Last Wednesday the Cortland Women’s Field Hockey team faced Oswego in a home match-up. Going into the game I I was skeptical about whether or not I chose the wrong sport to attend. I had never heard of field hockey until I came to SUNY Cortland, being that neither my high school or any other in my area, had a team. While the game was hard to follow without having any prior knowledge, it was extremely fast paced and fun to watch. The Red Dragons were up 4-0 at the half and won the game with seven goals to Oswego’s zero.
Sophomores Jess Gibaldi and Jessica Welsh led the girls to their win by each scoring two goals. Junior Meg Redmond, and freshman Kelly Durso each scored a goal. Just by watching the game I picked up on a few interesting rules that I found to be specific for field hockey. The placement of the ball is very specific to the sport, unlike most ground ball sports, players aren’t allowed to make contact with the ball or continue play when it is airborne. Because of this the only way to play requires players to be constantly hunched over running in a squat in order to be in contact with the ball. This position is extremely hard on the body and exhausting, which made me respect the players that much more.The most interesting part of the game to me, I learned later, is called a short corner. This type of play comes after a number of penalties occurs.
To the eyes of a new fan lacking knowledge of the sport, it looks like five or six girls on the defending team line up and charge out of the goal at the offensive players. But in reality, shortcorners begin with five defenders, usually including the keeper, positioned behind the back line and the ball placed at least ten yards from the nearest goal post. Attacking players begin the play standing outside the scoring circle, except for one attacker who starts the corner by playing the ball from a mark ten meters on either side of the goal.
For a spectator who began the game anticipating a very negative experience, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed watching the Red Dragons defeat a team that came into the game 7-1. I can confidently say I look forward to attending another game and encourage anyone who hasn’t already to take a look at the schedule and make it to a game!