WINCHESTER, Va. – Sophomore Morgan Payne is in her first year of blogging about the field hockey program, and in her final installment of the fall, she recaps a historic two weeks for the program.
It isn't every day that you can wake up and say, "I made history," but the 2016 Shenandoah University field hockey program has that opportunity. On November 5, we became the first women's team at SU to win an ODAC championship and earn its accompanying berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Ed. Note: The squad is just the second overall to win an ODAC championship.
We defeated top-seeded Lynchburg in overtime on their turf to advance to Saturday's championship game.
Ed. Note: The win over LC was the first for SU in 15 lifetime meetings.
On Saturday, we were to face Washington and Lee, who had advanced with a win over second-seeded Bridgewater. W&L, the team rallied against us last year in the ODAC Tournament and then beat us in our first ODAC game this season 9-0, would be the team we would have to beat if we wanted the championship! We battled for the full 70 minutes of play and won 2-0! Never doubt the underdog.
There are almost no words to describe how it feels to be on this team. Every single person plays with all their heart and gives 110%, no matter the circumstances. We had many earn All-ODAC accolades. Elizabeth Pardo, Kayla Alderman, Taylor Hayes and I earned All ODAC Tournament honors in addition to earning various All ODAC first, second, and third team honors.
Taylor was selected as Rookie of the Year and coach Smeltzer-Kraft was named Coach of the Year. I have to say it - Coach of the Year does not even begin to explain how great she is or how great coach Bloomfield and coach Ware are either. Our coaches always believe in us and give us everything we need to succeed and without them none of this would have been possible.
Also, a shout out must be given to this year's three seniors: Jessie, Tay and Lex (Jessica Brown, Taylor Little and Alexa Lapp). All of your hard work and dedication is admirable and that also holds true for all the alumnae who have come before us.
While our NCAA appearance felt short-lived, it will have a lasting impact. We held a top-15 team in the nation to a 2-0 score. With this experience now under our belts, I can only imagine the possibilities for us next season.
Lastly, we want to thank all of our supporters for their encouragement and dedication through the good and bad times; you all played a vital role in our success. The countdown is on until Fall 2017!