Categorized | Sports

Women’s soccer and field hockey players earn awards

Ben Blotner

Senior Sports Writer

It was a successful fall season for many Fighting Scots athletes, as some of them managed to take home awards. Field hockey players Sydney Schuster ’21, Katie Shideler ’21 and Erika Womack ’19 were named to the NFHCA All-Great Lakes Region team, while soccer player Erica White ’19 was named Third Team All-America. All of these athletes credited strong coaching and good team chemistry for their outstanding performances.

Shideler and Womack credited Head Coach Jill Dixon for their individual successes as well as that of the field hockey team, which advanced to its first NCAC championship game since 2010.

“The coaching was different from before,” Shideler said. “It got more and more intense as the season went on. She really pushed us to our full potential and maximized our abilities.” 

According to Womack, Dixon helped the players stay in the moment, keep their heads level and take the season one game at a time. “She came in wanting to get this team to the championship game,” Womack said. 

Womack believes Dixon changed the program’s coaching philosophy, as she focuses more on strategy and increasing the players’ “field hockey IQ” rather than physical conditioning. She also stated a catchphrase the team has developed to praise their coach: “#JillRocks.”

Schuster mentioned how the team used its low preseason ranking as motivation throughout the season, believing it was “a lie.” Unlike in previous seasons, the players believed they could compete against challenging opponents. “We were able to turn difficult circumstances into uplifting ones,” Schuster said. “It’s all about positive thinking, believing we’re better than other teams.” The players credited Dixon for this teamwide attitude change.

When it came to the individual recognition, Schuster said, “It was really humbling for all of us. It was good to get with this team to the championship game and get Wooster’s name out there.” 

Schuster and Shideler said they were turned into stronger players by the team’s practices, which often pitted goal-scorer Schuster against goalkeeper Shideler. “I was really pushed as a goal-scorer by going up against one of the best goalies in the conference every day,” Schuster said.

Shideler was humble when discussing her award, saying, “It was cool to be recognized, but I couldn’t have done it without the team.”

Meanwhile, White was a crucial member of the women’s soccer team, which won the NCAC championship this season. Like the field hockey players, White praised her head coach, in her case David “Geordie” Brown. “In the last three years, he has built up the team by recruiting players, and it led to a conference championship,” she said. “The faith he has is unbelievable; he really believes we can succeed.”

A great deal of White’s and the women’s soccer team’s outstanding success can be attributed to the players’ terrific chemistry and ability to get along with each other on and off the field. “Our team acted more as a family unit than ever before,” White said. “We have more trust in each other to get the job done and succeed.”

As for her individual accolade, White said it took her by surprise, but that she was “very excited” and “did not expect to get an honor as high as All-American.”

It was good to see some of Wooster’s many talented athletes get the recognition they deserved, and we will hopefully see many other Scots win awards in the near future.

(Photo from Wooster Athletics)

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