Blog Note: Casey Heely is a freshman goalkeeper for the field hockey team.
On Thursday, the Fairfield Field Hockey team and I took our season first cross-country trip to Michigan and opened with a contest against St. Louis. With a goal by Nikki McLucas, we edged St. Louis 1-0 to win our first match of the tournament. After a family tailgate with our most dedicated fans, our team prepared for a day that allowed us to experience the atmosphere of a Big 10 college campus. The day, of course, started with a training session that focused solely on the elements needed to compete against Michigan on Sunday. We then were able to get a glimpse of the competition while watching the match up of St. Louis and Michigan, a game that ended with a 6-2 Michigan victory. With the scouting complete, the team and I moved on to one of our most exciting aspects of the trip – a University of Michigan football game. For us, simply walking through the town of Ann Arbor on game day was an experience similar to culture shock. The entire town was clad in yellow and navy blue-and that is not an exaggeration. It was obvious we were outsiders until we, for the day, took on the persona of a Michigan undergrad and bought shirts, hats and programs to show our faux school spirit. It was shocking to walk into a stadium that held over 100,000 fans to watch a college team play. Coming from a small private school without a football program, we were in a completely different atmosphere – not to say that we in any way lack school pride. It was just the sheer number of people that came out to see this game that awed us all. But I believe we were all humbled by this experience as we stowed our Michigan attire to take on our biggest opponent thus far on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the match ended with a 5-0 loss to Michigan-although we were never counted out of the game. We are now looking to improve as we move into our last week before conference play that begins with our competition against Holy Cross on Thursday at 4 PM. We still have a lot to prove to show why we are deservedly ranked #23-as the entire audience at U-of-M now know: