A year ago, Abbie Martin ’13 was scoring goals for the Ohio Wesleyan field hockey team.
Now she’s stopping them.
Martin, who played midfield last year, is now the Battling Bishops’ starting goalkeeper. This position gives her the power to lead and the pressure to succeed.
At the beginning of the season, the Bishops had no one to be the goalkeeper. Martin says her decision to play goalie was based purely on what the team needed. “I knew we didn’t have a goalie and decided to step up and give it a try, even though I have never set foot in a goal cage before,” she says.
Head Coach Marge Redmond says the team has benefited from Martin’s role as goalie. “Everyone knew we needed to put someone in the cage and Abbie stepped up,” she says.
Redmond says there is more pressure in the keeper position and that it can also be an isolating position. She says it requires a lot of self-confidence.
Martin says her position places a lot more pressure and leadership responsibility on her. From the cage, she can see the entire field and where her teammates are. “There are so many ways to look at the game in that position,” she says.
Martin also says the goalie position can be stressful. She says as the “last resort” before the other team scores, it can feel as if she let her team down if the opposition scores.
“But when the games are 2 to 2 in overtime or even double overtime and you see that all your teammates are so tired they just can’t finish, but then somehow you get scored on … it’s a really disappointing feeling of defeat,” she says.
Redmond says the team has had a good season so far and credits Martin for her leadership.
“The team is working intensely and it may not have been so successful if Abbie had not volunteered,” she says. “We have had three overtime games and it shows how competitive we are in the conference.”
Martin says Redmond is teaching new drills in practice so the offense can finish shots better.
“Hopefully there won’t be any more of those close overtime games,” she says.
Redmond says though Martin had some second thoughts, she has made great improvement in her position.
“She is a good athlete and watching her now, compared to when she first started, it is a 180-degree turnaround,” Redmond says.” She looks like she has been doing it for years.”
The Bishops, who are 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference, play their next home game at 10 a.m. on Saturday against Lindenwood (Missouri).
On October 8, the team will hold a fund-raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at its game against Trine.