The Virginia Wesleyan Field Hockey team finished their 2021 season with a 4-10 record, marking their 15th losing season in a row. The season ended with Head Coach Christina Walker leaving her position after nine years. The team is starting to look into rebuilding and finding answers to this drought, as the search for a new head coach is among one of the goals.
Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Andrea Hoover-Erbig, got to briefly speak with Christina Walker about her recent resignation from head coach. “Coach Walker didn’t share a whole lot with me about her reasoning. She just resigned and shared that she would be moving on to work at Field Level, which is actually a recruiting platform for college athletics. She still has her hand in the collegiate athletics world, but she really didn’t share a whole lot with me other than that she was taking that job and ‘I’m moving on,’” Hoover-Erbig said.
Coach Walker led VWU Field Hockey to the ODAC tournament back in 2016, which has served as their best campaign as far as ODAC tournaments. The team knows that losing Christina Walker as a head coach will be a pretty sizable roadblock, but are ready to continue their push forward.
“Right now we are working on a search for our next Field Hockey Head Coach and I’ve met with the Field Hockey team several times. I believe we want to find a coach who’s going to lead them in a good direction and help build a more competitive program and continue to have a positive environment for our Field Hockey student athletes to be part of,” Hoover-Erbig said. Efforts to hire a new coach will continue through the spring semester, when the team also recruits for the 2022 season.
The beginning of the season was quite rough for Wesleyan Field Hockey, losing all four of their first starts. “The start of the season was just a little rocky with not everybody knowing how to communicate with one another, but apart from that it’s getting better,” first year player Suzzane McFetridge said.
The bulk of the Field Hockey team’s success was in the middle of the season when they won back-to-back games twice. Outside of that, VWU’s success was pretty short-lived in 2021. The team is hopeful to bring in some talented players for next season. “As a college coach, recruiting is huge. It is really the lifeblood of a program, to go out and identify student athletes who are going to come in and really be competitive with the players that you have and be competitive against your opponents. So recruiting is a big part of being successful as a college coach,” Hoover-Erbig said.
Though the team did struggle for a large stretch of the season, there is still optimism. “Oh, 100% I feel like we are going to develop as a team. Since this season, we started off kind of rocky, but I think we got really strong towards the end. We did a lot better than last season. So that was good. But I think there’s a lot of potential in this team,” McFetridge said.
The Field Hockey team’s lack of talking was a factor for the team’s losing and will be a talking point for next season.
“Communication and figuring out other players and how they play and for example, passing the ball, some people say, ‘right,’ or some people show up with their stick. So, I guess just finding out what each player does efficiently,” McFetridge said.
VWU’s Field Hockey program has been trying to move on to avoid this losing culture. Meanwhile, certain players know what the team needs to improve in. “I think one element we need to improve is believing in our abilities. I feel a lot of people think we aren’t as good as we are. So we doubt ourselves,” McFetridge said.
This challenge to break a now 15-year losing streak as well as the doubts the team faces will be quite the mountain for the next head coach to climb. Virginia Wesleyan Field Hockey will face the 2022 season with a new head coach, new recruits and the ambition to win consistently.