Team captains, offseason work push field hockey

Jeff Russ

Freshman Nicole Leach attempts to take control of the ball away from a Delaware opponent during Saturday’s field hockey game. The Flashes lost 3-2. CAITLIN PRARAT | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

A more team-oriented field hockey team returns to Kent State this season.

This off-season, coach Kathleen Schanne said the staff has spent its second season focusing on becoming a more cohesive unit.

“We worked hard in the off-season to really focus on performing as a team,” Schanne said. “Everything we do, working harder, running faster, is for the better of the team.”

She said off-season training pushed her team to its physical limits, both mentally and physically.

“We worked a lot on their speed and strength,” she said. “The coaching staff created a training package that all the girls had to complete this summer because we want to be ready to play field hockey.”

The players thought the training package was tough, but most players said it helped them come back to Kent State in top shape.

“It helps you stay motivated in the summer,” senior Caitlin MacKenzie said. “I think having that fitness package gives us a leg up on our competition and allows us to get that much closer to our goals.”

MacKenzie is one of five seniors on this season’s roster.

“They bring a lot of experience to this team,” Schanne said. “They are the strong core that keeps this team together.”

Their teammates named MacKenzie and fellow senior Charlotte Muller the team captains. The younger players say the two girls have done a lot for them already this season.

“The captains are very motivating,” freshman midfielder Stephanie Arbelaez said. “They are always encouraging us to work harder and play together. They are the ones who make the team go.”

With nine freshman, coach Schanne said it is important to get the young players to mesh with the experienced players. The captains’ team-oriented attitude has made a potentially difficult situation easy.

“Every successful team has ownership,” Schanne said. “Being a captain requires the ability to communicate to the team, not just socially, but also communicating what we as team want to accomplish. These girls do a good job because they understand our vision.”

MacKenzie knows the responsibility that comes with being named a captain.

“As a senior, you have to welcome the freshmen with open arms,” she said. “We have to get to know them too, we have to learn their strengths and weaknesses because it is all about the team.”

She said she was happy to be named captain but said it is just a label.

“Just because you have the label doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “You still have to work hard. This is a total team effort among all the seniors.”

MacKenzie and Muller’s ability to communicate with each other is also key to the team’s mentality.

“If there is an issue or a problem we talk to each other before talking to the team,” she said. “We know we do not have a problem talking to the coaches either because it is about open communication.”

The coach said MacKenzie leads with her voice and Muller leads with her physical abilities.

“Charlotte’s a machine,” Schanne said. “Her motor never stops and both she and Caitlin are really

hard workers.

“You can see the way the younger girls look up to these two,” she said. “They are two of the most selfless players I’ve ever seen, and it is showing in their teammates.”

The team has already played two games, falling 3-2 to Bucknell and 3-2 to Delaware last weekend in Columbus. The team spends most of the first month on the road, including a trip to Philadelphia this weekend to face Lock Haven and Temple. Schanne likes that the team gets its long trips early in the season.

“Columbus is so close, and those games took place before the season started,” she said. “And now we’re in Philadelphia for Labor Day, so we will not miss any school.”

Contact sports reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].