The University’s women’s field hockey team recently completed the third winningest season in program history.
Despite a heartbreaking Landmark Conference semifinal overtime loss to Juniata College, the Royals put forth a record-breaking season that will not soon be forgotten.
The Royals broke the program record for longest winning streak with 15 consecutive wins, which is also the most wins in a season since 1998.
Seven Royals were recognized by the Landmark Conference for their outstanding performances throughout the season: Meredith Campbell, Jenna Cyr, Hailey Marini, Jessica Kaplowitz, Elizabeth Tolley, Megan Gallagher and Christina Motz.
Campbell, Cyr, Marini and Kaplowitz were all named to the conference’s first team selection, while Tolley, Gallagher and Motz were all-conference second team selections.
Campbell, who helped propel the team’s offense throughout the entirety of the season, was also named the Landmark Conference Player of the Year. Cyr, who was a standout first-year goalie for the Royals, was named Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year.
Campbell was in a league of her own this season, breaking multiple University and Landmark Conference records. The Landmark Conference Player of the Year Award has become a sort of tradition for her family, however, as her sister won the award while playing for Catholic University.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m still kind of in shock. It’s really cool to be able to finish off my year with that. My sister played for Catholic [University], and she was their Player of the Year her senior year. Ever since then I’ve kind of had the idea in my head, not that I ever thought it would happen, but ‘wow that would be the coolest thing ever,’” Campbell said.
Campbell and Cyr both agreed that the team’s successful season could be attributed mainly to two factors—team chemistry and the motto “inch by inch.”
That motto, Campbell said, is what truly helped the team win 15 games straight.
“The past couple of seasons we didn’t have one motto that really stuck and I think that all of us seniors really wanted something this year that would set it apart and motivate people to work harder and kind of set a team vision of what we wanted,” Campbell said. “I think that inch by inch is a really cool saying because it really makes you think of how every little thing counts, and I think that was what made the difference. Every person on the team fought every step of the way.”
Cyr agreed, adding that the team chemistry only helped to reinforce the idea of taking every little factor into consideration.
“The team chemistry was definitely huge and I think that all started with the senior class and especially the captains, Hailey [Marini] and Meredith [Campbell], they just set a great example,” Cyr said. “Their hard work and leadership made it easy for us to follow in their footsteps and all be on board with the whole inch by inch idea, and working hard and playing together as a team.”
Campbell and Cyr also noted that the team never expected to be as successful as they were prior to the start of the season.
“We were coming off a season where we struggled a little bit last year, but we had a really good spring season where everyone was working really hard. We had a class of really good freshman coming in too, so that helped us a lot,” Campbell said. “I think that overall throughout the season we just continued to improve and it was really cool to see how as a whole, if we worked hard how great we could be.”
Cyr also remarked that there was a definite turning point for the team realizing its own potential.
“The Elizabethtown game [was] a big turning point in the season because that was the first time we beat them in the Landmark Conference, so I think that was when we realized that we could something special this season, and that was a big turning point for us,” Cyr said.
Although the season did not end the way the Royals would have liked, the team is proud of what was accomplished, and look to build on that foundation for years to come.
“I think that this season was huge, and a big turning point for the program. There is a lot of talent coming up and I think it’s really cool to be part of a season that was so big and successful,” Campbell said. “We broke records this season as a team and I think that even though it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, it’s so important to look back at all of the good things that happened this season, and see how that will transfer on in the program for years to come.”
Cyr, who has three more years in the program, agreed, adding that next season is already in the forefront of the player’s minds.
“Obviously it didn’t end how we would have liked it to, but I don’t think that takes away from the amazing season that we had,” Cyr said. “It being my first year, I’m so happy to be a part of this team because it’s just a special group of girls and I’ve made so many amazing friendships and so many memories that I’ll take away from the season, and we’re already motivated to come out next season and bring home the title.”