by Alexis Platt
The night before the big day, ice baths are taken, jerseys are hung up next to lockers and athletes are eager for the opening games of their season. And even though no one’s popping champagne, Athletic Director JoAnne Renn compares the excitement of the night before a new season opener to that of the excitement that surrounds the start of a new year.
“August 25th, Sunday night, is like New Year’s Eve to me. It’s always the night before classes, and the excitement level for fall sports is off the courts,” said Renn. “My August calendar is my January for the start of a new year.”
This weekend, Women’s Field Hockey started off its season with a Division III tournament held on campus. The Marlins opened up with a 6-0 win over Ferrum College, but unfortunately came up one goal shy to Mary Washington, the 16th team in the nation. “The Marlins played a good game against Mary Washington, [and] showed that they were someone to reckon with,” said Renn.
“It’s still early, but this season I feel that the girls have really displayed a lot of commitment and success so far. One of the most cohesive groups I’ve had in all my coaching career, and since day one of preseason they have bought it, since day one,” said Field Hockey Head Coach Christina Restivo. “This weekend was able to adjust to the press Mary Washington was playing, but our strength was our relentlessness to power through, give-and-go passes up and down the sideline in and out. We played really good as a team. Attacked well together, played a little bit of too much defense against Mary Washington, but that’s what happens when you play the 16th team in the nation.”
Star players were all over the field, with collaborative effort by everyone, but Lindsey Baker and Daniel Benn came up with huge defensive stops. Benn received the Mighty Duck Award, for the most relentless, tenacious player on the field. The players are off to a great start this season, working and focusing hard every game so that they will be holding up an ODAC trophy at the end of their season.
Women’s Soccer was off to a great start this weekend, as well. The ladies started off the weekend defeating DeSales University’s very aggressive team from Pennsylvania. Although they fell short to Emory, a team from Georgia ranked 11th in the nation, they played with great work ethic and passion.
“I as an individual help lead my team through our motto, which includes grace, humility and servant leadership, as well as training and practicing my hardest every day to become the best player I can be in order to help my team be the best we can be as a unit,” said junior Kerry Knauss.
“This weekend we worked together well as a team. We communicated better than we ever have before. The communication on the field is what helped up to connect passes and get the ball in the back of the net. We also recovered for one another and helped out each other in the field to win 50/50 balls,” junior Kristen Cherry said.
Unfortunately, right now the ladies are missing a few key players that play a huge role on this team. “We try and focus on who is playing now and not about the things that are out of our control,” Cherry said. “Missing Jasmine Dao and Kaitlyn Clunan this season is obviously something that is extremely unfortunate, but we as a team are going to strive throughout this whole season to be positive.”
This season, Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jeff Bowers has switched up a few things to help the ladies go on a run for an ODAC championship.
“Coach Bowers is an amazing coach. We are currently playing in a new formation, but these past three weeks he has done everything to make sure that we are comfortable with our new roles. His tough-love approach is something that we as a team like and know everything he does is only to makes us better on and off the field. He has dedicated so much time into this program, and now we have to reward him by winning games,” Cherry said.
Cherry let it be known that last season was a learning season for the team. “We were an extremely young team and needed to grow not only as a team, but as individuals as well. We weren’t able to accomplish everything that we intended to but it helped us learn and experience adversity,” Cherry added.
“Our team goals are focusing on each individual’s game but all working up to the same goal as winning an ODAC championship,” said Knauss.
So keep an eye out for both your Marlin Women’s Field Hockey and your Marlin Women’s Soccer as they work hard and make their runs to add a few more ODAC championship trophies to the trophy case.