Old Dominion Lady Monarchs Season In Review
NORFOLK, Va. - The 2013 Lady Monarchs 12-game winning streak led ODU to their 31st NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, and fourth consecutive since 2010.
The season began in December 2012 when Andrew Griffiths took over for the legendary Beth Anders.
"The memory that stands out from this season is the resilience of our team," said ODU Field Hockey Head Coach Andrew Griffiths - "the ability to remain strong and build success, despite many challenges prior to the season, and a difficult start in the first few games. The players trained and played with tremendous heart."
In a time of transition Griffiths took over a team that was heading into their first season in the Big East. Natalie Barrett, Amy Swensen, and Marla Petriello had their inuaugural year as Assistant Coaches. The first seven games gave their entire new staff a chance to see where their team was and how everyone was adjusting to their new role.
On the weekend of August 30 the season began with No. 6-ranked Penn State and unranked American. The Lady Monarchs took both team's best shot as they survived American with an overtime goal scored by Rosario Villagra. ODU faced the toughest 7-game stretch out of anyone in the country to begin the season- Five teams ranked in the NCAA top-10, and six of the seven ranked in the top-20. ODU fell in six of the seven games, all to the ranked opponents, but were not completely knocked out.
Captains Christy Longacre, Kelsey Smither and Rosario Villagra got the team together after the 3-2 overtime loss to Louisville and put together a new plan of attack.
Whatever the plan was it seemed to work as ODU defeated Michigan State, Providence, Quinnipiac, Georgetown, Villanova, Temple, and William & Mary by a combined 30-2. At that point in the season ODU had shutout five consecutive opponents and looked as if they could compete at the top of the Big East.
The season continued with Old Dominion having to face the No. 1, 2 and 4 ranked teams in the country in consecutive games. ODU battled No. 1 Maryland in College Park and defeated a No. 1-ranked Terrapin team for the second straight year with a game-winning 3-2 decision coming off the stick of Rosario Villagra.
The home stretch continued with No. 4 Connecticut and a senior day game against No. 2 North Carolina. Old Dominion would not disappoint as they came out against Connecticut with an attitude of nothing to lose, winning 5-0 against the eventual National Champion UConn Huskies.
The following Sunday, Senior Day was emotional as ODU honored seniors Christy Longacre and Danielle Clutter. The Lady Monarchs completed one of their best games of the season with Clutter scoring the game-winner in a 3-2 overtime fashion against the Tar Heels.
One week later, ODU had a chance to win a share of their first Big East Regular Season Title as they faced Rutgers in the regular season finale. A Katy Fuhrman goal would give the Lady Monarchs the 1-0 regulation win and a share of the Big East conference title.
Big East Banquet Awards
Rosario Villagra was named Big East Offensive Player of the year, Christy Longacre was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and the ODU coaching staff was named the Coaching Staff of the Year. Villagra, Longacre and Kelsey Smither were named All-Big East First Team and Sarah Breen was named All-Big East Second Team.
The Big East Tournament
A 498-mile plane trip to Storrs, Connecticut led ODU to their first Big East Tournament appearance in school history.
Nicole Goff and Katy Fuhrman were the heroes scoring both goals against Louisville in the first Big East semifinal and ODU receieved another shutout coming from goalkeeper Megan Hept (her 8th in the last 12 games).
The Lady Monarchs found themselves ranked No. 5 (with a first place vote) and taking on the UConn Huskies in the final. For 70 minutes Old Dominion and Connecticut battled with neither team scoring a goal. The Huskies would sneak away with the Title, but ODU proved once again they were one of the top teams in the country.
Christy Longacre, Kelsey Smither and Nicole Goff were named to the Big East All-Tournament Team. Longacre and Clutter were named to the NFHCA Senior Game. Longacre, Smither and Villagra were named to the NFHCA All-South Region First Team, while Megan Hept and Sarah Breen were named to the NFHCA All-South Region Second Team. Smither and Longacre would also be named Longstreth/NFHCA All-Americans.
The NCAA Tournament
Old Dominion faced ACC-opponent Wake Forest in the NCAA First Round from Chapel Hill, N.C. The road to the 2013 NCAA Championship in Norfolk ended with the Lady Monarchs losing 3-2 to the Demon Deacons. The journey ended much sooner then anyone that is an ODU fan wanted, but so many memories were made.
In Their Own Words- What was most memorable about this season?
"I enjoyed everything about this season, from the up's and down's. Working with the new coaching staff and getting out of our rut of 1-6 was the most memorable for me. Also, beating the #1, 2 and 4 within a week was pretty amazing."
"Beating UNC and Maryland!"
"Definitely winning against #1, 2 and 4 in the country in two weeks, that was the best feeling ever. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the teams company- the chemistry and fun we have with one another is like no other!"
"My most memorable moment was beating #1 Maryland on their own field with my 17 sisters. No better feeling."
"Beating Maryland, UNC, and UConn. I can't really narrow it down anymore than that, because those three games were the peak of our season and I had a lot of fun competing in those games. We really came together in that time of the season and shared some great moments. Those are the games you remember most and the games that remind you why you play and love the sport."
"My most memorable moment was winning against Maryland, when the team ran into a giant huddle and celebrating with them."
"The most memorable moment for me, was standing on the field watching the team pile up and celebrate our win over UNC in Overtime on our field...winning on Senior Day for Danni & Christy, and realizing how far we had come as a team from our struggles at the beginning of the season."
"The whole season was memorable, every single moment of it made the season special. But the most memorable moment was the day we started winning after so many upsets. We realized that our season wasn't over and we still could change it. And that's what happened. I remember one day we lost and I hugged Kelsey Smither and she said, "I swear it will pay off one day." After we beat Maryland I told her that it was finally paying off and I can't really explain how happy everybody was after that game. Not just because we had played an awesome game against an amazing team, but because we played the best game of the season as a real team."