With only eight players returning from last year’s squad, Cornell’s field hockey team will need to pull together under some strong leadership in order to post a winning record. While head coach Donna Hornibrook has already made tremendous progress, she will look to her senior co-captains for additional help.
This season, seniors Blair Corcoran and Natalie Serle will step up to lead a team that just added 14 freshmen to its lineup. With three-fourths of the squad in its first or second year of collegiate play, the co-captains have to prepare the younger players for immediate time on the field.
“We need to acclimate the [younger] girls,” Serle said. “Without them we are not a team, and [right now] we need to bring the whole team together.”
Serving as guides for so many underclassmen may prove challenging at times, but both Corcoran and Serle have seen it done well in the past. The seniors remember their experience three years ago as freshmen and use it as an example of good leadership.
“We had a really good experience when we were freshmen,” Corcoran said. “The seniors really took us under their wings.”
And the co-captains’ job does not end once the freshmen are acclimated. Along with helping the team adjust to the loss of graduating players and the addition of new ones, Corcoran and Serle must also serve as the team’s motivators.
“We have to be positive and encourage [the team],” Corcoran said. “We also [try to] build confidence.”
With such a young team, Corcoran and Serle continue to set the standard and teach the freshmen about expectations during practice and games.
“[The senior captains] have excellent character and are a great example of a good work ethic, discipline, and unselfishness,” Hornibrook said. “They’re also good role models.”
Both in their fourth year with the Red, Corcoran and Serle have already served as key contributors to the team. Corcoran, in her second year as team captain, recorded five assists last season, along with a pair of saves. Serle remains as the team’s only three-year letter winner. Last year, she had three assists and two defensive saves.
This year, the pair has gotten the Red off to a strong start. The team split their first two games with a decisive 5-2 victory over Lehigh and a tough 2-1 loss at Lafayette.
“We did well at the first game,” Serle said. “[I think] we got the jitters out.”
The leadership provided by both Corcoran and Serle was certainly felt during the team’s first weekend on the road. As best friends since freshman year, the co-captains have had time to develop an approach of leading by example.
“We try to show leadership though our actions. We show intensity where necessary and illustrate the expectations,” Serle said.
With the team only going into its second weekend of regular play, it is certain the motivation of Corcoran and Serle will become more intense as the season progresses.
As leaders, the pair has already made an impression on the rest of the team.
“They’re super and quite the duo,” said sophomore Lizzie Goldblatt. “They’re very good. They work hard and work off each other and are [also] fun to be around.”
Archived article by ristina Kovach
Sun Staff Writer