On Wednesday, Oct. 26, the field hockey team’s 2016 season came to an end in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Connecticut College. As the Wesleyan home crowd honored seniors Claire Edelman, Emily Hart, Colleen Lynch, and Lauren Yue prior to the start of their last game in a Cardinals’ uniform, there was a sense in the cold night’s air that the Cardinals, despite already having been eliminated from playoff contention, were ready to give it their all and send their four seniors away with one last win. The Cardinals did indeed give it everything they had throughout the contest, but after 70 minutes of play, they once again found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard, losing by the slimmest of margins. The team finished the season with an overall record of 2-13 and did not record a NESCAC win. While the Cardinals would like to have won more games, a season can never be solely defined by wins and losses.
“I am proud of my teammates,” Yue said following the match. “This year, I really felt like we all supported each other on and off the field. Emily Hart and I really wanted this team to feel like a family, and I think we definitely accomplished that.”
Whether the score was 0-0 or 4-0, and whether they were in the field or on the bench cheering, the Cardinals showed the same level of energy and dedication.
“The 2016 team has had the best energy of my four years here,” Hart said. “In the locker rooms, on the bus, on the field…everyone just gelled and got along and had a good time together.”
Despite having a respectable defense, the Cardinals continuously struggled to generate much offense throughout the season. Over the course of the 2016 campaign, the Cardinals were shut out nine times. However, they did start to find the back of the net in their last few games, scoring five goals over the span of their final three matches.
“By the end of our season, the team was definitely playing together better and generating more offensive play,” Hart said.
Goals are hard to come by when one is playing in what is arguably the most competitive DIII Conference in field hockey. There are currently seven NESCAC schools ranked among the top 20 teams in the nations, with three ranked in the top five. When constantly playing such competitive opponents, teams are forced to step up their quality of play, which is exactly what the Cardinals did throughout the season. Even when down, they never threw in the towel and always pushed their opponents until the final horn.
“Even if you are working hard and giving your best effort, sometimes things do not end up in your favor,” Yue said. “I think that this year was definitely a year to learn from, and it should make next year’s team work even harder this offseason to get in shape and be better next year.”
With only four graduating seniors, the Cardinals will retain a majority of their starting lineup, and will look to build on what they have learned from this season come next fall.
“The team will be returning a lot of players next year and will be able to keep the chemistry that we had by the end of the season going in to next year,” Hart said.
As for the highlight of the 2016 season, both Hart and Yue agreed it was the double overtime shootout win over Eastern Connecticut State University early in the season on Sept. 14.
“Eastern might have been the highlight of the season,” Hart said. “It was a pretty exciting conclusion.”
“The highlight of the season for us was probably beating ECSU in double overtime and a shootout,” Yue added. “It was a great game to play and we fought hard until the very end.”
Wednesday night’s loss marked the 60th game that Edelman, Hart, Lynch, and Yue played as members of the Cardinals squad. The four of them finished their career at Wes with an overall record of 15-45. However, memorable moments have taken place off the field as well.
“My favorite memories at Wesleyan as a part of the field hockey team are the bus rides,” Yue said. “Some are definitely long, but we would always find a way to entertain each other and get excited for the game we had coming up.”