One-on-One with Katie Spanos '20

by Andrew Wright | 9/21/18 2:10am

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In 2017, Katie Spanos ’20 earned a spot on the All-Ivy League Second Team.

Originally from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, Katie Spanos ’20 has helped lead Dartmouth field hockey to a competitive 3-3 start to the season, with wins over Ball State University, the University of Massachusetts and College of the Holy Cross. In a breakout 2017 campaign, Spanos was named to the All-Ivy League Second Team after leading Dartmouth in assists, goals and points. She has carried her momentum from last season into her junior year, leading the team in goals, points and shots, while starting every game thus far. The Big Green travel to Princeton, New Jersey on Saturday to take on No. 5 Princeton University in its Ivy League conference opener.

Why did you choose Dartmouth to continue your field hockey career?

KS: During the recruiting process, I was looking mostly at Ivy League schools because I knew I wanted a high level of academics while also playing competitive Division 1 field hockey. But what made Dartmouth specifically stand out was the unique setting in Hanover that I think no other Ivy location can compare to. It helped make Dartmouth become home very quickly freshman fall.

How did you get involved with field hockey when you were younger?

KS: I had always played soccer growing up and watched my older sister play field hockey. I used to say I would never try field hockey because I didn’t want to play a sport where I had to carry something around on the field, but my sister insisted I try out for the middle school field hockey team. It was definitely difficult at first, but once I started to get the basic skills I enjoyed it more and more.

How did you feel about your All-Ivy League performance in the 2017 season, and what goals do you personally have for yourself this season?

KS: It was definitely exciting to earn an All-Ivy Honor and I really appreciate my coaches thinking I was deserving and putting me into the mix for that. My goals for this year and any game are always what my dad tells me before each game: control what I can control, especially my effort level, and that will contribute to wins and improving our record. The individual stats are meaningful when contributing to our success, but what has been most exciting so far this season is the number of different scorers we have had in some of our games, which shows the depth of our players who can make key plays.

Heading into your third full season, what would you say has been the most memorable experience of your time on Dartmouth field hockey?

KS: One of the highlights during my time on the team is our win over UMass this season a couple of weekends ago. We knew they were ranked much higher than us going into it, but we talked about our grit and played as a team to lead us past them. That was one of the most well-connected games we have ever played and really showed the potential we have for this season.

What would you say are the goals for the team this fall, after a good 3-3 start?

KS: In the past two seasons here we’ve ended with a losing record, but we’ve started off fighting to stay at .500 every weekend this season so far. We are definitely capable of and aiming for a winning record this season overall. For conference play, Ivy League play is so volatile every year that any team that shows up to each game and plays well can earn an Ivy League title, so for every season that is the overall goal. But we are always just taking it one game at a time, focusing on Princeton this weekend.

The field hockey team only has 20 members, making it one of the smaller teams at Dartmouth. What would you say the dynamic of the team is like?

KS: Coming in my freshman year we were even smaller with only 17 players on the team, but I was grateful for such a small number because we bonded with every class almost immediately. With such a small team this year too, we spend so much time together at practices, team dinners and on bus rides that you really get to know all of your teammates well. We’re just a really tight-knit group that you know will always be there for you for anything field hockey or non-field hockey related.

What is your favorite part about playing field hockey?

KS: Playing field hockey or any sport is more fun when it’s rewarding, so seeing all of our hours in the off season coming together now and helping us win is really the reason that we play. Winning is definitely fun, but really my favorite part is the time spent on and off the field with my teammates who are my best friends.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.