Swarthmore field hockey is off to its best start since the 1990s, with a record of 7-2. The team recorded a convincing 4-1 victory over Gettysburg last Saturday, placing them third overall in the conference.
Leading the team’s scoring with four goals each are captain Chelsea Semper ’22 and Martina Kampel ’23. One of the strongest aspects of the team, according to Callie Cho ’23, is the team’s depth.
“We have a super deep bench and everyone came into season really fit, so we can outlast most teams in pace of play and fitness,” said Cho. A total of eleven players out of the roster of twenty-three have contributed at least one goal this season, illustrating their impressive collective talent.
Even more crucial to their success has been the development of a strong team camaraderie. Head Coach Hannah Harris highlighted the impact of their cohesion on the team’s performance.
“The chemistry the players have built off the field is transitioning to on field play,” said Harris.
Cho echoed Harris’s belief that the team’s bond is central to their achievements.
“I would say that we are so successful so far this season because we definitely clicked as a team. The team chemistry is really fluid and not forced, which is reflected on the field,” said Cho.
The combination of a strong team unit and across-the-board talent has led the Garnet to already meet some of their goals for the season.
“The way we are looking at this season is like a game. We play four quarters to complete the game and we are looking at this season as four seasons,” said Coach Harris. “Season 1: Preseason; we wanted to develop the team culture, take care of ourselves, and prepare to be game ready. Season 2: Non-Conference Play; we wanted to take every game as a learning experience to prepare ourselves for conference.”
The team has already actualized these first two goals and now is focused on their goal of succeeding in conference play in hopes of extending their season into the postseason. “Our biggest goal is definitely to make it to and win the conference championship,” said Semper.
While their accomplishments on the field have not been a surprise to the group, it has made a clear statement to the rest of the conference that their preseason conference ranking of tenth was undeserved.
“I think we have proved that we should not be ranked tenth, and we are no longer the underdogs. Teams should come into our games now ready for a fight,” said Cho.
The Garnet now look to extend their conference winning streak over fall break, taking on McDaniel, Washington College, and Franklin and Marshall over the next two weeks.
“On a personal level, there are some teams I have never beaten while playing for Swat, including Ursinus, F&M, Washington College, and Dickinson, all of whom I am anticipating winning against this year for some much deserved vengeance,” said Semper.
With a great start to the season and a strong roster, Harris is very optimistic for the last eight games.
“I am excited to watch the team continue to develop into a great team. This group is fun to work with because of their hard work, dedication, and determination to make Swarthmore field hockey known,” she said.
Semper reiterated this sentiment, saying, “I am already so incredibly proud of my team, but I am looking forward to seeing all of the ways they will continue to amaze and inspire me during the rest of this season.”