Field hockey freshmen ready to take next step

It’s not uncommon for members of the Robert Morris field hockey program to become acclimated with each other during the rigorous training camp held before classes start each summer in late August.

But this year, things have been taken to a whole new level.

Although they’ve come from completely different backgrounds within the sport of field hockey, freshmen Harriet Brow, Briana Stine, Simone Bindels, and Kylie Luke have bonded immensely in their short time at RMU and are looking forward to take the next steps of their careers.

“We just have different views on problems, but we can give our opinions, and our experiences, which will definitely help here,” said Bindels, a defender.

The relationship between the girls will become even stronger during road trips, something the team has become acclimated to over the past few seasons.

“We’re used to it by now. We’ve been doing it every year. It definitely hurts us when you have some inexperienced players on the team,” said head coach Olivia Netzler. “It would be great to be able to have more games on our home surface, but we just deal with it the best we can.”

Despite the fact that the field hockey team has to face adverse conditions by playing nearly 70% of their contest on the road, Bindels believes that the veteran players who have perfect the juggling act of athletics and academics can help the new players learn how to manage their time effectively.

“I think it’s [academics and athletics] just a good combination. You have to just plan it good,” she said. “They [the older players] will help us if we need it.”

Although all four players are entering their first season at the collegiate level, the transition from their previous clubs is much more abrupt for Stine and Luke.

“In America, the clubs are usually for if you just want to play in college in general, so that could be Division III, Division II, Division I,” said Stine, a native of Columbia, Maryland. “It’s not such an abrupt transition but it’s still definitely something different.”

Luke agrees with her fellow teammate.

“I came from a club in Pittsburgh and the hockey wasn’t as challenging,” she said, referring to her high school career at Greater Latrobe. “It’s not more difficult, it’s just different. Clubs in Pittsburgh aren’t that fast pace, intense, or hard to keep up with.”

Brown, who last took the field for Canford School in the United Kingdom, anticipates a smooth transition for both herself and Bidels, whose last club was Hockey Ignatius College in The Netherlands.

“From where I was at home, the level of hockey was quite similar, so, for me, and I think for Simone as well, it’s not that much different,” she said.

Netzler is enthralled by the girls’ knowledge of the game from what she’s seen during practices.

“I think what has impressed me is their confidence. Their personalities all mesh extremely well with the team,” said the seventh year head coach. “They all can compete for a position. We’re pretty impressed at the moment with what they’ve brought, and we’ll see as the season goes on. Hopefully they can withstand that, and keep plugging away.”