The women’s field hockey team constantly points to the fact that the players are thick as thieves as one of their strong points. In true fashion, the tight bunch has used what they call an all-around approach to steal four out of their first five games.
With offensive, defensive and midfield lines that have all played together before this year, the Red is off to its best start in team history, although players and coaches refuse to point to one particular part of the team as the reason why.
“We’re a balanced team and that’s what we hang our hat on,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We need to be a cohesive unit to be successful.”
Nonetheless, the team does break down into different parts that serve different purposes to the team.
The Red’s offensive attack is headed by returning first team All-Ivy forward sophomore Alyssa DePaola, and two-time Ivy League player of the Week, sophomore Brenna Gulotta, who was also twice named Ivy League Rookie of the week last year.
“Our offense is built around speed , which is one of our teams strengths,” she said. “We can stretch the field and get in behind the other team’s defense.”
The players say they feel comfortable running so much because they have trust in their teammates, something gained from the fact that the whole returning starting line played together last year.
“I know where people are on my left and my right,” DePaola said. “I know their games now, and so I know they are going to be backing me up.”
Finishing has been the offense’s kryptonite. Fortunately for the Red, though, they know they can overcome their kryptonite — unlike Superman.
“Working on finishing is just a matter of getting more practice in,” DePaola said. “We’re doing well, we just need more playing time and more experience.”
“We all know how to finish,” said sophomore Helena Hass. “We just need to get it done, which we will.”
Responsible for not only feeding the ball to the speedy offense but also for getting back and helping out the defense, the Red’s midfield line features the only two seniors on the team, co-captains Lindsay Moyer and Sarah Miller, who play the left and right wings, respectively. While the team this season has been using a lot of long balls out of the backfield to move up on offense, Moyer points out that she would like to see the team utilize center midfielder sophomore Katlyn Donoghue more.
“Sometimes we get into hitting the ball too much,” Moyer said. “It’s important to hit the long ball, but it’s even more important to mix it up and get the midfield involved by focusing on using a zig zag motion to pass the ball up the field.”
Miller and Moyer have each been in their spots since their freshman year, and through the years have seen a lot of turnover on the line. This year, however, the team did not have to focus on finding people to fill slots.
“It’s nice that we don’t have to build chemistry like some teams,” Moyer said. “Because of that we are a unit that looks up, knows the field and knows where the pass should go before we get the ball.”
Defenders and Goalkeepers
The Red return a back line that is used to playing together, and which includes sophomore Belen Martinez, who last season was named to the 2005 Dartfish/NFHCA Division I All-Region Second Team. The defensive unit also boasts what Hornibrook refers to as the best goalie tandem in the league, junior Lizzie Goldblatt and sophomore Shannon Prescott. Hornibrook has made an effort to get both goalies into games this year, with Prescott seeing action in two games thus far, including her first collegiate start against Vermont.
“The real problem is that Lizzie and I are good friends,” Prescott joked. “She’s really good, though. So much about the goalie position is composure, and last year, I felt lost and nervous when I played, but Lizzie is so composed. We definitely make each other better, though.”