Field hockey looking to carry regular season form into playoffs

Penn ’18, Tregoning ’19 leading the charge for field hockey

Field hockey (11-3, 6-1 in conference) has played lights out for the most part this season as it sits a solitary game behind conference-leading Babson College. The Engineers travel to Babson for their last regular season game on Saturday, Oct. 29 looking to clinch top seeding in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) playoffs.

Emily Penn ’18 has been clinical in front of the goal, leading the team with 16 goals including two hat tricks. Bailey Tregoning ’19 has chipped in with 10 of her own, including five gamewinners, while rookie Devon Goetz’ 20 leads the team with assists.

Field hockey has been competitive in each of the last three years but somehow has found one way or another to lose to conference rivals Mt. Holyoke in the playoffs. In fact, only last year, after suffering a heart-breaking double overtime loss to Smith College in the regular season, the Engineers outplayed Mt. Holyoke 5-1 in the penultimate game of the regular season. Yet somehow, their rivals exacted revenge in the NEWMAC quarter finals.

So, with playoffs looming, how is the 2016 field hockey team looking to bury the demons?

Captain Krishna Jaitly ’17 weighed in, “I don’t look at it like it is [overcoming] Mt. Holyoke. It is like we have the right mentality [this year]. Going into the NEWMAC tournament you start with a clean sheet. It is important to continue to build on the previous games.”

In fact, the team put in a lot of effort this offseason to make sure they perform to their fullest potential.

Jaitly explains, “I think [the captains] spent a lot of time discussing the goals for this season at the beginning of the season. We made sure we were all on the same page. Last year we realized we did not get as much accomplished as we wanted to. So as the team we came together during pre-season and decided what our goals would be for the season.”

It is of course one thing to talk about having the right mentality but are there indications that this 2016 field hockey team has a different identity?

Only in the third game of the season, the team’s toughness was called into question. The Engineers were down two goals to one at Gordon College, having allowed two goals within 30 seconds. MIT not only came back to equalize but also clinched victory in a dramatic fashion, just seconds into the second overtime period. Setting the tone for how much of the season would turn out, both the equalizer and the winner were scored by Emily Penn.

“That game helped build a lot of trust. We started believing no matter who is out there playing, we are in it together. The strength and resilience came through that day,” added Jaitly.

“The seniors were already a close-knit group but we wanted to create a culture where freshmen could have as much impact as any other member of the team,”said Jaitly.

It is not often you get two rookies (Goetz and Taylor Grey ’20) become starters on the team and start contributing right away.

Grey wasn’t sure if she would be able to become a starter freshman year. “It has gone really well. I have fit in pretty well with the lineup,” she said.

So with a strong regular-season record, a new mentality, and with contributions across the board, the 2016 field hockey team looks primed to make a strong run at the NEWMAC title.