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Field hockey seniors lead the way
They are complete opposites. One’s weakness is the other’s strength. It’s Courtney Ryan’s honesty and Jackie Langenstein’s responsive attitude that makes them two of a kind.
The two seniors are best friends, three-year roommates, this season’s co-captains and are ready to lead the Quinnipiac women’s field hockey team through another memorable year.
“Jackie and Courtney are dream players,” said head coach Becca Main Kohli. “They perform all skills at an intense level, and they do it repeatedly.”
Ryan, a right midfielder from New Hope, Pa., views herself as a competitor. Coach Kohli said, overall, she is the team’s most talented player. Ryan can attack corners as a primary stick stopper, set-up assists on goals, and with her speed and game sense she can steer the offense in the right direction.
Langenstein, a left back from Rochester, N.Y., is the most consistent defender on the team. Kohli said with her long reach and defensive push on attack corners she can block anything. Langenstein’s level of conditioning and skills are critical components to the team’s success. She also dominates the defensive corner unit.
Last year the Bobcats closed their season with a record of 12-8, which is the best record in school history. The team won their second regular Northeast Conference season and played in their first NCAA tournament game against the University of California, before losing 5-1.
Even after last season’s loss of seven contributing seniors, the field hockey team has established themselves in the league.
“The seniors built a strong program for us. We’re a name that people know now,” said Ryan, an education major. “Losing seven seniors this season we are underestimated outside of the [NEC] conference.
“In conference it’s a new year, and no team should underestimate us. We have all improved,” she said.
Kohli said changes on the field hockey team have been huge since Ryan and Langenstein’s freshman year.
“We have become much faster and stronger because of the year-round competition,” Kohli said.
As a seven-year coach, Kohli said she has some expectations of the team, especially the four returning starters.
“I did want to see my veteran players take on a huge leadership and guidance role for the new freshman and sophomores,” said Kohli.
Her number one goal this season is to get the incoming freshman acclimated to the team’s style of play and to transition her players from man-to-man into zone defense.
The two co-captains have goals for the team as well.
“We need to take it step by step. We don’t want to overshoot ourselves,” said Ryan and Langenstein.
The two athletes hit it off on the very first day of tryouts. Ryan and Langenstein took one look at each other and became inseparable. Their friendship has provided a unique communication on and off the field.
“One advantage we have is that we know what one another is thinking,” said Langenstein, a health sciences major. “Sometimes I don’t even have to ask Courtney a question because I already know how she will respond to the situation.”
As three-year starters, Ryan and Langenstein have succeeded with their individual goals, and they have proven themselves to the team.
As of last year, Ryan is third in assists and fourth in scoring. In 2000, Ryan received First Team All-NEC honors. She was named Second-Team Mideast Regional All-American player during last year’s season.
Langenstein leads in defensive play. In 1999 and 2000 Langenstein received the Most Improved Player award. Last year she was named a Second Team All-NEC Defender.
As college graduation approaches in May, the captains will soon be ending their athletic careers at Quinnipiac.
Langenstein said she would like to coach high school field hockey in the future, while Ryan said she might help coach the Quinnipiac field hockey team as a fifth-year student.
“My goal was to play Division I field hockey, and since I’ve had that chance, I don’t have a desire to go any further,” said Langenstein.
Ryan attended a pro field hockey team tryout this past summer as a step toward playing the sport at a professional level.
“It’s a lot of hard work, and I have other things in my future to think about,” she said.
Ryan and Langenstein said this year’s team contributes something different from last years seniors.
“The seniors gave us character, confidence and strength on the field,” said Ryan. “But this year we use our body language and our sticks to communicate.”
“Together, as captains, we lead by example to show the team how we want things done,” said Langenstein. “So far, it has worked very well.”