By ALLY SCHUMACHER
It is that time of year again, the leaves are changing, students are roaming the campus and alumni are returning. While homecoming weekend is this week, some alumni converged upon battleground athletics complex, specifically the turf stadium, two weeks ago to play some field hockey against current Mary Washington students.
It has been a tradition for several years. “We try to have an alumni game between the current team and the alumni,” field hockey assistant coach Jenna Steele said.
While Mary Washington tries to have a student vs. alumni game every year, sometimes it is not able to happen, due to weather-related incidents.
“Last year’s alumni game was rained out, so we were unable to play,” said senior history major Jessica Cavolt.
Many players, past and present, have played in the alumni vs. student game, including goalie Jessica Cavolt, who played in it her sophomore year.
“It’s really a lot of fun because there isn’t any pressure but to just have fun,” said Cavolt.
As a student, assistant coach Jenna Steele, who graduated in 2016, played in the alumni game herself.
“[I am] really just hoping to have fun, not get hurt, and enjoy catching up with the alumni,” said Maura Flynn, Class of ’14. Flynn played on the field hockey team all four years at Mary Washington, and was co-captain her senior year.
Flynn also reflected on some of her favorite memories as a student at the University of Mary Washington.
“My favorite memory on the field hockey team was my junior year, when we upset Salisbury who was ranked number one. I’ll never forget that feeling during and after the game with my teammates. That season we went to the Final Four which was an amazing experience to share with that group of girls,” said Flynn.
The alumni game was extraordinarily close for the first two-thirds. Whenever one team scored, it was typically followed by the other team shortly after, particularly during the first two fifteen-minute periods. The alumni scored the first goal of the game in the fourth minute, quickly followed by the students in the seventh minute. In the twenty-second minute, the alumni scored, with the students tying it up just a minute later. In twenty-ninth minute, both the alumni and the students scored their third goal.
However, the alumni ultimately bested the students. In the thirty-eighth minute, the alumni scored their fourth goal, and then, quickly, their fifth goal. As the minutes ticked by, without a goal to narrow the score, the spectators grew more anxious. In the forty-first minute, the alumni were awarded a penalty shot. The spectators were also shouting words of encouragement, waving cardboard heads. The alumni scored on the penalty shot, their sixth and final goal. The students eventually came back in the forty-fourth minute, scoring their fourth and final goal.
After forty-five minutes, the students and the alumni exited the field, where they laid it all down. Both teams shook hands. That gesture is traditionally a forgiving one, after an acrimonious game. This time, it’s not the case, and it may not even be necessary, but it’s respectful, and it’s tradition. It is now time to hang out with former teammates and to catch up with them.
“I expect this game to be a fun game between both our current and former teammates. It’s always nice to see teammates that I have played with before and catch up because we are like a family and it’s nice to know that the sport initially brought us together has the power to bring us back together,” said Cavolt.