ANN ARBOR, MI—In their first postseason appearance since 2010, the Rutgers Field Hockey Team particiapted in the Big 10 Conference Tournament last week, completing their first season in the new conference.
After winning three games in a row at home to finish out the season, the team traveled to face the University of Michigan in the tournament, but lost 3-1 on November 6.
Head Field Hockey Coach Meredith Long finally got the job leading the team in 2012, after years as an assistant coach.
Long believes she ended up getting the job, not only because of her love and dedication to field hockey, but because she was a New Jersey native who considers Rutgers her home.
It looks as if Long's dedication and hard work, along with that of her team, has been paying off during their first year in the Big Ten Conference.
"I really feel our first season in the Big Ten has been a success," Long told New Brunswick Today. She said this year's team helped to create a “supportive, fun, competitive, and passionate environment,” despite their grueling practice schedule of up to twenty hours a week.
Long mentioned that competing in the Big Ten Conference is a huge difference to their past seasons because the level of competition within the conference is so much higher and the team now gets better exposure.
"The team members thrive under the excitement of the Big Ten," adding they were "up for the challenge and not afraid to play anyone."
Besides the two graduating seniors, Jennifer Staab and Sophie Wright, the majority of the team is fairly young (mostly freshmen and sophomores), meaning they will be able to keep training in the hopes of making it beyond the Big Ten Tournament and into the NCAA Championships.
Wednesday, November 12, the first batch of high school players signed their commitments to play for Rutgers after they graduate.
Although next season won't start for another nine months, training is not over for the field hockey players. The team will spend the entire spring semester preparing for next season.
The spring semester does have some field hockey competitions, but they are mostly for practice and do not count towards NCAA standings.