Peter Rock ‘23

Sports Writer

Group effort: Members of the field hockey team huddle up to strategize next moves. Team communication has been a key focus under the new coaching regime. Photo courtesy of  Tim Cowie

With the heart of A-10 play approaching, Field Hockey is poised to ignite a winning streak. Under the leadership of new Head Coach Zoe Almquist, the ‘Cats look to work their way up in the A-10 rankings. 

The team has their work cut out for them after facing challenging matchups at the start of the season, and hopes to finish the regular season strong. The team has only one tally in the win column, but have found themselves in many more close games. Of their nine losses, four have been decided by only one point.

A new head coach has allowed the Wildcats to take a step back and refocus after graduating six seniors last year. Coach Almquist has placed a heavy emphasis on being patient and doing things the right way, worrying more about progress than wins: “We’re touching every single step on the path to success and winning is the last thing that falls into place when you’re doing everything else right along the way.”

Coach Almquist was involved in the Northwestern field hockey program for seven years, first as a player and then as an assistant coach. In that time, Northwestern went from finishing last in the Big Ten Conference to winning back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 2013 and 2014. Coach Almquist feels that this gave her a “roadmap for taking a team that’s at the bottom of its conference, and working until it’s sitting at the top.” 

Zooming in on the A-10, the ‘Cats have matched well with teams, but haven’t yet punched in a win. Of their three A-10 games so far, Davidson has gone into overtime twice. In their second A-10 game, the Wildcats put the pressure on Lock Haven, the team currently leading the conference, in a game that ended with a shootout. Lock Haven scored in the first quarter and maintained the lead until the last three minutes of the fourth. With a pulled goalie, the ‘Cats managed to score and hold on to the tie, forcing overtime. Davidson held Lock Haven off during overtime, racking up eight saves. Lock Haven went on to win the game in a shootout.

Sophomore midfielder Chloe Appleby ‘22 can tell the team is ready to finish out A-10 play strong. Appleby says the team is focusing on getting more shots on net and converting on offense. The ‘Cats call it “blood in the water” when they can catch their opponents on their heels and get the ball in the back of the cage. Part of what makes this possible, according to Appleby, is an emphasis on film 

“We’re doing a great job scouting other teams. We know their best players, we know their formations, how they set up on corners. 

We’re more aware of the teams we’re playing.” 

Looking ahead, the ‘Cats are excited about a young core and a big freshman class. Appleby is excited to see the team develop, and is glad the coaching staff have “given the team confidence, and have allowed the freshmen and underclassmen to play a lot. Our freshmen are incredible.” There are seven freshmen and four sophomores on the team this year. 

The Wildcats have five conference games left this season, and hope that scouting and offensive intensity start to pay dividends.