Strong start for field hockey squad: team now ranked 8th in the nation

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Courtesy/Luke Sugar

The field hockey team huddles up after a home win on Wednesday September 23.

Luke Sugar, Sports Editor

The Saint Anselm Field Hockey team is a NCAA Division II powerhouse, ranked at #3 in the nation. The Hawks are one of the most dangerous teams in the country. But they’ll have their hands full all season, fighting their way through a very tough NE-10 Conference.      

Head Coach Carolyn King-Robitaille leads the Hawks going into her 10th season. King-Robitaille has had an incredible career at Saint Anselm College, and the mark she’s left on this program is indisputable. Year in and year out she has the Hawks competing for an NE-10 championship. Under King-Robitaille, the Hawks have three NE-10 runner up finishes and an NE-10 championship in 2019. In 2019, the Hawks were also NCAA Division II national championship runner-ups. King-Robitaille is counting on her team captains to be the leaders for the Hawks this season. This year’s team captains are Senior midfielder Andrea McNeil, Senior back Jackie Gaumer and Senior back Maddison Lebeau.   

Maddison Lebeau talked about her coach, saying, “If she wants this one task done in practice, she splits it into parts. She pieces it apart and we will work on it until we reach our goal. She loves questions, and she always has an answer.”

Jackie Gaumer also added, “She is so knowledgeable on the sport and understands all aspects of the game. She’s a great teacher.”

The Hawks currently sit at 3-2 on the season. The team kicked off their 2021 campaign with a dominating 6-1 home victory against NE-10 opponent, Franklin Pierce. The Hawks kept rolling with a 4-1 win at New Haven and a 1-0 overtime home win versus Pace. The Hawks then dropped two extremely hard-fought losses on the road. The first one came in a heavyweight battle against #8 ranked and NE-10 foe, Stonehill. The Hawks narrowly lost 3-2. And the second was to #7 ranked East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania. The Hawks fought until the end in a very close 2-1 loss. The Hawks are one of the top forces in NCAA Division II and can clearly compete with anyone in the nation. They look to get back on track with a home match on Wednesday September 22 at 5pm against Saint Michael’s.

The group of student athletes on this season’s Saint Anselm Field Hockey roster is a special one. Junior forward Maggie Malloy mentioned, “Per usual I’m very impressed with everyone’s talent. What’s unique about this year is that we really only have one class with game experience. It’s cool because it gives some underclassmen the chance to fill some spots that might normally be filled by upperclassmen.”

“You can put aside your class because everyone is getting a fresh start. Every class is kind of starting from the same point. It’s nice having a diversity of classes playing in games. I think that will only make us stronger in the coming years,” Lebeau added.

The Hawks roster sports eight freshmen, seven sophomores, six juniors and seven seniors. This mix of experienced players as well as younger players is one of the Hawks greatest strengths.

“The class diversity is very important not only looking at this season, but looking at the program in general. I know personally when I was a freshman, I learned so much from the upperclassmen. It’s just such an important part of our program. Each year builds on the next,” Gaumer said. 

  During such a long season where there’s sure to be ups and downs, it’s important to keep a positive mindset. The Saint Anselm Field Hockey team always stays focused on their goals, keeps their composure and stays present in the moment.

“[Coach King-Robitaille’s] goal is that we learn and grow from all the mistakes we’ve made. She doesn’t try to look too far down the road,” Lebeau said.

“The philosophy we have as a team is that every single day all we can do is the best we can possibly do that given day. We believe as a team if you give everything you have each day, that’s going to be enough,” Malloy said.  

As this year’s Hawks team plays the opening stretch of its season, they’re starting to learn a little about themselves and find their own identity. 

“We’re capable of so much. This team has taught me that no matter what group you’re part of, you have to adapt to your role in that position and be the best you can be,” Gaumer said.

  Something we have been coming to terms with is we are not the 2019 national championship runner-up team. We’re our own team. We’re going to go through our own battles. Obviously it’s tough losing two games, but it’s helped us learn that the hard stuff we’re going through is what’s going to make us great,” Malloy said.