BU Field Hockey is unlike any ordinary extracurricular activity performed by college students. It is a tradition of dominance, commitment and especially, winning.
The BU Field Hockey Team of 2008 proved to be an elite squad when it set the BU, PSAC, and NCAA D-II record for goals scored in a season with 161 goals. It also had the highest winning percentage among the nation, 0.958 (23-1), and the best scoring margin, 5.83 goals, according to the NCAA Ranking Summary of 2008.
Unfortunately, the Huskies will be without last season’s strong senior class that included several National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Americans: forwards Jamie Vanartsdalen and Samantha Kropa, and fullbacks Whitney Miller and Venessa Witman. They also lost a couple of All-PSAC players including midfielder Kelsy Kress and goalkeeper Allison Ziants.
“Most teams are going to see us as weak because we lost seven seniors,” senior forward Erin Hench said, who had the fifth most assists on the team last year with five, while scoring nine goals of her own. “It is going to take a lot of hard work and determination, but I think we can do it.”
Vanartsdalen had a very noteworthy career at BU and the team will certainly miss her presence. She was a two-time NCAA D-II Player of the Year and holds the NCAA record for the most goals and points in a season and career. Vanartsdalen played a huge role in the 2008 team’s success, as she led the Huskies in goals (40), assists (22), and points (102). (For the rest of the Huskies’ 2008 individual statistics see this link from BU Sports Info)
“With losing Jamie and the seniors we lost a very talented group that will be tough to replace,” senior forward Breanne Tobin said. “But I still think the team is going to be very competitive in the league this year.”
The Huskies have every right to be optimistic about the next season because they have found a way to win 10 national championships in the last 13 years.
“Our coaches do a really good job of keeping us focused on what our goals are for the current season rather than thinking about past seasons and successes,” Tobin said, who was ninth on the team in scoring last year with eight goals and one assist.
Much of the program’s high status is a credit to its veteran head coach, Jan Hutchinson, who will enter her 32nd season at BU this fall. Hutchinson has compiled 15 NCAA and 16 PSAC championships in her career. She also possesses 567 wins, while tying 74 times and losing just 20 games, which explains why she has the most wins of any coach in the history of NCAA Field Hockey.
“She always comes up with something to get our minds off things and to just go out there and play our game,” Hench said of Coach Hutchinson.
Like all great dynasties, the Huskies look to reload for another winning season. The team returns a skilled trio of All-PSAC and NFHCA All-Americans: midfielder Chelsea Due; an aggressive player, who took the second most shots on the team last year with 85, while adding 13 goals and forward Maggey Bloskey; who tied teammate Kropa in 2008 as the seventh best goal scorer in the nation averaging 0.88 per game. Both players were part of a Huskies offense that outscored its opponents by a combined score of 161-20.
“It will be a challenging year, but I have confidence that our team has a lot of depth,” Bloskey said, the third best scorer from last year’s squad contributing 21 goals and three assists. “We have a lot of young players that have the talent to step up and get the job done.”
The Huskies do not rely on talent alone; they are very dedicated and practice year-round, they have been busy training since the spring.
“That is our time to just go out and play and enjoy the sport,” Hench said. “It’s a time for trying new things, learning, and playing together as a team.”
“Spring training went pretty well,” Tobin said. “Everyone worked hard and a lot of people improved so I’m excited to see how things look this fall.”
During the summer, the Huskies have been running and conditioning to stay in shape. “Other than that I’m sure preseason will get us all ready for this upcoming season,” Bloskey said.
So how do the Huskies stay on top of their game and continue to win game after game?
“You have to focus on beating the first team and move on from there,” Bloskey said. “Coach says we need to focus on what we can control and that’s how we play, the rest will work itself out.”
The BU Field Hockey Team’s first game is at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 29 against Houghton College at BU. Come and see the Huskies play as they look to start off their season with a win.