The St. Mary’s Women’s Field Hockey team is all about heart and pain. After a 6-1 start to the season, the team has littered the field with their heart and toughness.
Beginning the season with a 4-1 victory over Goucher College, the Seahawks traveled back to Baltimore to battle Johns Hopkins University, ranked #15 in the Capial Athletic Conference at the time. After a scoreless first half, both teams tallied two goals in the second period.
With the game tied at the end of regulation, the Seahawks headed into overtime. Johns Hopkins dominated possession during overtime, but sophomore Lauriann Parker gathered a loose ball, dribbled toward goal, and scored the game winner after over 78 minutes of play. Continuing the momentum from the previous day, the team followed their overtime upset of Johns Hopkins by defeating Virginia Wesleyan 6-0.
With a record of 3-0, the Seahawks prepared to begin conference play against York College. “The Capital Athletic Conference is tough. After Salisbury,” the 2009 Division III National Champions, “exists a lot of parity. Mary Washington, York, and Wesley are all good teams,” said Coach Katie Lange.
The Hawks struck first against York when junior Susan Smith scored four minutes and 45 seconds into the game. Thie goal was followed by Parker’s fifth goal of the season, early in the second half. Trailing 2-0, York battled back and evened the score to 2-2. After two great shots on goal by senior captain Allie Skiest and sophomore Ellen Hackstaff, Parker found the net with one minute and 32 seconds left in regulation, lifting the Seahawks past York 3-2.
Conference action continued at Stevenson University. In another close match, the Seahawks found themselves trailing 2-0 early in the second half. Hackstaff was the first to find the net for the Hawks. With less than ten minutes remaining, Parker equalized, sending the game into overtime. After remaining scoreless into the second overtime, Parker beat her defender and buried a shot into the back of the net, notching her second goal of the game and eighth of the season. “I just take the enthusiasm from my team and work hard for my team because they are working hard for me,” said Parker.
According to Coach Lange, the Field Hockey team’s 6-1 record is the culmination of many factors. While the Hawks have scored fifteen goals in four games, Lange attributes much of their success to the team’s stellar defensive efforts. The unit is lead by senior goalkeeper Lydia Garcia, who averages 1.01 goals against per game. Joining Garcia on the defensive end are two senior captains, defensive midfielder Skiest and defender Blair Lusby.
Lusby explained the keys to the Seahawks defensive success. “Always trying to talk, it starts from the back, a lot of communication. We are always talking about supporting each other, making sure they are getting back.” Said Lange about the team’s success, “the great vocal leadership provided by senior captains Allie Skiest and Blair Lusby are essential to our team’s chemistry.”
The lynchpin to the Seahawks early success, though, is the team’s willingness to demonstrate heart, experience, and pain necessary to win. Early in the August heat of preseason, Coach Lange told her team, “Winning hurts, its all about heart and pain.” Lange believes it is the team’s toughness that has helped the Seahawks to remain standing strong.