Field hockey goes down under

Photo by Morgan Turner ’20  The Mount Holyoke field hockey team visits Australia.

Photo by Morgan Turner ’20

The Mount Holyoke field hockey team visits Australia.

BY KARI FOSSUM ’21

This August, the Mount Holyoke field hockey team departed from tradition (and South Hadley) for their 2018 preseason. The Lyons ventured to the Australian cities of Sydney and Canberra to take in the sights and fit in some games against local teams. 

Athletes from all class years took advantage of the opportunity to hone their skills on unfamiliar turf, including Colby Newsham ’19, Mirjam Keochakian ’19, Kristina Ramsden ’19 and Liz Delorme ’19; Sophia Cote ’20, Lia Messersmith ’20, Micaela Pierce ’20 and Morgan Turner ’20; Maggie Anderson ’21, Chelsea Braz ’21, Mirei Golding-Powers ’21, Julia Klein ’21, Christina Lively ’21, Maddie Miller ’21 and Gianna Molinari ’21; and all 11 incoming team members in the class of 2022. Head coach Andy Whitcomb, assistant coaches Sherry Webb and Kirsti Wiemokly, Mount Holyoke Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks, head athletic trainer Ellen Perella, team manager Emet Marwell ’19 and recent alumnae Sarah Watkins ’15, Liz DiCesare ’17, Allie Tessier ’17, Isabella Olgaard ’18 and Sophie Perekslis ’18 accompanied the team as they traveled to Australia.  

Sophia Cote ’20 embraced the change of pace. “With 11 new players joining our team, it was a good opportunity to step out of the traditional two-a-day, two week preseason and experience something unique together,” she said.

The Lyons kicked off their trip in Sydney. Their first few days were spent settling in and exploring the city. The team managed to fit in their first practice of the year after a busy morning of sightseeing in preparation for play against the UTS Hockey Club and the Tartans Hockey Club over the following two days. The UTS match took place at the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Center, one of the locations of the 2000 Olympics. 

After two matches in two days, the team spent a day seeing the rest of the sights in Sydney, as well as a National Rugby League match. Then it was time to return to practice and head into the Blue Mountains before traveling to Canberra; there, the team spotted some kangaroos, visited some monuments, and played a third match against Central Hockey Club. 

After their quick visit in Canberra, the Lyons packed up and headed back out to Sydney for their final match, this time against Australian National University. The team rounded out the preseason trip with one last ‘sausage sizzle’ (slang for barbecue) and flew back to Mount Holyoke early the next morning.“We definitely learned a lot about ourselves and our field hockey skills. It was really an honor to play such skilled opponents,” Colby Newsham. “The trip was also incredibly helpful in terms of teamwork and bonding,” Newsham added.  “We will always be connected by the incredible memories we made in Australia. We have a deeper connection and camaraderie than just our sport now.”

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