Field hockey team earns two back-to-back wins before tough loss

by Becky Brownell | 10/9/17 2:05am

After somewhat of a slow start, the Dartmouth field hockey team (4-6 overall, 1-2 Ivy) has shown tremendous promise after picking up their first Ivy League win of the season against Brown University on Sept. 30. In a grueling, nearly four-hour long battle with several lightning delays, overtimes and shootouts, the Big Green managed to come away with a 3-2 victory.

“It was an unbelievable game from start to finish and probably the longest game I’ve ever been a part of,” head coach Amy Fowler said.

Goalkeeper Hailey Valerio ’19 had a particularly strong game, fighting through two overtime periods and two shootouts to help Dartmouth to the conference victory in one of the longest games in recent memory.

“It was such a long game, and shootouts are so mentally tough,” Valerio said. “But I just got really in the zone and knew that no matter what I was going to give it my all and leave it all out on the field.”

Fowler had high praise for her goaltender’s performance in the Brown game and throughout the season thus far.

“[Valerio] has really stepped her game up,” Fowler said. “She’s been battling out there and has done an excellent job proactively breaking up plays, which has been so big for us.”

Notably, Valerio has played every game minute of the season thus far and received the Brick and Brew Athlete of the Week award for her stellar performance.

The Big Green overcame a few serious setbacks in the game, with top scorer Katie Spanos ’20 taking a head injury in the first few minutes and needing to step off the field. Despite missing its top scorer, Dartmouth was able to eventually push through when Kira Koehler ’21 finally scored the winner in the seventh round of the second shootout.

“The team had to bounce back from missing [Spanos] up there on attack, but the freshmen really stepped their game up and somehow we were able to get the win,” captain Morgan Philie ’18 said.

The new class of seven first-years makes up a third of the field hockey team’s 21-player roster, with most of them seeing a fair amount of playing time and performing remarkably well. Lia Constantine ’21 received Ivy League Rookie Player of the Week for her performance in the games against Brown and Fairfield University on Sept. 27.

“The freshmen have really hit the ground running and are getting a ton of playing time on the field,” Fowler said. “They’ve really provided the team with a lot of depth and quality of depth, which has been such an improvement from last season.”

Having already won as many games as they won all of last season with seven left to play, the field hockey team is performing at a much higher level than last year.

“This team’s depth has been the greatest difference from last year, and the freshmen have really provided some great new energy,” Spanos said.

Fowler also had high praise for the team’s leadership under Philie and assistant captains Sarah Tabeek ’18 and Anna Ewasechko ’18.

“The leadership across our senior and junior class has been very strong this season,” Fowler said. “They are working incredibly hard to end up with a winning record.”

A youthful team led by strong senior leadership, a consistent goaltender and a general sense of optimism among the team are all promising signs of a successful season underway. When asked about key upcoming match ups, Philie remarked that the team plans to take every game seriously and that it is looking forward to the Ivy League games at the end of the season.

“We’re taking it one game at a time and as our coach always says, we have to treat every game as the most important one, because it’s the only one we have control of,” Philie said.

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The team expressed great excitement with its recent turnaround. Although the team suffered a tough loss 3-0 at the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, it hopes to build off its momentum throughout the rest of the season. Its next game is away at Yale University on Saturday, Oct. 14 at noon.