Anders Said It: Field Hockey Surprise of Fall Season


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Meghan Mitchell leads the team with seven goals.

Anders Pryor, Staff Writer

Despite a harsh shutout 4-0 loss at 10th ranked Old Dominion over the weekend and a tough 2-1 loss against Lehigh on Monday, the women’s field hockey team (ranked 36th) is off to a strong start at 7-4 overall. The Wildcats’ most impressive accomplishment this season is their 6-0 record at their home stadium, which is located in Conshohocken. With a relatively easy home schedule remaining on the season, field hockey could be the “surprise team” on campus this year by going undefeated at home.

There always seems to be one or two surprise teams every year for Villanova. Last year, the men’s soccer team had its best season in four years that included a national tournament victory against Vermont. It was the same year we saw the women’s basketball team complete an exciting and incredibly noteworthy 11-6 seed upset against BYU. But the women’s field hockey team, which finished with a disappointing 6-12 record last year, could be the surprise team that grabs everyone’s attention and gets the whole campus talking about them come late October.

It won’t be an easy start. The next home game is Oct. 7 against Liberty, which will be the toughest home opponent it will face all season. Liberty is led by senior forward Daniella Rhodes, who leads the team in both shots (42) and goals (nine). She will be the biggest roadblock in Villanova’s road to remaining undefeated at home. 

If Villanova can edge out Liberty, it gets a lot easier from there. It finishes its schedule with three consecutive home games against unranked opponents with losing records in Davidson (3-7), Quinnipiac (4-6) and Georgetown (3-8). If Villanova can play to its record and momentum and close out those games, it would give them a 10-0 home record.

The chance for Villanova to accomplish this comes down to effort and energy through the game, something its coaches have been preaching all year. 

Junior Forward Meghan Mitchell, who scored two of the three goals in Villanova’s last home win against La Salle (3-2), including the game winner, spoke about the win and how the Wildcats were able to adjust throughout the game to come out with the win.

“I was really proud of our team’s effort today,” Mitchell said to Villanova Athletics. “I think it was a very hard-fought game throughout the entire 60 minutes, and then going to overtime, I think we continued to play together as a team. In overtime, we really moved the ball effectively, which allowed us to get on the board quickly. We did a good job playing two touch field hockey, getting the ball quickly up the field.”

Mitchell has been leading the team’s amazing stretch, tying with fellow junior forward Amanda Middleman in goals made (six) and leading the team in shots on goal (23). 

If the Wildcats can go on the undefeated home streak that they’re capable of, they can become the surprise team of campus this year that everyone talks about. If they get the wins they need to get and play to their best during non-conference games, they can use that streak to make a push to be one of the 19 teams to make the Field Hockey NCAA tournament, one that will have them face an exciting level of competition they haven’t faced in quite some time.