Centre field hockey seeking respectability

September 15, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

One of Centre College's oldest sports for women is taking on a whole new personality.

The Centre field hockey team is trying to push its way toward a new level of respectability, hoping to seize the chance to win a new conference championship and the opportunity to increase the program's profile.

Those are lofty goals for a young team, but the Colonels say they're within reach if the team's talented newcomers can blend well with the program's veterans. They appeared to find the right blend Tuesday when they dominated Transylvania in a 1-0 victory.

"For any team, it's a matter of working together and getting to know each other," senior Megan Jacob said. "This year is all about getting to know each other well. We're setting the bar higher."


Centre coach Tom Hobbs said the best is yet to come for the Colonels.

"Things are just starting to come together for our program," he said.

Centre has enjoyed some modest successes in recent seasons, but Hobbs is aiming higher. He has been busy on the recruiting trail and at camps, trying to get his program's name out there.

"We're getting much more of a regional reputation," Hobbs said.

Hobbs also got a strong freshman class, and many of the newcomers are being counted on to contribute right away.

The Colonels' teamwork was evident Tuesday as the controlled the ball during most of their victory over Transylvania.

"We had some nice passing combinations," Hobbs said. "We really worked the ball as well as we've done all year."

Junior Jessica Rublein scored Centre's only goal, but it was enough against a Transy team that got precious few scoring chances.

"We're pretty pleased with how we played today, and we're only going to get better," Jacob said.

Challenging early-season schedule

Centre improved to 2-3 in what has been a challenging early-season schedule. The Colonels failed to score in losses to Kenyon, Wooster and Oberlin, three strong programs from Ohio.

"With our young team, I'm fairly pleased with the way we've started the season," he said. "In order for us to get where we want to be as a program, we need to start competing with those teams a little better."

Jacob said the Colonels are better simply for having played those games.

"That taught us a lesson. You have to have losses like that now and then," she said.

It's the first year for a nine-woman freshman class that Hobbs is counting on to help the program grow in the coming years.

"It's the biggest recruiting class I can recall," said Hobbs, who worked first as a student manager and then as an assistant coach before becoming head coach last year. "And these are some of the highest quality recruits we've had in the program's history."

Eight of the nine freshmen are from Louisville - the only area where high school field hockey is played in Kentucky - as are 15 of the 18 players on the roster.

"It's nice to have so many good programs in Louisville we can pick and choose from," Hobbs said.

But Hobbs said he hopes further success will also allow the recruiting net to expand to the northeast and east.

Centre went 8-9 last season, with the high point coming when the Colonels finished third in the final Kentucky-Indiana-Tennessee Tournament. Now the Colonels have something new to aim for as they compete with DePauw, Sewanee and longtime rival Rhodes for the inaugural Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title.

"Every game is a tossup," Hobbs said. "It's so competitive that you can bring your 'A' game and still come out with a loss."

The champion will be crowned when the Colonels host the league tournament Nov. 6-7. They'll play their first SCAC games this weekend when they host Rhodes and Sewanee.

"They're always good, competitive teams, so it's a matter of us being on our game," Jacob said.

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