After a disappointing loss last season in the national championship game, the women’s field hockey team came out hot in the season openers this past week. Coming into the season, the team was ranked as the second-best team in the country and favorites to win the Centennial Conference.
In an interview with The News-Letter, graduate midfielder Abby Birk spoke on what last season meant for the team.
“Making it to our first national championship game in program history was a huge accomplishment last year,” she said. “Obviously, it was not the outcome we had hoped for, but I think that getting to compete against such a strong team as Middlebury has really shown us the level of play it will take to win it all. We all have a renewed level of motivation to come and compete each day in practice and work together to achieve our goals.“
The week started off with a home win against the 10th-ranked Washington and Lee University Generals followed by a trip to Mechanicsburg, Pa., facing the Messiah University Falcons, who ranked eighth.
Success came early in the first game when senior forward Siena Urbanski scored just three and a half minutes into the game off a pass from senior forward Sadie Abboud. The Generals followed soon with a goal of their own. Next, came an outburst from Birk who recorded her first career hat-trick with three points in less than four minutes, putting the Blue Jays up 4-1.
Birk first shot to the left post off a corner, followed by another assisted by senior Anna Scott, then finished the hat trick off 65 seconds later with an assist by senior forward Sam Chabot.
The Blue Jays would win the game 5-2 following another score from sophomore forward Emily Amsden and a Generals score in the fourth quarter.
In the second game of the week, Urbanski opened it up early with a goal just five and a half minutes into the game, assisted by Birk. Things settled down until late in the second quarter when another goal from Urbanski assisted by Scott made it a two-goal game. Just three minutes later with 2:50 in the half, Birk would score her 100th career point and the game’s last goal, assisted by freshman midfielder Megan Chang, allowing the Blue Jays to win 3-0.
Birk reflected on her strong season-opening performance.
“This year I feel less stress and pressure individually which has allowed me to come out and play pretty relaxed this season,” she said. “I play best when I’m having fun, so I think just being grateful for this opportunity to play an extra year has really allowed me to start this season strong.”
Birk expressed her gratitude towards being included in a select group of Hopkins field hockey players to achieve 100 career points.
She commented on the rest of the season and her goals as well.
“We’re fortunate to play in an extremely competitive conference that sets us up for success in the postseason. As the preseason favorite, we’re just planning to take each conference game one at a time and focusing our full energy into that game rather than focusing on the conference tournament,” she said. “Individually, my goal for the season is to just enjoy my final opportunity to play college field hockey with my teammates.”
The Blue Jays will take on the Rowan University Profs at home on Saturday, Sept. 10.