Pankey, Meghan Kearney and Alyssa Whitman, along with four other seniors have been leading a team with a predominantly young nucleus, which is a unique attribute to the team this year according to senior Krista Osborn, Landmark Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
“We lost a bulk of our starters last year and the underclassmen have really had to step up to fill in those gaps. The fact that this year some of us are playing on the field together for the first time, and we are doing as well as we are is pretty amazing,” Osborne said.
The upperclassmen are a big catalyst for the team’s success, but the younger players are also a huge reason for the undefeated start.
One of the strongest underclassman presences on the field comes from sophomore goalie Christina Black, who has only allowed six goals. Overall, the team’s continuing success has come from its ability to outshoot opponents, led by high-scoring seniors as well as its ability to work well with one another.
However, behind every great team is a great coach, which for The University, is head coach Colleen Moyer. Moyer has been coaching for The University for 10 years and is highly respected by her players. Osborne said Moyer “aims our practices on having strong basic skills which has already made a noticeable difference in how our team is playing this year. She knows what’s fair and listens to us in terms of what we see on the field and trusts that we are all working as hard we can.”
As effortlessly as the team makes it seem, conquering opponents such as King’s College, Misericordia University and Marywood by more than two goals, the women are forced to deal with the inevitable physical injuries.
Pankey explains that “The team’s biggest challenge so far is we have faced quite a few of injuries. Because of this we have had to adjust positions and players around to places they might not as often play,” Pankey said.
However, Pankey as well as other members of team agrees that everyone is doing their best to contribute as a whole.
For many University athletes this year, their careers are coming to an end as they will soon graduate and make their way into their next chapter. Pankey offered a genuine word of advice for fellow seniors.
“Give it your all, and don’t complain during practice because you will miss it when it is gone. These are the last opportunities you have to be a student athlete, so have fun with it and don’t take it for granted,” Pankey said.
The field hockey team is strongly starting the midpoint of the season with its next game coming up Oct. 2 against Juniata College.