Field hockey opens this weekend at home against Saint Louis and Robert Morris
The Central Michigan field hockey team begins its pursuit of its bench mark of 12 victories and a Mid-American Conference championship.
The team starts at home at 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Sunday against Saint Louis and Robert Morris respectively.
“We got a lot of returning starters, good senior leadership and a good starting goalkeeper, so I certainly think we can contend this year,” CMU field hockey coach Cristy Freese said.
Freese was satisfied with the maroon and grey scrimmage held Aug. 27. However, Freese said not many things could be taken away from the intersquad match.
Sophomore Bailey McKeon was critical of the Chippewas performance.
“I think it went pretty well, but we’re still kind of rusty on a few things,” McKeon said. “I think we thought we were all energetic in the game, then we all watched video and it was kind of slow and the receiving wasn’t as well as we thought.”
Freese stressed the importance of that intensity for the upcoming matches.
“We want to set the pace with our play and be on our toes instead of our heels,” she said. “I think that we have to have really good team defenses, force turnovers, instead of committing turnovers and execute in the circle offensively and defensively.”
Freese pointed out Saint Louis and Robert Morris are challenges with much game experience.
“I think one way were at a disadvantage is that most teams (have already played),” Freese said. “When Saint Louis and Robert Morris come in here, they’re going to have a game under their belt. Or maybe two games under their belt.”
The Saint Louis Billikens already tallied a victory this season after struggling mightily in the past two seasons with a record of 1-36.
They bring a young squad of 11 newcomers to the CMU Field Hockey Complex. Also, they have six of eleven starters returning.
The Billikens pushing CMU to the limits last season, by remaining even until a goal was scored by former CMU back, Amanda Von Leer in the last minute of the match.
“I thought Saint Louis played very well and it’s what I expect from Saint Louis,” Freese said. “I expect them to have speed, I expect them to be aggressive, and I expect them to want to win.”
McKeon hopes to break away from the Billikens this year.
“We don’t need to hold back like we did last year,” she said. “I think that’s sometimes what happened last year. We held back and if we scored were just content with that.”
Following Saint Louis, CMU plays Robert Morris, which enters its 8th field hockey season in its programs history.
The Colonials are currently 0-2. They lost by No. 17 ranked Albany, 5-0 and lost 3-1 to Villanova.
They finished last season 4-14, but like Saint Louis, they return six starters.
Robert Morris looks for a victory after having a winless non-conference road record last season.
Freese said playing two teams on one weekend offers a challenge.
“You’re going to see different things on Friday versus Sunday,” she said. “We’ll see how our team can adapt to what two different teams give us.”
Next weekend the Chippewas travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan at 2 p.m. on Sept. 9 and at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 to play Bucknell.
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