The Ursinus College Field Hockey team has enjoyed yet another successful season thus far, as it closed out the regular season with a record of 12-5 overall and 8-2 in the conference. This earned them a third place finish in the Centennial Conference standings.
Spending much of the season nationally ranked in the top-20 requires a team effort, of course, but among the leaders of the team is co-captain Bridget Sherry, who was chosen to participate in the annual National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Senior Game this year.
Only 60 seniors across the country are selected for the event, which will take place on November 17 in Manheim, Pa.
Ursinus head coach Janelle Benner said, “Each institution is allowed to nominate up to two senior athletes each year. Selections are quite competitive as they look at the whole body of work from the players’ freshman year all the way through their current senior year stats and awards.”
Sherry has proven to be a deserving participant in the event with her track record at Ursinus. She is already a three-time All-Centennial-Conference and all-region performer. The Bears have won two conference titles and appeared in the Final Four while she’s been a staple in the Ursinus lineup.
“Bridget is a team captain and has been a starting back for us since her freshman year. She brings energy, grit, and relentless effort for every play which I believe helps to motivate and inspire her teammates to do the same,” Benner said.
Sherry, a two-year captain for the field hockey program at Ursinus, has accumulated six defensive saves and established herself as the team’s penalty stroke sniper, converting eight of ten penalty stroke attempts.
Benner described what an honor it has been to be Sherry’s coach.
“It has been a pleasure coaching Bridget the past four years. She is a great athlete and has always demonstrated her passion to not only improve individually, but also to do whatever she can to help the team succeed.“
The Bears are no strangers to success. They have won 12 Centennial Conference Championships and “are looking to claim our 13th Centennial Conference Championship this year,” according to Benner.
They are also accustomed to having players represent the program in the NFHCA Senior Game, sending then-seniors Amber Steigerwalt and Aliki Torrence to the competition in Geneva, N.Y. in 2016.
Ursinus went undefeated at home this season, continuing to make Snell Field an unpleasant destination for opponents.
The Bears have a top-three ranking in the Centennial Conference playoffs which allows them to avoid a dreaded play-in game between the fourth and fifth seeds to earn the right to face top-seeded Franklin and Marshall in the postseason opener.
Instead, on Nov. 3, they will face Johns Hopkins, who defeated the Bears on Oct. 20, 2-0 in Baltimore.
If they win that game they will likely face Franklin and Marshall (F&M) in a rematch of an Oct. 6 matchup that the Bears would like to take back. They lost 3-2 in a wild sequence.
In the Oct. 6 game at F&M, the Bears lost on a final-minute goal by Erin Coverdale of the Diplomats. The Bears struggled in the first half but were fortunate to only be down 1-0 at halftime. Ursinus then dominated much of the second half of the game, scoring two goals and taking the lead from the Dips early in the second half. Both goals were scored by sophomore Devon Carroll for her sixth and seventh goals of the year, respectively.
F&M tied the game with five minutes left to play, and snuck in the go-ahead goal with just 33 seconds left in regulation to avoid overtime and win the game. Both goals came while Ursinus had players on the sideline because of penalties.
Overall, it has been a fantastic season for the Bears, who have two top-10 goal scorers in the conference in junior Erin Saybolt (13, 2nd in the conference) and Carroll (9, T-6th in the conference), as well as two top-10 Centennial players in the assist category, senior Mikayla Jordan (7, leads conference) and Carroll (6, T-2nd in Conference). Saybolt (29) and Carroll (24) are also second and fourth, respectively, in the conference in total points. Senior goalkeeper Jules Singer is third in the conference in goals-against per game (1.04).
The Bears are looking to bounce back from last year’s early exit in the playoffs and feel like they are poised to reclaim Centennial Conference supremacy this year.
“I feel that we have grown a lot throughout the season and are looking forward to continue growing in the playoffs,” said Sherry.
Junior Gemma Dufoe said, “As playoffs approach, we are going to take games one at a time and be ready to leave it all out on the field.”
Additional Reporting by Sam Rosenthal and Gabriela Howell.