Blog note: Casey Heely is a freshman goalkeeper for the Fairfield field hockey team.
It’s been a bumpy ride since our venture to Michigan two weeks ago. We have had six matchups, one being our first conference game of the season.
Two weekends ago, we shut out Holy Cross 4-0 in a great performance by the Stags. We then fell to Columbia 4-3 at their field, a tough loss. Unfortunately we then fell to our first conference opponent in double overtime. Although we lost the match, we competed with UNH for the majority of the game, with massive saves by Maddy Sposito, along with defensive saves by Michelle Loor and Nikki McLucas and a picture perfect goal by Lindsey Hatch assisted by Hillary Fitts. The game had many highlights, but we were unable to pull through with the desired result.
With hope to avenge this loss, we traveled to Rhode Island on Sunday to face Brown University. This match was particularly special for me because it was my first collegiate start, where I was given my first 70 minutes of hockey. I had missed being on the pitch, for in high school, I played essentially every minute of every game for four years, finishing with a heartbreaking loss in the Suffolk County championships in sudden death strokes. You could say I was itching to redeem myself from that game that still haunts my dreams. However, the first half was a definite reminder of how I am competing at a level superior to my previous experience. Within the first three minutes I was scored on, which was not easy to cope with. Then, before the end of the half I was scored upon two more times. I felt that I had worked so hard for this moment to prove that everything I had done since August 10th was worth it. But, as the sport goes, you don’t always get what you wish for. My teammates were more than supportive; especially my fellow goalie Maddy [Sposito] and they all forced me to refocus on what I knew I could do. So for the second half, I was able to keep the ball out of the net. However, it was not enough, as we still fell 3 to 1.
Our assistant coach Joey [Civico] always tells us “it’s the next game that defines you.” I appreciatively got this chance a few days later when we faced Siena College, where I again started and played the entire game. It was an impressive turnout by the stags, with an 8-0 win—and my first shutout. Although I only had four saves, it was still a confidence boost from the tough Brown loss. It gave me the belief that as long as I put my mind to it, I can be the goalkeeper my team needs me to be.
After this game, we traveled eight hours up to the University of Maine where we competed in our second conference game. Another heartbreaking loss of 2-1 in overtime, with the Stags dominating the entire game, made for a rough trip home. Even from the sideline it was hard to bear. This Friday, we hope to come back from our two conference losses when we face America East opponent University of Albany on our home field at 3 PM.