September 23, 2004

Corcoran Relishes Role as Red's Leader

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Blair Corcoran never thought she would make it this far.

“This has been my dream, to play college field hockey, all my life,” said the junior co-captain. “I want to make the best of it.”

If making the best of it means tireless enthusiasm and bottomless hustle, then Corcoran is living up to her goal.

“Blair is a player that just never stops,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook at the beginning of the season. “[She] has a strong sense of what is right and wrong, and really encourages her teammates.”

Corcoran has worked hard to get where she is.

“Freshman year I played one game,” she said. “I pulled a hip flexor in preseason and I was told I was too slow to play.”

But instead of accepting a role on the sidelines, Corcoran was determined to earn a chance to prove herself on the field. The summer after freshman year, she pushed herself to the limits to get in the best shape possible.

That work ethic paid off and has continued to characterize Corcoran’s three seasons at Cornell.

“My greatest success is being where I am,” Corcoran said. “College has been the time of my life.”

College has just gotten better for Corcoran over the years. Her sophomore year, the new and improved Corcoran made 15 starts in the backfield for the Red. She also notched her first varsity goal against Yale.

This year, in her junior campaign, she has emerged as a driving force in the Red’s new system under Hornibrook.

Corcoran anchors the Red’s defense, providing enthusiasm and motivation in the toughest situations. She is a key player, depended on to start the attack from the back and use her versatility to help the Red up and down the field. Her versatility shows through in her statistics; despite playing a defensive position, Corcoran has notched three assists so far this season.

But she feels the secret behind her success has more to do with the team than with her personal abilities.

“The reason I came here was because I felt really comfortable with all the girls,” Corcoran said. “It’s pretty easy to be positive in a positive situation. I try to be enthusiastic and direct the defense and get people to keep the holes closed on the pressure system.”

Corcoran’s leadership and hard work are valued by her teammates, who elected her as this season’s co-captain.

Her unusual talents are reflected in her role as captain, as she is the first junior to fill this role for the Red since 1995.

“I have no idea why,” Corcoran said of the team’s vote. “I was shocked and honored. I want to make sure everyone has a positive experience, the same as I have. I want them to feel confident and play to their full potential.”

Corcoran is confident the team is on its way to realizing its full potential this weekend against Yale. The team is currently on a four-game skid, but Corcoran knows the Red has made it through situations worse than this.

“We had our worst season last year,” she remembered. “It was a big learning experience — how to pick each other up and make it through to the next game. We’ve had trouble getting the ball out of the backfield the last couple of games, but we’ve done a lot of work. We’re working on trusting each other.”

If Corcoran’s contagious work ethic and determination is any indication, the Red can only improve.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer