Photo courtesy of CastletonSports.com Junior Gabriella Hunt brings the ball up the field.
Following a very impressive 2018-2019 season where they went 15-5 overall and 11-1 in Little East Conference play, the field hockey team is looking to embrace a new identity.
With previous head coach Christine Kemp leaving the program to coach at Wesleyan University, Castleton University Athletic Director Deanna Tyson brought in Charlotte MacDonald to take the reins of the successful program.
And MacDonald is confident the success can continue.
“The team established a bit of culture in the direction we want to go,” MacDonald said. “Anytime there is a transition, there’s a little bit of that loss in leadership, as I’m coming in, so we’re just getting everyone to step up and establish the expectations that we want for this year, but also for the legacy they want to leave behind (for) long-term success as well.”
That culture change is going to come from a new mantra that the players and coaches are looking to adopt and put into their gameplay.
“We really focus on a ‘we, not me’ mentality,” MacDonald said. “This is what the team needs me to do… and the team has been really receptive to it.”
For junior midfielder Gabby Hunt, this season is a sort of revenge tour, as she and her teammates look to avenge their loss in the LEC championship game last season.
“I feel like we had a great season last year and accomplished a lot, but I can’t help but feel like there is some unfinished business since we weren’t able to obtain the win,” Hunt said.
The team will be guided by the leadership of its three captains, senior Cydney Jeffrey senior Madison Langey and junior Loretta Blakeney.
“I think our three captains have done an incredible job with their mentorship and their leadership in terms of where we want to go with our culture,” MacDonald said. “Cyd definitely embodies a lot of where want this program to go… Loretta is loud, and she brings a lot of energy with that. Maddie has a little bit more of a quiet leadership, but she performed best on our fitness test.”
So far, however, the team is 1-2 on the season, with an impressive 8-0 shutout against Suny Morrisville and two tough losses to Union College and number one ranked Middlebury College. Their next game is at Dave Wolk Stadium on Sept. 14 against conference opponent Bridgewater State University
“Each and every one of us comes to practice every day, knowing we have to put in work if we want to be an elite team,” Hunt said. “I think the biggest thing we need to focus on is executing our plays. We have great strategies, we just need to put them into game play and do them right.”