Field hockey’s run to a red-hot start

To understand why the Northeastern field hockey team has performed so well this season, one must return to the late-summer day in which the players took the annual pre-season fitness test.

Redshirt junior back and vice-captain Kate Carlson noted that they made sure to hold each other accountable over the summer, regularly checking in to track the progress of their teammates’ workouts. That determination to stay fit was evident in the pre-season fitness test, which about 90 percent of the players passed.

“The atmosphere in the Cabot cage the day we ran the fitness test was indescribable,” Carlson said.

The Huskies are now riding a 10-game winning streak dating back to Sept. 7 when they beat Providence 5-3. Northeastern (10-2) is coming off a dramatic, double-overtime 3-2 victory over then No. 8 Boston College on Oct. 5 and the team’s early success has propelled the Huskies to No. 10 in the NCAA RPI poll.

“The team is playing very well,” said head coach Cheryl Murtagh, now in her 27th season at the helm of the field hockey program. “I believe it is because they work hard every day, and the success has helped develop a lot of confidence in the group.”

Murtagh also lauded the players for their offseason preparation, saying that “They know that was key because it allowed us to do more with them at the start of the season.”

Caroline Judge, a senior midfielder and co-captain, noted that the Huskies represent the quintessential team, a fact that is no more evident than on the score sheet: nine different players have tallied goals so far this season.

“Everyone has a role and everyone is contributing to that role very well, and it’s definitely adding to our success,” added redshirt senior forward and co-captain Kelly Dunn.

Believe it or not, the 2014-15 season got off to a slow start, with the Huskies losing their first two games to Temple University and the University of Maryland, which is currently ranked No. 2 in the country. But Murtagh said the team learned a lot from those early defeats.

“One of our strengths now is attention to detail,” Murtagh said. “Ever since the 4-1 loss to Maryland, I feel like they have been really focused on being a top defensive team in the country.”

But there’s much more work to do. First and foremost, the players need to build off this string of wins in preparation for the upcoming slew of games against Colonial Athletic Association conference opponents.

“We are thrilled to be where we are but if we stopped playing now it means nothing,” Judge said. “This weekend and from here on out is where things matter.”

The Huskies will look to extend their win streak to 11 games this weekend when they travel to Philadelphia to take on CAA foe Drexel on Sunday afternoon.