The field hockey team has been planning for this weekend since last January. After finishing the 2003 season with a 3-13 (1-6 Ivy) record, the Red started from scratch in the spring of 2004 — when new head coach Donna Hornibrook took the reins. “We have new ways of playing,” Hornibrook said. “This year’s style will be more aggressive, and we’ll play as a unit. We’ve been practicing since last spring, which should give us a jump start this fall.” The women will put this new system to the test this weekend with the season-opening games against Lehigh and Lafayette at home. Tomorrow, the Red will face off against Lehigh. A year ago, the Red took the Mountain Hawks to double overtime before then-junior Gina Testa scored the game-winning goal. This year, the Red will focus on a strong defensive mentality to shut down an opponent whose strength is a well-balanced attack with multiple scoring threats.
“We respect their abilities,” Hornibrook said of Lehigh. “We need to do a good job defensively, and I think we can shut them down. We need to be defensive on the offensive end, too, and try and score quickly on turnovers.”
The Red was on the losing end of a 4-1 decision against Lafayette a year ago, and was outshot by a 29-8 margin. The team will focus on defense and team play to try and reverse their fortunes this weekend.
“I think we’re all really excited,” senior co-captain Testa said. “We’ve been working and training really hard, and now we can see what this team can do. We can put to work the system that coach built.”
Testa and classmates Sarah Weiner and Danielle Dunn will lead the attack for the Red. “They play well together and give us a balanced attack,” Hornibrook said.
The front line will be backed up by a strong midfield and formidable defense. Junior co-captain Blair Corcoran and senior goaltender Lori Bluntinger anchor the defense for the Red. “The players have come together as a unit,” Hornibrook said. “They’re really buying into how we’re trying to play as a team.”
Both players and coach feel ready for the challenge they will face this weekend.
“We’d like to get the season started on a strong note and help establish the players’ confidence,” Hornibrook said. “They’re excited, they want to get on the field. They’re a hard-working, young team. They were disappointed last year, and they want to turn it all around.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer