Field hockey coach Ostoich wants to restore winning ways

It may take some time, but new field hockey head coach Catherine Ostoich is ready to take Central Michigan back to its winning ways.

Ostoich was named head coach on Dec. 15, less than two months after Molly Pelowski was fired on Oct. 26. 

The field hockey team lost all 18 games last season. Pelowski was riding a 31-game losing streak when she was fired — two days before the team's final loss in 2017. 

Ostoich served as an assistant coach at Indiana last season, head coach at Missouri State in 2016 and as an assistant coach at Davidson College from 2014-15. She was also a standout at Richmond from 2010-13. 

Central Michigan Life spoke to Ostoich about her expectations for next season.

CM Life: How is Central Michigan treating you so far?

Ostoich: It’s great. Everything is starting to finally come together. I’ve been getting the opportunity to work with the girls (on the team), which has been really awesome. It’s a little bit colder than I anticipated. The support with all the coaches and staff has been incredible and the girls seem really excited and willing to learn new things.

What made CMU standout as a coaching destination?

The biggest things to me was the opportunity and support. Once I got here, I realized how supportive these people are with the new athletic director (Michael Alford) in place and his support for the student-athletes. To come someplace where they care about all their sports, not just the big sports, is really appealing to me. 

How would you rate this roster and what players stand out to you?

A lot of people have stood out in the conditioning. Kalya (McClure) has really stood out to me with her leadership and communicating with the girls, telling people to push forward. Katy (Gurdis) I think has stood out leadership wise through her hard work — she’s more of a leader by example. (Sarah) Mesko has done a phenomenal job with the conditioning. I can’t exactly speak to the hockey part because I’ve only worked with them very limited to me. Maybe in another month or so I could answer that question.

Is there a struggle for the girls to buy into a new system after a winless season?

I think the girls are wanting to change a couple of things. They’re really taking it to heart that they need to get on board quickly in order for us to be successful in the future. They’ll have their challenges, but the girls are willing to work hard. That’s all you can really ask from them.

How do you feel the Mid-American Conference will shape up this season?

I love this conference. It’s very competitive in field hockey. Kent State has been the historic winner. Miami (Ohio) won this past season. I’m excited to see how we shape up this spring and fall and fit right into it. It’s a winnable conference.

What are your expectations for your first season?

I have a lot of expectations, but the big goal is to win a MAC Championship. That’s not going to obviously happen this season. We’re going to set goals as a team like “let’s win a few games, let’s do X, Y and Z so we can win games.” I want to win a couple MAC games — that’s my personal goal. I’m going to be happy if we set our team goals, reach them and build the foundation. Maybe next season or the year after that we (would be) going to the MAC Tournament (or) a MAC Championship game.

This is your fourth program in four years. Do you plan on sticking around?

I’m ready to settle down and be in one space. My past has been crazy, but it hasn’t exactly been my (choice to be) jumping around. I thought I was at Missouri State for a while, then they dropped the program. I’m super excited to be here. The only way you can build a successful program is if you are here to do it, and you need a couple of years. I want to see this program return to its glory days. That’s what I’m here to do.