Fall sports preview: A sneak peek at field hockey

With a new head coach at the helm, field hockey has high hopes for season


The 2015 Field Hockey team was ranked 4th overall in the ODAC’s pre-season poll. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Alex Niemann

The women of the Washington and Lee field hockey team are not willing to settle for its pre-season ODAC rank of fourth. In fact, they aim to take the conference title this year.

“We’re excited this year,” Captain Charlotte MacDonald, ‘16, said. “Our new head coach, [Gina Wills], has really done a lot with our team, so we’re looking pretty strong this year. We’ve got a strong freshman class.”

Much of W&L’s success on the field this season will depend on the performance of the team’s younger players, the first-years and sophomores who take up 11 of the 18 spots on the roster.

Some of the rookies have already seized their chance to shine. Haley Tucker, ‘19, scored both of W&L’s goals to lift the team past Washington College in a 2-1 victory Oct. 9.

“For almost half of our team, this is their first season playing for us, but they all did a great job coming in really fit from summer workouts,” MacDonald said. “They came in really strong and really adapted to our program.”

W&L also enjoys the return of a few star players, including MacDonald, Third Team All-ODAC midfielder Kendall Peterson, ‘17, and the team’s leading scorer from the 2014 season, forward Maggie Waxter, ‘17.

“They have an understanding of the teams that we play and how we can be successful in playing those teams,” First-year Head Coach Gina Wills said. “They’ve also done a great job of bringing everyone along, helping set the tempo in practice, and creating a competitive practice environment that will help us be successful in game situations.”

Although expectations are high, W&L hasn’t got- ten off to an explosive start thus far. The team lost three of its first five games to non-conference opponents.

However, it will have a chance to prove itself very soon. October brings an abundance of ODAC opponents, each looking to take one more step toward the conference title.

W&L will be thrown straight into heated competition with its first ODAC game on Oct. 3 against nine-time defending conference champion, Lynchburg.

“We’re going to need to come out and play hard and aggressive,” MacDonald said. “When we do that, we are really strong and hard to beat and other teams do struggle playing against us. As long as we execute, we’ll be able to take them down.”