Field hockey gears up for fall season

As fall term approaches, the field hockey team prepares for a season of improvement. Head Coach Mark Egner, Bronwyn Bird ’24 and Payton Altman ’24 sat down to discuss the team’s goals.

by Lanie Everett | 8/19/22 2:00am

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Source: Courtesy of Payton Altman

On Sept. 4, Dartmouth field hockey will travel to Orono, Maine, to compete against the University of Maine for its first game of the season. After a disappointing 4-13 record last season and an 0-7 record in the Ivy League, in part due to the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – which meant that most team members were playing in  their first collegiate games – this season offers a fresh start.

Field hockey head coach Mark Egner said that although the team had some successes during the 2021 season, they were still left with a feeling of “almost,” not quite reaching the goals they had set out to achieve.

Dartmouth field hockey’s 2021 offensive player of the year, Bronwyn Bird ’24, also said that the team had a difficult time adjusting to the competitiveness of collegiate play last season.

“Obviously we didn’t get the results that we wanted, but I think that it was really good, as we had a new coaching staff coming in … and then 50%of our team coming in [had] never played in an Ivy League game,” Bird said.

However, Bird and Egner both expressed that the team’s lack of experience last season inspired  them to make significant strides during the offseason. Team member Payton Altman ’24 said she thinks the team’s hard work over the winter and spring will pay off. 

“I’m really excited about the season and our growth as a program,”' she said. “We had a successful spring training, and I’m looking forward to how that develops into the fall.” 

Egner also mentioned that post-COVID-19, the team has dedicated time to creating a strong culture.

“If you are going to do difficult things, you want to be able to trust the people around you,” Egner said. “I think [that] over the last 12-18 months, there has been a real investment in developing meaningful relationships and putting that work in across the classes.” 

In terms of strategy for the season, Egner said the team is focusing on lowering the number of conceded goals and strengthening defensive plays. Although Egner said the team gave up relatively few goals last season given the team’s history, he thinks they can do better.   

Bird said the Big Green has also focused on maintaining a positive mindset even when faced with challenges during play. 

“We’re working on our mental recovery, after maybe giving up a goal or having a fast break against us, to get our morale back up to attack again,” Bird said. 

Egner said the team is also looking forward to the Field Hockey Ivy League Championship, which will take place for the first time in 2023. The top four teams in the Ivy League will compete for the trophy. 

“We’re aiming to really get some wins on the board for the Ivy League, continue to develop on these things we have been working on as a team and come out with a record we can all be proud of,” Egner said.  

Dartmouth field hockey is currently in pre-season preparing for its upcoming games. The Big Green welcomed five new recruits from the Class of 2026 as well as assistant coach Tanner Ridgely and volunteer assistant coach Jen Callahan for the upcoming 2022 season. The team was recently selected to finish eighth in the Ivy League Preseason Poll. 

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