No home-field advantage here

Women’s field hockey Gaels play first home games in five years but lose all three matches and record just one goal

The Queen’s field hockey team was on unfamiliar ground this weekend. The team made their first home appearance in five seasons in front of crowded sidelines on the new Tindall Field, but couldn’t produce a win despite the spectator support.

The team went 0-3 on the weekend, losing 4-0 to Guelph and 2-0 to Waterloo on Saturday and 5-1 to U of T on Sunday. The Gaels’ lone goal came from Mary-Anne Reid in the 60th minute of Sunday’s game.

“We just weren’t putting the ball in the net,” said Queen’s Laura Robinson, who collected a number of bruises on the weekend, including a black eye. Her courage to play through the injuries received the admiration of coaches and fellow players.

“I love to play and I don’t like getting subbed off,” she said.

Robinson said she is confident that the team’s close bond will allow them to overcome the shortcomings that kept them from winning this weekend. “We’re all really, really good friends,” she said. “That’s something you can’t teach and I think some of the skills we’re lacking, like finishing, you can teach.”

The losses on the weekend left the women short of qualifying for next week’s OUA championships, making the weekend their last games of the season.

Head coach Angela Meggs said the premature end isn’t indicative of the team’s accomplishments this year. “The girls have come a long, long way,” she said. “I feel like we should be there.”

Meggs said the team was grateful to finally be able to host a game on home turf, but it was the absence of this turf during most of the season that left the team struggling to adapt to the slower ball movement.

“It’s hard to go from gymnasium floor to field turf and still hit with speed,” she said. “It’s much slower.”

Meggs said the weekend produced victories outside the scoreboard, though. She said her team was able to perfect an aspect of their game that they had focused on all season.

“We were pretty proud of our spacing, something we’ve worked on for a long time” she said. “You really need to be able to swing it from one side to the other.”

Meggs said spreading out and moving the ball with speed from the backfield are elements not easily practiced in a small gym. She said she looks forward to the privilege of having a field to develop these skills on and predicted that it will be a major factor in the team’s improvement.

Graduating captain Monique Sami said she was optimistic about the team’s future with the new field.

“We’re so grateful to have the turf and we’re so excited for next year and the promises that brings,” she said. “We’ll be able to put it all together.”

She said her job as captain was easy because the team gelled so well with every player working as a leader.

“I love these girls,” she said. “Basically all I had to do was communicate to clear things up on the field when things got little bit crazy or pick up the pace in the gym when we were lagging.”

Sami said the experience of being on the team was more significant than any specific accomplishment.

“There aren’t a lot of certain moments that are memorable,” she said. “It’s more every moment.” The Gaels have been working with Kingston high school field hockey teams, and many of those teams were out showing their support on Saturday. Sami said it was nice to know her team was fostering a field hockey community, as the community aspect of the game was important to her throughout her time at Queen’s.

“If I didn’t have field hockey, I know my life would be totally different,” she said. “Everyone goes through so much in the first two months of school, and the girls are so supportive of that. They find crazy ways to get you laughing.”

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