Everybody loves winning championships, but sometimes storybook endings don’t need to involve hardware. For senior defender Ai Nishino and senior midfielder Kalli Krumpos, a win in their final Big East game would be a victory in its own right, a fitting sendoff for two four-year players and teammates.
On Saturday, the Georgetown field hockey team (2-15, 0-5 Big East) will not be playing for a championship. They will be playing for pride when they travel to the home of conference rival Providence (4-13, 1-4 Big East).
Neither the Hoyas nor the Friars have had the kind of success they hoped for this season. The Hoyas, who currently sit last in the Big East, have lost 12 straight games and have scored only three goals in their last six contests.
“We’re just trying to get more scoring opportunities [and] trying to earn more corners,” Marsh said. “That’s been our main focus for the last two weeks.”
Even with the string of losses, strong defensive performances against talented and experienced programs give the Blue and Gray hope going into the final contest.
“With the way that we’ve been playing against Villanova and [American], I think we’ve stepped up a little bit. We’ve played a little bit more of a sophisticated style instead of just run-and-gun,” Marsh said. “So if we can just keep doing that, we’ll be okay.”
Providence has allowed six goals in each of its last two games, so Georgetown will attempt to put some pressure on the Friars’ defense in the early going.
“They’re competitive within the Big East. They’re similar to a Villanova or a Rutgers,” Marsh said. “They’re definitely beatable, but they play a Big East style of hockey — they’re good — but I think we have chance against them.”
The biggest focus for Georgetown will be on finally winning a conference match, something that would be a welcome consolation prize in a season filled with disappointment.
“I think it would be huge. It would be great for our two seniors,” Marsh said. “They’ve put in so much time and effort to our program and to win on the road, it would be great for us.”
Marsh is particularly emotional about seeing Nishino and Krumpos leave, because they were a part of her first recruiting class and have been key communicators between the coach and her players for the past four years.
“They have elevated the work rate effort across the board. They lead by example constantly in their actions in practice, they’re both really good people and they’re great friends to their teammates,” Marsh said. “They’re very passionate about our program because they have put so much time into taking itsomewhere.”
Still, Marsh refuses to sugarcoat anything. This season hasn’t gone as planned.
“It didn’t reach our expectations. We were hoping it to be a little better than it was,” Marsh said. “But we do have a really good group of girls here.”
Recruiting has also given Marsh confidence that for Georgetown field hockey, the best is yet to come.
“We have a group of seven freshman coming in, all very talented, combined with the experience of our nine [rising seniors],” Marsh said. “That’s going to make for some exciting stuff next year.”
As for Saturday, Marsh knows emotions will be running high, and she hopes that it will provide the team with a spark.
“We have to leave everything out there,” Marsh said. “[And] not have any regrets.”
Marsh hopes that a spark will be enough to end the season well, giving her team an unconventional storybook ending but one it would certainly cherish.
The Hoyas and Friars are set to face off Saturday at 1 p.m. in Providence, R.I.