Field hockey continues climb up national ranks
BY MIKEY BARNES
The historic year for the University of Mary Washington field hockey program continues, as the Eagles, led by head coach Lindsey Elliott, are off to an 8-3 start and are currently ranked 15th in the nation for Division III.
The program began on a 4-0 start as they found themselves climbing the ranks, but a two-game skid found them at 4-2 and dropping spots. They turned things around as they won three of their next four games and found themselves climbing higher in the Division III ranks, as high as their current rank of 15th.
In their last four games, the UMW field hockey team has outscored their opponents by totals of 28-7, with their one loss coming to the 20th ranked Messiah College. Senior Jenna Steele has led the team in the last five games with nine goals for herself.
Steele’s success of late was highlighted by her four-goal performance against York College, in which she also had one assist and broke the school record in goals, scoring her career 60th, in while surpassing the previous career high of 59 set by Jessica Morris during her career in 1998- 2001.
Senior and team leader in assists Carlee Budd provided Steele with the assist on the record breaking goal.
“Having Jenna be one of my first recruits and to watch her excel on the field has been a great experience as a coach,” coach Elliott said. “You always hope that you are recruiting talented players, but you never expect them to break records, but when you do, it is a memorable moment.”
With the four goals in the game and the assist, Steele moved to just 10 career points shy of second place all-time, behind Caitlin Baker’s career 140 points, who played from 2010-2013. Steele is now just 12 points shy of the first place Jessica Morris’s, who played from 1998-2001, career 145. Steele currently sits at 16 goals on the season, which is a new career high or her for a single season and is just 9 goals behind the season record, while six games still remain on the schedule.
The recent road win against York was the Eagles’ first Capital Athletic Conference game, giving them a 1-0 start in the conference. UMW is not the only CAC member that is currently ranked, as rival Christopher Newport is one spot ahead of the Eagles, currently sitting at 14th. Salisbury University is the highest rank team in the CAC, as they are currently ranked fourth in Division III field hockey.
Steele is not the only Eagle boasting an impressive season, as the goalie tandem of freshman Jessica Cavolt and Caroline Freeman is succeeding as well. Cavolt has a save percentage on the season of .778 and is allowing just over one goal a game. Freeman is having an impressive season herself, with a save percentage of .714, while also allowing just barely over one goal a game. The two have combined for 31 saves on the season while allowing just 10 goals.
Senior Kathleen Namey is having a final season to remember as well, as she is currently sitting at eight goals on the season, along with five assists, for 21 season points. The most impressive games on the season for the senior came in the season opener against Randolph-Macon where she had two goals and one assist, as well as the game Virginia Wesleyan where Namey had one goal and two assists, both big time victories for the Eagles.
For the Eagles to continue their success, Elliott said, “We just need to play as a unit, focus on our passing game, and be aggressive all over the field.”
The Eagles will be back in action Saturday, Oct. 10 at Wesley College. They will return home October 21 against the 14th ranked, rival CNU.