Allegheny College Women’s Field Hockey begins season

First women’s field hockey team in college history prepares for upcoming games

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Allegheny College Women’s Field Hockey begins season

Allegheny College Women’s Field Hockey teammates Becca Winton, ‘23, Kinsley Greenlaw, ‘23, and Hannah Sharp, ‘23, run on Sept. 5, 2019 at Robertson Athletic Complex during practice.

Allegheny College Women’s Field Hockey teammates Becca Winton, ‘23, Kinsley Greenlaw, ‘23, and Hannah Sharp, ‘23, run on Sept. 5, 2019 at Robertson Athletic Complex during practice.

Allegheny College Women’s Field Hockey teammates Becca Winton, ‘23, Kinsley Greenlaw, ‘23, and Hannah Sharp, ‘23, run on Sept. 5, 2019 at Robertson Athletic Complex during practice.

Allegheny College Women’s Field Hockey teammates Becca Winton, ‘23, Kinsley Greenlaw, ‘23, and Hannah Sharp, ‘23, run on Sept. 5, 2019 at Robertson Athletic Complex during practice.

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Around Allegheny’s campus, there are signs of growth and change. Some of the greatest changes have been at the Allegheny College Athletic Department with the addition of sports teams, including, for the first time in Allegheny’s history, a women’s field hockey team.

Women’s field hockey has a long, rich history dating back hundreds of years. It was one of the first women’s collegiate sports and, for a long time, has been one of the most popular sports on campuses across the U.S.

After fully coming together as a team for the first time in July, the players on the women’s field hockey team are ready for their first season. The team had their first game on Aug. 30, and despite losing to Gwynedd Mercy University with a final score of 0-6, Hallie Reiger, ’23, said the scoreboard did not reflect the work, passion and love the team displayed for the sport.

“We (are) playing like a team that had been together for years,” Reiger said. “When you’re a freshman in high school, you automatically have the seniors or juniors to look up to and now it’s like we have to be the seniors all four years.”

The team’s inaugural game against Gwynedd Mercy may not have gone exactly as hoped, yet the players remain optimistic.

Having a team comprised almost entirely of first-year students, except for four upperclassmen, has, if anything, made them feel underestimated by the competition, according to Kierstin Faw, ’21.

“People don’t think our skills are as high as a team that has (older players),” Faw said. “We have a lot of skill on our team. … Having a younger team hasn’t been an issue because this is new to all of us.”

The team had a strong defensive performance against Gwynedd Mercy, with 10 saves over the course of the game. Their second game against Misericordia University on Aug. 31 ended with a final score of 0-5. The team said they see these recent losses as a chance to reflect and improve rather than back away from the challenges of the upcoming season.

As the team gets acclimated to both college and one another, team building and bonding have been important to the players.

“We did a lot of fitness and running conditioning, but we also did a ton of activities for team bonding,” Faw said. “We went to Presque Isle, and last weekend we went to Tall Ships in Erie.”

These activities served as a way for the players to get to know each other as more than just athletes and teammates, but as people and friends.

The team views its experiences — which include defeat and numerous injuries amongst players — in the last two games as opportunities in disguise. “I think in a weird way it’s been helpful,” Faw said. “We’re listening to our bodies and know our limits better. We are still pushing each other and trying to be better”

The players went on to describe the response from the school. “They’ve been very supportive,” Faw said. “The director has stopped by a number of times to tell us how excited he is and how great a fit field hockey is for the school.”

Reiger mentioned numerous times the men’s soccer and football teams have stopped by to show support, and how they even got to do a joint practice with the women’s volleyball team.

The joys as well as the stresses of being on a sports team at Allegheny are well known and well documented. This team knows the rather interesting situation they are in. To be a first year in any sport comes with challenges but being the inaugural team of a brand-new varsity sport is a challenge that would’ve scared away others. But the team not only faces the odds, but relishes in and enjoys what they get to do. They don’t play to prove doubters wrong; they play for a love of the game and a commitment to one another.

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