Field Hockey Earns Surprise Playoff Berth

After a 9-8 regular season that ended in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to then-#16 Haverford, one would have thought the field hockey team’s season was over. As a testament to the strength of the Centennial Conference and a solid non-conference record, though, the team received a surprise bid to the ECAC South Region tournament. The bid is Swarthmore’s first postseason field hockey tournament since winning the ECAC tournament in 1997.

Despite a 4-6 losing record in conference play, the Garnet were buoyed by a 5-2 nonconference record.  Although this may raise questions about the quality of the nonconference schedule, Head Coach Lauren Fuchs believed the schedule works, saying, “ We play some top teams each year.” Indeed, it would be difficult to find nonconference opponents that could adequately prepare the team for the national powers like #4 Franklin and Marshall that the Centennial Conference boasts. Evidently, the ECAC selection committee agreed, considering Swarthmore’s bid.

As the #6 seed, the Garnet played host to #3 seed Stevens yesterday afternoon. closely played, the Ducks pulled away in the end to win 5-2, Aarti Rao ‘14 started the scoring off with an unassisted goal in the third minute, but the Ducks responded ten minutes later, pushing the lead to 3-1 by the end of the first half. Sophia Agathis ’13 scored again late in the second half, but it was too little, too late for the stymied Garnet offense.

The Garnet finish the season with a 9-9 record, their first non-losing season in recent memory. It was a season of great improvement, as Swarthmore recorded its most wins in at least as long, and was in contention for the Centennial Conference playoffs until the final minutes of the regular season.

According to Coach Fuchs, the team “Had a lot of bright moments, more so then in the past. The opportunity was there for us to make conference playoffs, which I wanted so much for our seniors to experience.”  She added that it is due to the seniors that the program has improved so much recently.  “They started all the positive trends that we have now. They have done the little extra it takes to be successful and have taught that to the younger players.”

With the season finally over, the Garnet look ahead to next year, with the goal of qualifying for the Centennial tournament and other postseason tourneys. Although the team graduates its catalysts for improvement, there is a strong foundation for fall 2013, with returning players like Capone, Erin Gluck ‘16, and Nia Jones ‘14. The upcoming schedule will be released sometime in the somewhat distant future.

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