The Michigan field hockey program reported back to Ann Arbor yesterday for the first official day of preseason. Less than 24 hours later, after a whirlwind day of meetings, head shots and equipment handout, they are already gone again.
The Wolverines will spend their 2014 preseason at the USA Field Hockey National Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va. The training center, part of the larger Virginia Beach Sportsplex, features a pair of turf fields which have hosted numerous national and international competitions since its 2001 opening. It is considered among the finest field hockey complexes in the country.
"This is a great opportunity for our program," said head coach Marcia Pankratz. "It gives us a chance to really focus on hockey, focus on getting fit and focus on building a strong team comradery. We're all focused and excited to get started. I think it's going to be a great trip for us -- an adventure -- and it's going to benefit us as we prepare for the season."
Many of the Wolverine players are familiar with the training center and the Virginia Beach area through their involvement with USA Field Hockey's annual National Futures Championship or one of the organization's age-level national teams. One particular Wolverine, junior Caroline Chromik, is even more familiar, growing up in nearby Yorktown, Va.
Preseason is a strenuous time with multiple daily practices and intense conditioning activities, but with less than three weeks until the season opener, it's crucial to establish a solid foundation and high benchmark.
"It's important for us to have a good preseason," said grad student Lauren Hauge, "and I think we're all ready and excited to work hard, have some fun and really come together as a team. Virginia Beach is one of the great field hockey hubs, so it's a motivating place to train and a privilege to be there. We plan to take advantage of it."
Michigan also plans to take advantage of their location near the beach to complement the grind with fun and team-building activities.
Michigan will travel directly to Chapel Hill, N.C., for its season opener at the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. U-M will open play against a pair of perennial powers, facing host North Carolina on Saturday, Aug. 30, before playing Wake Forest the following day. The Wolverines will debut at their newly remodeled Ocker Field on Saturday, Sept. 6, hosting William & Mary at 1 p.m. Admission is free for all home events.
Contact: Leah Howard