The Wellesley College field hockey team, led by Head Coach Julia King, kicked off their 2018 season on Aug. 31 with a 3-1 win over Husson University. Since then, the team has had mixed success, with a 3-3 record overall. The Blue is 2-1 in games played at home.
The team from last season, now led by captains Arielle Mitropoulos ’19 and Cecie Negron ’19, is joined by four newcomers from the Class of 2022: Maddie Bettencourt, Hannah Birch, Caitlin Campbell and Julia Rappaport. During an interview Negron commented, “We have a young and talented team who have brought an incredible energy to the turf this season, and our closeness off the field has had a huge impact on our game. We have a really special group this year, which will give us a great opportunity to reach our goals.” Coach King highlighted the seniors’ promise, saying that the Class of 2019 “brings great leadership, commitment, and experience to the team and we are excited to see where that takes us!”
This season, the team plans to focus on smart field hockey and hard work. King wants to emphasize “a fast-paced passing game with a lot of support around the ball”on the offense and “relentless pressure with great second efforts” on the defense. Rappaport also spoke to the team’s desire to “play with confidence” and take full advantage of every opportunity. Their efforts may pan out. Last season, the Blue had an overall shot percentage–the percent of shots made that were also goals–of 0.140, which they have already improved upon in this season. The team’s shot percentage is 0.170 in only the first seven games. In their last conference game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Sept. 15, it was 0.429. It’s clear that the team is planning on steady growth and improvement. Mitropoulos remarked, “I have been so impressed by this team’s ability to bear down and take every day as a challenge that will make us better.” The team hopes that their hard work throughout the season will lead to success in later games, especially in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) post-season play.
The team also recognizes that trust is a crucial part of their cohesiveness. “We’ve been talking a lot about our identity and we want to be known as the hardest working team out there, with a lot of trust in each other,” King says. The team’s returners have welcomed and supported the Class of 2022, building a foundation of confidence and reliability. Rappaport, a first-year, noted that the players “have all been so welcoming by checking in with me and my three other first year teammates.” Mitropoulos also commented, “A new season is always so exciting because it represents a fresh start for any team. We really regard ourselves as a family.”
Field hockey’s regular season runs until Saturday, Oct. 27, the team’s Senior Day, when the Blue face off against Wheaton at home. Other games to watch for include Smith (Sept. 22), Mount Holyoke (Oct. 6), Springfield (Oct. 13), and MIT (Oct. 16), all of which are conference games.
Post-season conference play starts Oct. 30 and culminates at the NEWMAC Championship on Nov. 3. Wellesley field hockey is aiming for a spot and hopefully a title—their last NEWMAC win was in 2014, and their last time reaching the National Collegiate Athletic Association Elite Eight was in 2015.
The team’s next home game is Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11:00 a.m. against Clark. Wellesley fans are encouraged to come out and give support!