Back from injury, NCAC standout Artman mounts comeback

Tomorrow, the entire field hockey team will step on the field at home against Transylvania University. After winning a share of the conference title last season, they have every reason to be excited and optimistic about the upcoming season. For Amanda Artman ’10, tomorrow’s game will have an even more significant meaning.

The season opener will mark the first time Artman has been back on the field in over a year. With the exception of the first two games, Artman missed the entire 2007 season. Season ending injuries are setbacks to any athlete. For those who are named conference player of the year during their first collegiate season, season-ending injuries are tragic.

During her first-year campaign, Artman effectively took the opposing defense’s lunch money on a weekly basis, cleaning up more efficienctly than Windex. Artman started all 21 games, leading the team in goals, assists, points and shots on goal.

By the end of the season, Artman was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was a second team All-American. Forget beginner’s luck, Artman was a force to be reckoned with.

Artman’s sophomore campaign, however, was not nearly as successful. In the second game of the season, in a road game at Centre College, She injured her shoulder in what she soon learned was a season-ending injury.

As difficult as the injury was, Artman is able to see a gleam of silver lining. “[In the beginning], I was devastated. It was really hard at first, but without even knowing it, my teammates really got me through it. As hard as it was to be out all season, it was a growing experience for me both in terms of field hockey and in general,” she said.

While Artman was exasperated by the injury, she simply couldn’t stay away from the field. “I immediately went home that weekend [after the injury]. When I got to campus, I went to talk to [head coach Brenda Meese], she said to take a week off and not even come to practice. I remember sitting in my room at four, and I walked down to the field and said, ‘I couldn’t stay away,'” said Artman.

Immediately after Artman’s injury, the team lost its first four games, putting its record at 1-4. This stretch was the most difficult not only for Artman, but for the team as a whole.

In the end, though, the team was able to pull it out, winning eight of its last nine conference games for a share of the conference title.

This made Artman’s injury a little easier to stomach.

“It was hard when we started 1-4, not because I didn’t think they could do it, it was just that I was so frustrated that I couldn’t play. Towards the end [of the season], they did a complete 180. The freshmen and Brittany [Montgomery ’10] just dominated,” said Artman.

At the end of the season, the team finished 11-7 overall, winning a share of the title, but losing the NCAC Tournament Semifinals and losing out on a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

It was a fine season nonetheless, but the team possibly could have done even more damage with the conference player of the year on the field.

Artman prefers not to look at it in a negative way, instead accepting the situation for what it was. “Sometimes it’s hard not to say, ‘what if?’ The way I look at it is what’s done is done and I couldn’t play,” she said.

“More than anything else, it showed the depth of the program, and it showed we’re very capable of winning, no matter who’s on the field,” she said.

Artman indeed does plan to be on the field this year. From the looks of it, the team can plan on doing plenty of winning this season. After missing all of last season, Artman will likely have to plenty to do with it.