The Goucher women’s field hockey team 2016 season ended with heartbreak and determination. But so far loss has only fueled their fire to come out stronger and more competitive than before.
Last year, after losing to Elizabethtown in the Landmark Conference semi-finals in the last few seconds, Head Coach Megan Williams set the standard high in the new season, in order to reach the semi-finals again this year, followed by the championship.
The Gophers kicked off their 2017 season against St. Mary’s of Maryland on Friday, September 1st. The game went into double overtime, followed by shootouts. Junior Maya Belin scored within the first 12 minutes to put the Gophers ahead 1-0. The Gophers held this lead into the second half until the Seahawks scored. At the end of regulation, the teams were still tied 1-1. During both overtimes, the Gophers fought hard to score a goal. But it was sophomore Megan Wells who kept the cage free of any game-winning goals for the Seahawks with a career-high 21 saves. With the teams still tied at the end of two overtimes and with the pressure mounting, the game went into 1 vs 1. Both goalies played a respectable game, blocking shots left and right, but in the end it was St. Mary’s who ended with the win.
Although the first game ended in a loss, there was something greater than field hockey that the team decided to fight for: Erin Field, a teammate during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Erin Field was involved in a life-changing accide
nt in early July, rendering her unable to return to school. The Gophers dedicated Sunday’s game against Johns Hopkins University to Erin and her battle to recover. As a talented athlete and a dedicated student, her absence has been felt dearly by the student body and the entire athletic community at Goucher.
With the sun shining bright this past Sunday afternoon, the women’s field hockey team played a fierce game against the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays, donning teal bracelets with the hashtag #LiveFearlessly. The bracelets and special video messages were available for friends, family, and fans to provide support for Erin. The crowd was dedicated to cheering on the team and Erin in her recovery. Some even painted “Erin #3” on their chests. The Blue Jays outshot the Gophers 34-9 at the end of the 4-0 loss on Sunday. But the Gophers don’t look down on the outcome.
When asked about the game, Coach Williams responded, “Hopkins exposed our weaknesses today and luckily we have the time to make adjustments.” In looking forward to the rest of the season, Coach was excited to say that, “the program is in a place where we can schedule tough out of conference opponents,” because playing harder opponents in the beginning of the season can only lead to a better outcome when the team heads into conference play on September 23rd, against Juniata College.
The team didn’t feel defeated either. Junior Jackie Juarez said, “It was a really special game for us as a team. We wanted to show our teammate and friend how much we love and support her in this difficult time. Even though we didn’t come away with a win, each one of us gave our all for Erin and we got the Goucher community together to show their love for her too and to me that was more important than any win.
“Erin is a tough girl who is attacking rehab just like she’s attacked other challenges–head on. We hope these messages bring a smile on her face,” Coach Williams said.
The Gophers were predicted to finish fourth out of eight teams in the Landmark. The team is determined to finish better than that in their effort to #LiveFearlessly. The field hockey team’s next home game is Sunday, September 30th, at 1:00 for PM vs. Susquehanna.