Waterloo’s field hockey team has welcomed their best start to a season in a decade. It’s also the strongest start Head Coach Maria Leahy has seen throughout her nine years of coaching. However, Leahy isn’t the only one seeing the team’s efforts, as the Warriors are currently ranked first in their division and fifth in Canada.
The season started with a bang when the Warriors knocked out University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues, a team the Warriors haven’t been able to beat in 10 years. Typically their strongest competitor, the Warriors have previously only beat the Varsity Blues once. The Warriors went on to win against both Queen’s and McGill, and briefly lost to York before returning to victory against McMaster.
When asked what the key was to such a successful season is, Leahy emphasized the strengths of the entire team. Leahy explained that “everyone is playing at a really high level” and she marvelled at the “strong group of girls.”. Leahy added that each member brings a different strength to the team, and she highlighted the outstanding efforts of the rookies this year. Leahy commented on rookie Brooke Walshe’s fierce intensity and tenacity on the field, as well as rookie Tiffany Binkle’s exceptionally calm approach to the game.
Regardless of their success this season, the Warriors have refused to grow cocky, and are preparing for another tough match against Western’s Mustangs tonight. The Warriors picked up a 4-2 win against Western in last night’s game. After losing to the Mustangs in the Ontario University Athletics quarter-finals last year, Leahy said the Warriors have been “out for revenge”. Western is historically a tough opponent, and the Warriors are heading into tonight’s game expecting nothing less than brutal competition.