Preparation pays off for TU field hockey team

by Abby Ferguson
Sports Editor

After a rocky 2010 season, the Transylvania field hockey team started its season off with two decisive wins. In the process, the Pioneers took home the Earlham College Kookaburra Invitational trophy.

“We started this season with winning our first trophy and we are determined to

First-year Macaulay Schifferdecker, a Louisville native, has performed well in the midfield as part of the team's early-season success.

continue pushing ourselves all season long to bring home more and more wins,” said senior captain Alexis Schuman.

The offseason proved to be challenging.

“We worked incredibly hard and had a good time at it,” said Schuman. “Getting up at 6:30 to run the gauntlet is a whole lot easier when you are surrounded by friends and people who can push you to do better.”

The preseason was geared to push the team and get them prepared for upcoming contests.

“Preseason was hard — but it was supposed to be. We need that intensity to gear us up for the season,” said senior Amelia Reesor, who is also a captain. “That (preseason) training, combined with our energy and desire to win, really helped push us about the competition at the Earlham Kookaburra Invitational.”

Preseason called for the team to endure three practices a day.

“(This) quickly got us in shape for the harsh and demanding games we played during the tournament,” Schuman said.

Apart from the hard work, the team has also set goals to keep themselves motivated. Not only have their goals pushed them forward, but the coaching staff has as well.

“Coach (Tiffany Underhill) is great about pushing the team and encouraging us at every step along the way,” Reesor said. “We’ve established goals for ourselves and the team, and I think we are just pushing ourselves to achieve those goals and set new ones.”

“To keep motivated we keep a set of goals in our locker room and before every game we go around and say what we are thankful for,” said Schuman.

The players also use previous seasons as a way to keep them moving forward and to push them to get better.

“We look at our past seasons and all the ‘almost’ games and use that as motivation during preseason and before we approach each game,” said senior Laura Hammer, also a captain. “We try and stay positive through the hard practices and just try and have fun when we’re together.”

On the coaches’ side, they are doing their part to keep the ladies motivated.

“We (the coaching staff) keep reminding them of the potential we have and the records we can break,” said Underhill.

Along with its tough preseason, the team heads into the 2011 season with a mixture of players from all years.

“The team this year is definitely coming into the season at a higher skill level than we’ve been at in the past,” said Reesor. “The team has gelled together instantly, and I think we are all dedicated to make this the best season in Transy field hockey history.”

“This year we have an excellent lineup of players that are both skilled and determined. Each of us enjoys the game and can’t wait to step out on the field,” said Schuman. “We are a very tight-knit and encouraging group, so we have been working together to push ourselves to new levels.”

Looking forward to their upcoming contests, the women are anticipating getting better and hurdling each challenge as it arises.

The strong start is not all the team is after, though.

“(We want to) be a big contender and an even bigger threat for our opponents,” Underhill said.

With a record of 2-2, the women will face Sewanee, the University of the South, on Saturday at noon, followed by a bout with Centre College at 1 p.m. on Sunday.


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