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Title
SUMMER 2000
VOLUME 5
NUMBER 1

MHC In The Media
Creative Classrooms: Innovative Ways of Teaching and Learning

Joanne Creighton
The Classroom
As Cinema

Joanne Creighton
From Soup Kitchens to Capitol Hill

Beverly Daniel Tatum
Student By Day, Broadcaster By Night

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Mount Holyoke College

Nearly a century ago, when British field-hockey enthusiast Constance Applebee spread the gospel of stickwork and shooting skills to New England's elite college campuses, Mount Holyoke women were among the first to see the light. They relished the fast-paced dribbling across the fresh-cut autumn grass, the grip of the hooked hardwood stick, the whack of wood against a leather ball. They practiced the scoop, flick, and push, mastered the dodge, pass, and tackle. And fifty years into the century, they trimmed--that is, walloped--Harvard's men.

Today, in their pleated navy kilts, white shin guards, and cleats, a new generation of field hockey players at Mount Holyoke competes in a dynamic game that combines speed, control, and strategic foresight. To the delight of their fans, the "Lyons" have surged into the twenty-first century with a Rookie of the Year and two All-Conference Team picks. The season's thirteen victories began with an opening game shutout of Simmons College. By late October, the tenacious team had advanced to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship game. Though seeded number four and edged out by Springfield College 2 to 1, the team was invited to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament--a Mount Holyoke first.

(L to R) Laura Sasur '02, Bridget Lee '02 (behind) and Amy Gimbel '03 fight for possession of the ball against Amherst College women.

Andrea Whitcomb, who has coached Mount Holyoke's field hockey and softball teams since 1998, says that in thirteen years of coaching she has not seen players with the kind of spirit and cohesion exhibited by Mount Holyoke's current close-knit group. "They are the epitome of a team, the kind a coach dreams of," she says, "the kind that breaks bread together--travels to Boston together off-season." Included in the lineup of stellar first-year players, Mount Holyoke's scrappy midfielder, Amy Gimbel '03, was voted the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year. In May, she was honored as Mount Holyoke's Most Valuable Player. "Amy is fast, strong, down and dirty," Whitcomb says of the New Jersey athlete whose mother (Irene LeFloch Gimbel) graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1972. Gimbel and Krista Lindquist '03, the team's high-scoring forward, were also named to the All-Conference Team.

Gimbel, who began playing field hockey in the sixth grade and is also a passionate equestrian, demonstrates substantial competitive drive and team spirit. She is, as Whitcomb says, "one of those flashy players who carries people on her back." Gimbel insists credit goes to Whitcomb, who she says inspires the players to perform at the top of their game. "It's a fabulous time to be a part of the Mount Holyoke team," Gimbel says. "Coach has definitely turned this program around. I couldn't be happier--she's just amazing. We took a lot of teams by surprise."

Coach Whitcomb is a skilled tactician and an accessible and devoted leader. Her coaching incorporates what has become a familiar "3-D" mantra among the players: "I'm demanding, demonstrative, and sometimes difficult," Whitcomb tells them. Summer workout schedules are custom-designed by the coach for the players, some of whom attend field hockey camp, and are followed by rigorous preseason scrimmages and drills. Such faithful conditioning led to such season high points as this year's victory over Smith College--the first in thirteen years on Smith's home turf.

Whitcomb insists accolades go to all her players, many of whom were cited in the year's athletic department awards, and to her assistant coach, Erica Johnston, a three-time All-American at UMass. The team's goalkeepers, Katie Davis '03 and Elizabeth Wishart '03, received Impact Player awards for their formidable blocking techniques, which were instrumental factors in the team's success, says Whitcomb. She also cites the offensive skills of her three first-year forwards, Lindquist, Coleen Colahan, and Rebecca Lee. The coach describes Rebecca's older sister, Bridget Lee '02, and Christina Petrigliano '02 as "old standbys--just really solid every time." And Jenny Eftychiou '02, who plays back, "had a great season for us defensively and in fact is our most improved player." With the past season's many successes, Whitcomb believes the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament is now within reach. "The team had a fantastic season," she says. "Mount Holyoke has become a strong presence in the game. It's a new era for us, and we're looking forward to an exciting future."

 

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Copyright © 2000 Mount Holyoke College. This page created and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on September 1, 2000.