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Experienced Field Hockey squad looks to take next step, NCAA bid
After a solid 10-9 season (6-2 conference) in 2006, the Quinnipiac field hockey team returns to the field with high hopes this fall. If you ask senior captain Megan Dahle what the main goal is for the season, she’ll tell you plain and simple.
“I want to make NCAAs,” she says without breaking a smile.
As Quinnipiac’s athletic program continues to grow, so to do the expectations of each of its teams. Last season, the school opened up the Quinnipiac University Field Hockey/Lacrosse Turf Field.
In the field’s inaugural season, the field hockey team did not disappoint. They posted another winning record and qualified for the NEC tournament once again.
But with another year of experience under their belts, head coach Becca Kohli and her squad hopes to make some more noise in the conference.
“It all starts with confidence,” says Kohli of her team. “It takes little baby steps to get to where we want to be. Each year, I catch myself saying that this is the most talented team I’ve ever coached. We’re ready to compete with the top teams.”
Kohli is now in her 13th season as head coach of the Bobcats. She has seen the team grow into a Division I team that can contend with the best the East Coast has to offer.
Through five non-conference games this season, the Bobcats are 1-4. But when playing against the likes of Northeastern (2-1 loss) and top 25 schools Boston College (3-1 loss) and Boston University (8-1 loss), you can only look at these games as learning experiences.
“We always schedule games against tough opponents to begin the season,”Kohli says. “It gives each player a positive experience and the vision to look to the future. When we look at the scoreboard in these games and we’re close to a great team, it shows the girls that we really are meant to be here.”
This year’s team is a mix of older and younger girls that hope to develop as the season moves along. Coach Kohli has praised the play of her midfielders so far this season and hopes to see continued success from all of her players.
“The age or the experience of the players isn’t as important as the way the players blend together,” Kohli says. “Each player develops throughout the season and gets a chance to show what they’ve got.”
So far, the team has been lead from the back. Junior goalkeeper Jenna Grossman has been a stalwart in the net, earning herself NEC Player of the Week honors for her performances against Boston College and Columbia, where she stopped 12 shots (including all of the shots in the stroke-off) in a memorable triple-OT thriller.
The defense has been frustrating offenses all season, being lead by senior captains Dahle and Shannon Whittemore, with big contributions from junior Brandy Longacre and Lauren Hartnett. Junior midfielder Christine Grady leads the team with three goals. Freshman Tina Watkins has also seen regular time on the field.
An experienced core of forwards includes senior captains Jennifer Kinchla, Ann Marie Mangano and Jillian Carroll. The veteran group hopes to continually lead the team offensively.
“We need to start finishing everything,” says Dahle. “Our shots, our corners, our games in general. We will as our confidence grows.”
This strong group of veteran players will look to get back on the right track with games against Maine and Hofstra before diving into conference play against rival Rider on Sept. 23.