The Ursinus College Field Hockey team is among the most decorated programs in Ursinus Athletics.
The team has won five of the last eight Centennial Conference (CC) Championships since Janelle Benner took over as head coach, including a 4-year championship streak from 2013-16.
After a relatively disappointing season a year ago that resulted in an uncharacteristically early exit in the CC-tournament, the Bears remain optimistic and excited for the challenges of the upcoming season
“The most exciting thing about this season is the amazing potential we have to be great. We work well together and connect on and off the field,” Junior captain Erin Saybolt said,
The CC is regularly stacked with fierce competition.
“The most anticipated matchup of every year is Franklin and Marshall (F&M). They are our rivals and it is always a good game between us. We are determined to play them hard and earn the Centennial Conference Championship back!” said Saybolt.
F&M is looking to be a tough opponent, winning three games in a row to start the season.
Though the season only started recently, the team has already put in a lot of work.
“Out of season, we do workouts with the strength and conditioning coaches, Coach Hoffman and Coach Mike. We focus on agility, injury prevention and overall strength,” said Saybolt.
Ursinus’ class of 2022 contains many student athletes. Five of these newcomers are on the Field Hockey team.
“It is a lot coming to college and being thrown right into the season and having to balance athletics and school; however, the girls on the team have made it so much easier.
All of the upperclassmen care so much about how we are doing, and they have all been like older sisters to us. It has been a tough few weeks on my own for the first time, but it is all worth it!” said first-year player Jamie Mayer.
Off the field, the squad is very close-knit.
“I think that Ursinus College Field Hockey is more than just a sports team. Yes, we spend practices and games and long bus rides together, but we are such a close group outside of field hockey, too.
We eat meals together and help each other with schoolwork. Everyone wants to see each other succeed and do well on and off the field and that is something far different from my past experiences.“ said Mayer.
The Bears have played well, despite the results not being quite where they would want them. They were downed 3-1 at Rowan in the season opener on Sept. 1 and played a very tough match with nationally-ranked #2 Messiah on Sept. 5, losing to the 2017 Division III runner-ups and 2016 National Champions by the score of just 1-0.
Ursinus took their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 8 against William Smith College by the score of 4-0. They scored two goals in the first half via Saybolt and Mayer.
Sophomore Gabriela Howell led the offense in the second half, knocking in a shot off of a deflection from the goalkeeper.
Howell would later assist on the final scoring play, inserting the ball on a penalty corner that would be knocked in by Sophomore teammate Devon Carroll.
The Bears will McDaniel College on the road on Sept. 15 and will play their next home game on Sept. 22 in a homecoming matchup with Gettysburg College.