By Dom Rapposelli
Business and Distribution Manager
After finishing the 2022 season winning five of their last six regular season games, Washington College field hockey is back for the 2023 season. After a strong finish to the season that landed them in the playoffs. The Shorewomen look to continue their momentum into the new season.
Senior Kate Gromacki believes the team can take their success a step further during her final season on the field hockey team. “I hope it’s even more competitive than last year,” Gromacki said. The year that Gromacki referenced being a year that ended with a second straight trip to the postseason.
Returning to the field is sophomore Jam Hutt-Robles. Hutt-Robles, happy to be back, feels more at ease entering her second season with the team. “I settled in a lot quicker than what I did my freshman year, which allowed me to focus on hockey a lot more and just being able to jump in without the nerves,” Hutt-Robles said.
New to the team this season is head coach Alex Calder. Calder is migrating to Chestertown from Gwynedd Mercy University where she coached for three seasons. Calder led the program to back to back conference playoff appearances. The Shorewomen also take on Gwynedd Mercy at Kibler Field on Sept. 20.
Coach Calder is returning to the Centennial Conference after graduating from Gettysburg College ’16. “I am very familiar with the caliber of play and competitiveness of this league,” Calder said about returning to the conference.
“She brings a lot of intensity and a fresh perspective to the program,” Gromacki said.
Coach Calder’s new perspective is having an effect on more than just Gromacki. “We give her our maximum effort and energy each practice and take on every task with intensity,” Hutt-Robles said.
This can be seen in the way Coach Calder runs her practices. Calder aims to challenge their on field talents as well as their ability to process various situations.
“I like to structure my practices to push our student athletes to problem solve and build their confidence thinking through the game” Calder said.
These high pressure situations are expected throughout the season as the Shorewomen take on a slew of out of conference opponents to begin their campaign. Dual home games at the start of the season, against Salisbury University and Catholic University, highlight the start of the team’s season.
The Salisbury Seagulls ranked in the top 25 Division three teams a season ago, potentially providing an opportunity of growth for the Shorewomen.
The Catholic University Cardinals bested the Shorewomen in a 3-2 overtime loss last season. This season’s matchup is a game which has been circled by Hutt-Robles. “We want to make up from our overtime loss last year and we believe it will be a very competitive and evenly matched game,” Hutt-Robles said.
On Sept. 23, Centennial Conference play kicks off with the Shorewomen traveling to Franklin and Marshall. The Diplomats bested WC last season in a close game held in check by the Shorewomen’s defense. This game also served as the catalyst for the team’s strong finish to the regular season.
The team has potential to make a postseason push early. Calder discussed the young team’s talent and passion for the sport to make the postseason for the third straight year. “We have the heart, determination and commitment to get there,” Calder said.
“I’m looking forward to one last season with my friends,” Gromacki said.
The Shorewomen kick off their 2023 campaign on Friday, Sept. 1 at Stevenson University.
Photo courtesy of WC Athletics
Photo Caption: Field hockey’s head coach Alex Calder gears up for 2023 season.