Field hockey travels to St. Louis for Gateway Tournament

The trip gave the players extra time together, which they appreciated since their retreat had been canceled.

While most students were heading to school for the start of a normal Friday, the field hockey team was at Caven preparing to leave for their flight to St. Louis.  

The Mavericks played five games during the weekend of Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

On Friday, Sept 29, the Mavs lost their game to Villa Duchesne (2-1) and won their game against St. Louis MICDS (4-1). The Mavs won their game against St. Edwards and tied their game against Cor Jesu (1-1) on Saturday. On Sunday, the Mavs won their game against Cor Jesu (2-1).   

The Mavs had tied Cor Jesu the year before in Kansas City in addition to the tie on Saturday, so the team considered their Sunday morning victory a great way to end the tournament.  

This was the second year the field hockey team traveled to an out-of-state tournament, as they traveled to Kansas City last year. The coaches view these trips as opportunities to learn more about hockey.

“Traveling to tournaments requires coaches to be forward thinking. We could’ve stayed in Houston, and been comfortable. But we decided to go somewhere where we could lose, and lose big,” assistant coach Gordon Center said. “That’s the real bravery of being the head of a program – that you can go lose and learn something from that loss.”

Three years ago, Coach Center and Coach Chambers reached out to the coaches of several teams in St. Louis to arrange a way for the Mavericks to play against their teams. Cor Jesu’s head coach Audrey Ploesser helped plan the weekend trip.

“Traveling is a way to see different styles of play, for us to experiment,” Center said. “It’s a chance for us to expand the idea of hockey.”

The field hockey program has expanded in recent years, most notably with the installation of a new water-based turf on Finnegan Field last year. 

“We want to see the program grow. We have a water based turf, which is a real dedication by the school to girls sports.” Center said. “We talked about the message we’re sending out to girls, which is ‘what you do really matters.’”

The trip was a bonding experience for the team, as their retreat was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey. The tournament offered extra time for the coaches to evaluate the players and for the players to connect with each other.

“We spent five games together and we played for the team. We had to trust each other,” freshman Piper Edwards said.

During downtime after games, the team also bonded as they had dinner with the Cor Jesu field hockey team and visited the St. Louis Sculpture Park and the Gateway Arch.

At the tournament, the team played on grass, grass turf and water turf. Since the team is used to playing on the new water-turf field, the tournament helped them prepare for games where they will have to play on grass.

“The team has been struggling to play on grass since we have a new turf field. This weekend we played on grass turf and grass and that helped us a lot as players and as a team to [learn] to navigate the different surfaces, especially because SPC is going to be played on grass,” captain Avery Morris said. “I’d definitely say we have gotten better from the weekend.”