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The Marauders field hockey team describes new challenges and hopes for their first season

McMaster’s field hockey team has made their debut as varsity players in the Ontario University Athletics. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year, the OUA has divided the eight Ontario field hockey teams into two divisions, East and West, with each team playing eight regular season games. The Marauders are in the West division and play against the Guelph Gryphons, Waterloo Warriors and Western Mustangs. 

Due to these changes, the Marauder field hockey team has many challenges for this season as they fight to make a name for themselves within the OUA. Rebecca Jiang is one of the captains of the field hockey team. 

“I’m just looking forward to having a good season and being able to prove ourselves in the OUAs, I feel like we’ve been underestimated a lot in previous years. So, I just want to be able to come on strong and prove that we can play and compete,” said Jiang.

As a result of school taking place virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, many sports teams, field hockey included, were unable to practice. Jessica Lim, Jiang’s co-captain, also speaks on this issue. 

“It’s been different and I think that’s been true for all of the sports teams. It’s a huge transition, going from having light practicing, if any practice at all, and just doing conditioning, to having games practically every week . . . The games are twice every single weekend now, which is a huge jump than during the pandemic, [when] we didn’t have anything,” Lim explained.

This year, the field hockey season only lasts for one month, making the level of intensity a lot higher, which can easily take a toll on the players. Playing a high performance sport at the provincial level is not easy and it requires a tremendous amount of individual and group effort. Since the team was previously not able to practice in-person, the team dynamic has changed with many members having graduated over the past two years and new first- and second-year teammates joining. 

Briana Da Silva, a member of the field hockey team, described the comparison. 

“Last year, we did a lot on Zoom, but obviously that’s nothing compared to in-person. We would do team workouts and team challenges, we’d group up that way to do a little team bonding, but I really don’t think Zoom has anything on being in-person when it comes to team building,” said Da Silva. 

In addition, being a good teammate helps maintain a positive team spirit. 

“Everyone has their bad days and everyone has off days on the field and off days just in their personal life. And the great thing about a team sport is that there’s always 20 other girls who are with you . . . That’s really the thing to remember, that if someone’s down you don’t have to be down with them, you can just take your energy and help bring them up,” explained Lim.

Da Silva too prides herself in her team spirit and contributing to the team’s positive disposition. 

“I pride in team dynamic, so I really am always trying to keep the morale up. But also I know those girls have my back like a family and I know if you show up in a positive mood, it’s just [going to] reflect on the whole entire team,” 

-Briana Da Silva

The team is more than halfway through the season, with their next home game on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. If interested, be sure to watch them play on Alumni Field against the Western Mustangs. 

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