In its first winning season since 1994, the 2021 Lehigh field hockey team finished with an 11-7 record. The team also participated in its first Patriot League Tournament since 2011, in which they lost to Holy Cross 1-0.
Junior Abbie Brown said she sees this season as an opportunity to show the league what their team has to offer and to continue the success that drove the team to the Patriot League Tournament last year.
“I think our goal this year is to keep building on our program’s successes and we’re doing that by keeping expectations high for ourselves and our team in general,” Brown said.
Instead of team captains, Brown said Lehigh field hockey has a leadership council, which includes one to two representatives from each class who serve as liaisons between the coaching staff and players.
The representatives are voted for and elected at the end of each season based on the leadership abilities they exhibited over the course of the previous months. Brown, a representative herself, said this promotes a team culture that encourages everyone, not just upperclassmen, to have a voice.
Sophomore representative Guusje Hogendoorn said the focus of the leadership council is to emphasize the importance of the bond among teammates in tandem with promoting athletic prowess.
“Having on the field and off the field chemistry definitely translates to the overall success of our team,” Hogendoorn said. “Plus the leadership representatives are always there to make the younger girls feel welcomed, which I think is really important.”
The leadership council representatives meet periodically to discuss matters pertaining to interpersonal relationships on the team, which Brown said directly translates to more prosperity and unity on the field.
With the addition of nine first-year players this season following the loss of five seniors and fifth-year players, MJ Schwab, a current senior forward, said some might expect this to be a “building season.”
“I think that going into this season knowing that we have really big roles to fill has made everyone collectively level up their leadership and their dedication to building connections that will benefit us on and off the field,” Schwab said.
Schwab said the season will also be a time to continue the culture of success that coach Caitlin Dallmeyer has fostered over the last seven seasons, which has led to individual accolades for members of the program, including graduate Drew Pecora, who was awarded the Patriot League Outstanding Leadership and Character Award and senior Maddie Kahn, a member of the 2022 Under-21 Women’s National Team.
After losing its first two games, the team will travel to Indiana to compete against Ball State University on Sept. 3. The team’s last meeting in September 2018 ended in a 2-1 Lehigh win.