The Stevenson University field hockey team has hopes of winning the 2016 conference championship and heading to the NCAA tournament. “It’ll be a challenge,” coach Laurel Martin said. Coming off of a 14-10 record last season, the Mustangs hope to improve upon that with a strong core of upperclassmen as well as 10 newcomers.
“They have great personalities and a strong level of athleticism. They bring everything to the table. I’m very pleased with this recruiting class,” Martin said about the 10 new additions to the team. “The upperclassmen embrace them fully.” In their season opener at Lynchburg College (Va.), the Mustangs were defeated in a close overtime game, the score was 2-1. The following week at Mustang Stadium, the team fell 5-1 to Salisbury University, a team ranked No. 7 in Division III.
“We have a hard working group of girls with good skill. We’ve had good results,” Martin said. The team is beginning their season with a 1-2 record, with a 2-1 Sept. 10 victory against Washington College, to whom they lost 4-0 last season.
“We aren’t really doing too much differently; it’s a process of just securing the right type of student athlete for our program and sharpening the skills,” said Martin. “It takes years of skill development to be strong in the sport. We’re getting to the level where our skills are stronger just because of repetition and hard work.” With their strongest opponent being Messiah College, the Mustangs hope that this will be the year that they can secure a win against the Eagles. “They’ve been the top dog around here for as long as I can remember,” Martin said. “To date we have not been truly competitive with them.”
The team is already looking forward to next summer, when they will travel to Barbados for pre-season training. Martin said that it will be great opportunity for the team to play multiple games against Barbados’ national and junior national team before beginning the season. “It’s just a great opportunity to bond and to see a different part of the world.”
The team returns to the field at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, where they will play against Shenandoah.