Fielding a Perennial Championship Team
William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist
On Apr. 18, 2021, the University of Lynchburg Women’s Field Hockey Team won its third ODAC championship in a row and won its 21st ODAC championship overall.
Head Coach Enza Steele expressed how happy she is that her players were rewarded for persevering through adversity, stating, “I think we were in a year that contained a lot of adversity. Hopes were shattered, plans were destroyed, and dreams were crushed. Then, there was a little bit of light when the ODAC conference allowed fall sports to be played in the spring. I was happy that we played some games. We had a total of 10 games while in a usual season we would have had 19. We had to be cautious during practice every day in order to play. I think our dedication to our favorite sport paid off. It would have been easy for so many girls to have an attitude of this season not being worth it. However, these girls showed their passion for their favorite sport.”
Steele expressed how much it meant to her and her players to host two tournament games with many fans attending, stating, “I believe home teams have so many advantages. Home teams have their own locker rooms and have breakfast together. Hosting these two tournament games against Shenandoah and Washington and Lee, respectively, allowed everyone on campus to unite and support their Hornets. On Friday night, the atmosphere was electric. There was just a wall of people. The people were hollering, yelling, and shouting which made the girls pumped. We were extremely fortunate to have the fans and host two games at home. Our fans gave us the necessary edge. Our fans are awesome and are beyond words. Field hockey is not a sport that many people play in high school, but when our fans come out, they support their peers and bring energy.”
Emma Strouse, a senior and captain, expressed how she feels about ending her career with a victory, stating, “I am absolutely thrilled. You always end on a loss unless you win the NCAA which is extremely hard to do. Since we did not have the NCAA tournament, our last game was a win which is a great feeling.”
Also, Strouse expressed gratitude to her fans, stating, “It was nice to have many fans. We perform a lot better when fans come to our games. We have not had fans due to the coronavirus but having fans for our last two games boosted our morale.”
Alex Rebman, a senior and captain, wants for the freshmen and sophomores on the team to continue to work hard, stating, “I think I want for them to give it their all every moment. The upcoming class is an immensely talented group, and they have a lot to bring to the team, so I cannot wait to see where they will go.
Jackie Lerro, a senior and forward, wants her younger teammates to use this win as a launchpad to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament next season, stating, “Finishing on a winning note our senior year meant a lot. Repeating as ODAC champions is such a big deal. When we do have the NCAA tournament next year, we will look forward to winning several games in the NCAA tournament.”