Mount Allison women’s field hockey team defeats UNBSJ in a close match
The Mount Allison women’s field hockey team is focused on maintaining the momentum that comes with their second-ever league win after their game against UNBSJ.
The team has been a growing and active member of the Atlantic University Field Hockey League since 2014. They currently compete against teams from across the Atlantic region, such as UNB, STFX, and various universities in between. The team typically competes in three tournaments per regular season, as well as one tournament in the spring.
Head coach Julia Bland has returned this season for her second time coaching the team. Bland has had experience coaching for sports teams, but no previous background for coaching field hockey. “I decided to coach the women’s field hockey team because I was interested in getting involved in sports again, and I had some good friends on the team. I had soccer and coaching experience, so applying that to field hockey works well.”
Roisin Kierstead is the team’s centre full back/centre midfielder and one of the team’s co-captains. Kierstead has been playing field hockey for seven years – three of which have been with the Mt. A women’s field hockey team.
She has seen an improvement in the team’s performance this season. “This team, like Mt. A’s team only a few years ago, is very new. I think that our victory against [UNBSJ] highlights how far we have come as a student-managed team,” she said. “Much of this progress can be attributed to the relentless dedication of our coach Julia Bland and other exec members, all of which have stood as enthusiastic examples for our other members and helped to unify the team.”
As a young team, this group of women do face some challenges. “I think our greatest weakness is lack of experience as a team, which we work on during practice through rigorous drills, and with each game we get a little better!” Bland said.
As a result of this, every player shows incredible commitment to the team. Bland outlined the team’s typical week: “Our weekly schedule includes an evening practice, a fitness practice, early morning practice, study hall and a bi-weekly weekend scrimmage – and we’ve had record attendance this year!”
As for Kierstead, there are various factors that supported the team’s most recent win. “As a team, I suspect that we will continue to work on the speed and aggressiveness of our offensive play, specifically by taking advantage of turnovers,” she said. “Now that I am partially part of the offensive line I am very excited to have an enhanced opportunity of contributing to this.”
In order to improve as a team and add more wins to their record, Kierstead predicts that the team will continue to focus on movement of the ball and maintaining possession of the play. “Across all positions, this is an area that we are working towards improving,” she said. “That being said, I think that each of our players can perform particularly well defensively and that this has become our greatest strength.”
Bland would also like to point out that the team is currently looking for a head coach: “One thing I’d like to add is that we are looking for a full-time coach, preferably an adult with field hockey or coaching experience. Although student coaching is extremely fun and rewarding, this would give some continuity to the team so that it can keep developing!”