Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Field Hockey Aims to Grow Following Early Losses

Photos courtesy of Amanda Phillips
Field hockey practice at the start of the semester.

Last weekend, Oberlin field hockey traveled to Earlham College to compete in an opening weekend tournament. On Saturday, in their first game of the tournament and the season, the Yeowomen lost 5–0 to Marian University. On Sunday, the Yeowomen came out strong to score the first goal against the Concordia University Falcons, although they quickly responded and gained the lead. The Falcons limited the Yeowomen to just one goal, resulting in a 3–1 win for Concordia.

Despite the early losses, athletes and coaches agreed that there were several positives from the team’s showing over the weekend.

“I am happy with the team,” Head Coach Jess West said. “I’m happy with their presence — how they came in, how they were positive throughout the weekend. As a team, they do gel well. They have a lot of skills that work with each other.”

First-year forward Ava Leone, who picked up her first collegiate starts over the weekend, agreed that the team’s attitude and mentality were highlights from the tournament.

“I think everyone wants to be there,” Leone said. “Everyone’s excited, so there’s no doubt in commitment. Everyone works very hard as a team, we just need to be able to glue it together.”

Susan Robinson-Cloete, a fourth-year forward who has started 19 out of her 20 career matches, enjoyed the team’s showing over the weekend. She was impressed by the team’s spirit and resolve through the toughfought matches.

“I was just really proud of the way that everybody held their own,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of good determination on our team. Now we just need to start focusing in.”

Robinson-Cloete was also pleased with the attacking momentum she saw from the team in the first part of the match against Concordia.

“It was the most offensive movement we’ve seen this early in the season from our team,” Robinson-Cloete said. “The last time I played [Concordia] was one of the worst losses in our program’s history, and to have been competing with them the entire time yesterday and convert on a corner was just awesome.”

First-year defender Zoe Eisen also mentioned that the beginning of the Concordia game was a highlight for the team. “The beginning of the second game, we did really well, and we scored the first goal for that game,” Eisen said. The team is looking forward to improving communication and positioning in order to ensure the most success in upcoming matches.

“Our biggest thing is just continued communication,” West said. “Communication is something that has to be practiced. If you don’t practice it, it’s always going to be difficult.”

Leone also discussed how productive conversations on the field will help the team improve their connectedness and speed of play.

“I think [our] growth as a team is that we have to communicate more,” she said. “We have to figure out where is the ball, where is the split, open up our eyes and just see the field because we have the potential. It’s all in front of us. We just have to use it.”

Leone was also sure to mention how the team’s bond and support of one another has helped her individually transition to college, in spite of the challenges on the field.

“I fit right in in a way, and I feel like the players and the seniors are all so welcoming, and they make you feel like you’re at home,” Leone said. “I think our chemistry as a team is great. We have a good sense of who can play what and who does what, but it’s just the fact of connecting it all together that we need to work on.”

Robinson-Cloete agreed, adding that the first-year class also brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team.

“They are so amazing and just really well-rounded,” she said. “I think each of them has individual strengths in terms of skills or how they are as teammates or the energy they bring to the team, and they all complement each other really well.”

Robinson-Cloete mentioned that since it was early in the season, the team is still getting used to positioning and working off one another. She was confident that as the season progresses, the positioning and chemistry of the team will improve, leading to positive outcomes.

“It’s pretty clear that everybody’s really intelligent and sees the moves they should be making,” she said. “Now it just comes to making sure we have enough practice playing in our positions.”

Altogether, West was confident that the team can overcome the challenges they faced over the weekend.

“It was simple little things that caused the goals that we can absolutely fix and move forward,” she said. “We just have some simple positional things that we need to continue to work on, which is to be expected.”

Robinson-Cloete talked about how the team has harnessed the underdog mentality this season.

“We’re underdogs in whatever space we step into. Whatever game we go into, we’re written off as an easy win,” Robinson-Cloete said. “It felt really good this weekend to score the first goal and have that mentality. If they want to write us off, it’ll just make the wins all that sweeter.”

Undeterred by the losses, the team is looking forward to competing in conference play. The team will take at Kenyon College Sept. 13 at Bailey Field at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed on Oberlin Sports Network.

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