SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University Field Hockey Team is in familiar territory – the Division III Final Four.
But it hasn't been an easy journey.
Entering this year, the team was young and inexperienced. Early in the season, that lack of experience showed, as they lost three matches on the road. "I feel like we had to experience those losses to become the team we are now. Now I feel like everyone knows what they're doing, everyone knows their purpose, everyone knows their skill that they bring," says Senior Emily Voshell.
Head Coach Dawn Chamberlin says overcoming that inexperience has led the team to where they are now. "Well we've known from the beginning that we had a lot of talent but, you know, we also had a lot of inexperience. So it's just a matter of how quickly can you bring those two levels together," she says. And they meshed as a team in plenty of time.
They've won 7 in a row, including their most recent victory last Sunday against Wellesley – that victory punched their ticket to the Final Four, a trip they're making for the first time in three seasons.
Just two matches now stand between the girls and a championship. First up, the national semi-final match this Friday against Skidmore. The match will be held at a neutral site in Virginia Beach, on a field that presents difficulties of its own.
"It's a faster surface than we're used to playing on, that's for sure," says Coach Chamberlin. The surface they'll play on is good old-fashioned Astro-Turf, not the plush, grass-like modern turf that has been underfoot for most of their matches. But this team is used to making adjustments, and Coach Chamberlin says they're ready to make a few more, adding "We just kind of got to roll with it, and hope that we can make some adjustments quickly once we get down there, and be ready to play on that fast surface."