Taking an in-depth look at Queen’s 2021 Field Hockey Team

Captain Abby Beaton talks team cohesion and goals following season opener

The Queen's Field Hockey team is looking to have a season to remember.

With the regular season just underway, the Queen’s Field Hockey team is coming out swinging.

The Journal sat down with Gaels field hockey captain Abby Beaton, Nurs ’22, to catch a glimpse into how the team—and arguably one of Queen’s more niche sports—functions, and how the Gaels are faring so far this season.

Beaton, who co-captains the team alongside two teammates, began by recapping their season opener—a doubleheader against York University last Sunday where the Gaels fell short to the Lions in both games, 0-3 and 1-3.

Despite the rocky start, she credits the team for putting it all out on the field.

“I think all in all, we had a really good game. […] We both came out excited and fighting for the first game,” she said. 

“Our teamwork and collaboration was definitely there.”

Under revised OUA scheduling, the Queen’s field hockey team is playing a shorter season this year, only eight games before the postseason begins on Oct. 30.  With a smaller window to develop and fewer opportunities to translate practice into game, the team is concentrating on basic plays and skills that underlie strong performance.

“Finding the easy passes, getting our chopping down, getting our hits down. By focusing on the basics, we're going to be able to play more fluently,” Beaton explained.

Having more cohesion on the field is also something Beaton’s team is working to improve following last week’s matches. This means learning each teammate’s individual style of play during practice.

“Not a lot of us have played together before. So, getting to know other people's play and getting to know how people work on the field is a big thing that we're learning.”

Before coming to Queen’s, Beaton played field hockey with Team Ontario. At first, making the leap to the collegiate level was something she considered daunting. However, the coaching staff and the team dynamic at Queen’s made the transition easier than she expected.

“One thing that made it really easy was the coaches and the team environment. I have never had a team like Queen's that's more family-oriented. Everyone gets along, […] everyone is best friends with each other on the team,” she said.

While off-field connections bolster the team’s cohesion, Beaton believes it also gives them a competitive edge when they step on the pitch. 

“I think one thing our team is really good at is when it's time to focus, we know that. We all have the same goal, and we all want to win, and we all want to do well,” she explained.

“I think that positive reinforcement and cheering each other on just gets each other more excited to win […] we don't get frustrated, we don't get flustered, we just support each other.”

Striking a balance between competitiveness and enjoyment is something Beaton believes will help the team achieve their two primary goals for the season: finding a groove together and earning a top two spot in the OUA West Division. 

“We want to have a really good year […] we all missed [the game] so much and we're really excited to be back and playing together.”

When asked how she would try to persuade more students to come out and see their games, Beaton emphasized that field hockey is more intense and entertaining than many might realize.

“I think it's a lot more hardcore than people think […] we’re wearing skirts, but it's actually so intense. The ball is so hard, we barely have any equipment, and it's really fast paced and fun,” she said.

“It’s kind of an odd sport that not a lot of people know the rules to, but I think they'll have a lot of fun watching it, and we'll make sure to play really hard for [everyone at Queen’s].”

The Field Hockey Team returns to the pitch this Saturday, Oct. 2, on Tindall Field in a doubleheader against the University of Toronto.

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