Last spring, the decision to cut Siena’s Division I field hockey program was released. The devastating news created a dark atmosphere for the Siena athletic community, especially for those Saints who were part of the program. However, a silver lining emerged from the disappointment as Siena welcomed its newest club sport: club field hockey.
Stephanie Hand, a sophomore at Siena, was only able to experience one season of the school’s field hockey team before it was discontinued due to reported lack of funding. This did not end Hand’s love for the game as she was determined to make the best out the situation. Hand, along with Siena senior Katelyn McMahon, another former player, founded Siena’s club field hockey team earlier this semester. When asked what inspired her to bring this program to campus, Hand responded, “When I decided to start a club team, my Division I program had just been cut which was very disappointing. But I knew that everyone on my team still loved to play field hockey and that Siena would benefit from having a club field hockey team because it would be more inclusive of all skill levels. Also, I really wanted to have a team that would allow me to take up more leadership roles by organizing practices, holding meetings, and becoming president of club field hockey.” As the fall semester comes to a close, the new club has much in store for the upcoming spring.
While no official games have been played yet, the team has been practicing every week in order to prepare for next semester. “For the spring semester, we are hoping to have much higher numbers so that we are able to compete within the New York State Club Field Hockey League with teams such as Cornell, RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), and UAlbany,” Hand said. Hand stated about what to expect to see from the team. “I would also like to have more team bonding activities where everyone can get to know each other better and really create a fun and enjoyable team environment. The goal is for this team to be an outlet from the stress that comes with being a college student and be completely stress-free,” she explained.
The 2018-2019 school year is being utilized by the team as a time to establish themselves for fall 2019 gameplay. For next fall, Hand said, “I definitely want to see the team competing in the NYS Club Field Hockey League Tournament that takes place at the end of the fall season. By next season, I am hoping that we have an actual team that is recognizable by Siena’s community by attending more events to recruit people like at the club fairs.” Like any of the other teams on campus, Hand and club field hockey are anticipating to participate in some community involvement events and fundraisers as well. “I would like to participate in events that give back to the community such as the Relay for Life and have it be a regular thing that club field hockey does.”
Rising from the heartbreak that was the discontinuation of the Division I team, Siena’s club field hockey team is hoping to gain more support of the campus community for the upcoming seasons. I personally decided to join the club earlier this semester and was a little nervous about what to expect in terms of intensity of the practices. In the end, there was absolutely nothing to be worried about, as the other club players were very welcoming and made practices an enjoyable experience. The team is currently open to new members, looking for players at any skill level with a desire to improve and act as positive additions to the team. For additional information joining club field hockey, send an email to the president of the club, Stephanie Hand, at firstname.lastname@example.org.