Young Field Hockey team remains optimistic

Sophomore Katherine Ianni serves as a crucial player to the Swarthmore College Field Hockey team


Sophomore Katherine Ianni  serves as a crucial player to the Swarthmore College Field Hockey team
Sophomore Katherine Ianni serves as a crucial player to the Swarthmore College Field Hockey team.

On paper, it has been a rockier start for the Swarthmore Field Hockey team than in previous years. With that being said, the season is not lost. Due to various injuries and other losses, the field hockey team has had their fair share of road bumps. Including those held by last year’s seniors graduated seniors from last season, six of the eleven starting positions have opened up.

Sophomore Ursala Monaghan ’17 commented, “We had a rough start with injuries and numbers. People have been thrown into spots they have not played before.” In an attempt to describe the recent impediments, Monaghan also explained, “we had two concussions from day one… [the first person] would have been starting… then after the second game our center had a concussion.”

Because many starting positions have unexpectedly opened up, it has been a struggle to find enough experienced players to fill their void. Freshmen and sophomores have taken many of the starting roles, including Monaghan and Katherine Ianni ’17.

Ianni noted, “This is definitely a building time.” Injuries and player losses are as much a part of team sports as an unexpectedly difficult exam is for a student. Thankfully, much like a student is able to move on from a difficult test, the field hockey team intends to move past recent impediments, despite the lack of experience.

One of the ways in which adjustments have been made is the placement of many underclassmen in important spots on the team. Monaghan noted, “All our freshmen have pretty much started at one time or another.”

Unfortunately, positioning underclassmen in important positions right off the bat comes with the aforementioned lack of experience. The field hockey team intends to overcome these obstacles and improve every day.

It can be easy to look at just the numbers of a team and forget about how much the team dynamic off the field matters. When asked about the social aspect of the team, Ianni commented, “I don’t think we have ever had any problems with social aspects of our team. Everyone gets along inter and intra grades.”

A heavily overlooked ingredient to team success is team chemistry, which may allow this team to bounce back. Ianni also noted that in terms of divisions of labor, everyone works together. Head coach Lauren Fuchs makes sure jobs such as carrying equipment and setting up for practices are evenly distributed amongst grades, and she does not allow most work to be taken by freshmen and sophomores.

When considering the direction of the team and understanding the significant team chemistry, there is reason for optimism. Freshmen thrown into leadership spots have improved tremendously in just a few weeks. Ianni said, “I can already see that [the freshmen] have improved since they first came.”

Monaghan also noted, “people have been thrown into spots that they have never played before, including myself.”

It is difficult to assume instant success from a relatively inexperienced group of players, some of whom have never played their current positions. Scores and numbers may not be the best determinant for the strength of a team. Ianni said, “I think everyone has been improving every game. I think it gets better.”

The Swarthmore field hockey team’s most recent game was away at Immaculata University. Although the women did not return victorious, there were some definite bright spots. Monaghan commented, “We started off strong. We scored the first goal.” Although the match did not end as the team may have wished, there is definite reason to believe this team improves and overcomes struggles every day.

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