Sticking With It: Kim Sheaffer
Kim Sheaffer

Nov. 11, 2011

The eighth-ranked University of Michigan field hockey team enters NCAA Tournament play this Saturday (Nov. 12) against No. 9 New Hampshire in Chapel Hill, N.C. Game time is at 2 p.m. This week, sophomore Kim Sheaffer talks about the Big Ten Tournament, the painting of the rock and the upcoming weekend.

This past weekend, we traveled to Penn State University for the Big Ten Tournament. Our hopes were high as we were looking to defend our conference championship. We finished strong in a 4-1 first-round win over Iowa. Unfortunately, Penn State outscored us in the second half of Sunday's final and we now look forward to bouncing back in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

On Monday night, we had some team bonding by painting the rock. This is an annual field hockey tradition and our seven freshmen did an awesome job covering the rock in maize with UMFH highlighted in bold blue. Upon completion, we sang loud and proud, "Hail to the Victors." It is always a fun experience.

On Tuesday night, broadcasted the Division 1 field hockey tournament selection show, where the top 16 teams in the country find out what four-team bracket they've been placed in, who their first-round opponent will be, and where they will play. Our entire team, coaches, and staff gathered in Weidenbach Hall anxiously awaiting our fate and fortunately, we did not have to wait very long. A few minutes into the show "Michigan" was announced and we knew we were heading to back to UNC.

We find ourselves in exactly the same position as we were at this time last year, traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a first-round game on Saturday, Nov. 12. Our bracket consists of UNC, Ohio University and our first opponent, New Hampshire, who finished the season ranked No. 9 in the country. We are now focusing on them and getting ready for a great few days of practice.

It's time to start our "second season" and we look forward to a successful weekend. We are four wins away from where we all want to be -- national champions!

Go Blue!

The seventh-ranked Michigan field hockey team starts postseason play with the Big Ten Tournament. This morning, the Wolverines are facing Iowa for a chance to play in the championship game. This week, sophomore Ainsley McCallister talks about winning the regular-season title and upcoming tournament play

I'm writing this now on our seven-hour bus ride to Penn State where we will be competing in the BIG TEN TOURNEY! Our expectations are high after winning the Big Ten regular-season championship this past Friday. Hearing that buzzer sound, with the score 4-2 over the Indiana Hoosiers and knowing we had won the regular season was such an amazing feeling.

Ainsley McCallister

All the double days, the 7 a.m. suicides, the sweat and all of Michelle Roberts' blood had well paid off! It's the hard preparation that has got us in the position we are today. We realize we have reached one of our core goals for this season; this is an exciting and huge step for both this year's team and for the program overall. We also realize that this team is now starting an entire new season... the post-season. Here we will hopefully continue to reach our remaining goal and on November 20th stand as national champions!

Monday, our team met in the Big House where we walked down the tunnel with "The Team, The Team, The Team" written in block letters above our heads. We gathered in a circle around the block M feeling something so powerful as we stood together in the center of the biggest stadium in the U.S. Here ,we did a scavenger hunt and some other activities that proved the essentialness of "Focus, Detail and Positivity," which are our cornerstones from here on out.

This past week, like all others, on and off the field we've been working hard towards reaching our full potential as a team. As the number-one seed, we've been given a bye on Thursday for the first round of the tournament. Therefore, we're looking forward to our game on Friday at 10 a.m. where we will play the Iowa Hawkeyes. It's always a challenge to be the Number one seed, and as Marcia says "we have a huge target on our back and every team is out to get us," but we're excited and ready for the challenge. Go Blue!!!

The seventh-ranked Michigan field hockey team goes for an outright Big Ten regular-season championship Friday afternoon (Oct. 28) against Indiana at 4 p.m., then celebrate Senior Day on Sunday (Oct. 30) against Stanford at noon. This week, senior Jess Allen puts into words what it means for her to play for a Big Ten title.

It's amazing, I'm already a senior.
Time flies, or maybe not. I guess it depends on whether or not you make the most of it.
"Seize the moment!" "Don't look over your shoulder!" "No regrets!"
Creeds, clichés and half-baked notions.
I say...

Jess Allen

Work hard and play's a balance. It's simple. It's life.
The Big Ten regular-season championship is in our sites.
We have an opportunity to make history on my last weekend, our last weekend as seniors, and our last home weekend as a team. This team.

Team (def: to be together no matter the cost or sacrifice; having ones back when others walk away; a unique bond that will be with each and every teammate forever)

Today sets the stage and there is no bigger stage in college sports: the Big Ten Championship. Call it bragging rights, a feather in your cap, something on your resume; it's all worth the price that we have paid. We may have different backgrounds and cultures, but we have the same dreams.

Sacrifice (def: to do simple ordinary tasks with relentless discipline that others aren't willing to; giving yourself for the good of others; for the love of something)

Where you'll be in five, 10 or 20 years doesn't matter right now, but what does matter is what you'll be talking about. This life is built on the memories we've made. You'll remember the times when they kicked us down, but more importantly, right when we didn't think we could, you'll remember the times we stood up together, as this team. Set the stage. "Seize the moment!" "Don't look over you shoulder!" "No Regrets!" And yeah, no clichés!

Work hard and play's a balance. It's simple, it's life.

Oh yeah and remember...this is our day.

The seventh-ranked Michigan field hockey team has a pair of road contests this weekend, taking on Michigan State this Friday (Oct. 21) at 4 p.m. and North Carolina this Sunday (Oct. 23) at 1 p.m. Senior Hannah Dawson talks about the big win over No. 6 Penn State and the rivalries, both with MSU and her sisters.

Each weekend of the season holds a new test. This past weekend, we passed that test. With the combination of stellar defense, smart play in the midfield, and glamorous goal scoring, Michigan earned a well deserved A in the form of a W. The sweet taste of victory over highly talented Penn State settled within the coaches, players, fans, and families who supported the Wolverines that day. However, when Tuesday rolled around, the team headed back to Ocker Field and the win from the previous weekend was put behind us. We looked forward to a week of preparation in order to pass our next set of tests, Michigan State and North Carolina.

Hannah Dawson

Theme of the week: Rivalry. Every great rivalry is driven by competition and built by history. Without the self motivation to better ourselves in order to exceed others and the eager need to prove these extremities by winning, rivalries would not exist.

Any match-up between the Wolverines and the Spartans is always a guaranteed battle. Just think back to last weekend when the football teams met. People paraded around the town, chanting, cheering, partying and wearing their team's colors in support of the game. There was an enormous amount of hype and energy in the city of East Lansing and inside the football stadium. All of the emotion and chaos stem from this great rivalry between the two universities. So when the whistle blows Friday at 4, all of the rankings and previous accomplishments will not matter. It will be about the 70 minuets on the clock and the preparation done for that moment. Great rivalries compel every player to work, run, and play much harder than previous games, because beating your rival isn't just a satisfying feeling or another W on the record, it's how you're remembered. This is what makes any match-up between the Wolverines and the Spartans a guaranteed, gritty, toe-to-toe battle.

The second match of the weekend verses North Carolina is a more personal rivalry in which I will be playing against my sisters. Whether it is the Yankees vs. Red Sox, Michigan vs. Ohio State, or Sparta vs. Athens, I believe there is only one rivalry that surpasses them all, sibling rivalry, which subconsciously begins the minute your born and lasts a lifetime. The exclusive nature and uncommon sentiments of this rival is what makes it the greatest. There are no fans or spectators cheering for a side, the only way to be apart of it is to be born into it. And unlike many of the rivalries mentioned above, there are no feelings of hatred or disrespect. The only feeling in this rivalry is the rare and deep routed love shared only between siblings. Growing up with seven siblings, there was always competition to be won, who wore the most stylish outfit to the family New Year's Eve party or who could eat the most at the seafood buffet. This weekend, however, the competition will be the game of field hockey. Playing the Tar Heels for the second time this season will be a good indication of the growth of our team from the very first match until now. We've learned from the first match and with every passing practice and game, we've prepared for the second to not make the same mistakes we made in the past. The most important piece of this game is that the Wolverines gain the confidence needed to end the regular season and to begin postseason play. However, if by any chance my sisters and I go up against each other, there will be nothing shy of an extra elbow and a smile reassuring our friendly but yet competitive sibling rivalry.

This upcoming weekend will have many other attached emotions and sentiments due to these rivalries, but in the end, it won't be any of the rivalries that help the Wolverines prevail, it will be the result of our preparation.

The 10th-ranked Michigan field hockey team hosts No. 6 Penn State this Sunday (Oct. 16) at noon at Ocker Field. In this week's blog, sophomore Mallory Albini talks about this past weekend's games at Northwestern, a visit to the Michigan-Northwestern football game and "Gotcha", a new game that's sweeping the nation.

For those of you who haven't watched the "Inside Michigan Field Hockey Video" about our game "Gotcha", I would highly recommend it. If you haven't, you can disregard this paragraph completely. First and foremost I would like to call out Aline Fobe on the behalf of Haley Jones... learn how to whisper. Next I would like to call out Haley Jones; I would suggest you keep in mind that your locker is next to mine and then reconsider the text you sent me earlier which read "watch out". All I am saying is that revenge can be swift and sweet.

Mallory Albini

On a lighter note, this past weekend in Chicago was one to be remembered. Not only did we come back from being down 0-2 in our game vs. Northwestern and win 3-2 in double overtime (with a big thanks to Marcia's motivational time-out talk in the second half), but we turned around the next day with the drive we needed to win again. I would like to say a big part of that turnaround was the hearty meal we received at Sammy Gray's amazing house right there in Evanston. The Gray's opened their beautiful home to our whole team and extended families for some classic Chicago style deep dish pizza, salad, pie and, of course, we ended up even dipping into the massive bowl of Jelly Belly's in the dining room.

Saturday afternoon came around and we were exhausted mentally and physically. Somehow we mustered up the energy to go cheer on our football team as they took on Northwestern in Evanston (another big thanks to our coaching staff for pulling together some tickets last minute and making it possible). We caught our second wind and you would have never guessed we had played two games that weekend by the way Bryn Bain was screaming for Denard or how Leslie Smith was jumping on the front row bleachers engaging the crowd and ultimately getting a football thrown to her from 30 rows back. Sammy Gray, Michelle Roberts, and Kim Sheaffer even got caught on camera by MGoBlue photographers cheering at the game! Well, Sammy and Michelle were cheering, Kim was taking pictures... but there's not much surprise there. Needless to say, we enjoyed our trip to Evanston and it was nice to come away from the weekend with two wins.

With all of that being said, when Tuesday came around the weekend was behind us, we tucked it away in our memories so that we could focus fully on the weekend ahead. We are working hard on and off the field preparing ourselves mentally and physically for our game against Penn State. We are excited for the Sunday matchup and looking forward to having friends and family at our game to cheer us on. Go Blue.

The Michigan field hockey team heads to Evanston, Ill., this weekend as the Maize and Blue faces Northwestern (Friday, Oct. 7, 3 p.m. CDT) and Yale (Saturday, Oct. 8, noon CDT). This week, junior/sophomore Haley Jones talks about this past weekend's win over Iowa and the Alumnae Weekend and about her new role as co-host of Inside Michigan Field Hockey.

Haley Jones

This past weekend, the Michigan field hockey opened its arms to the previous Wolverines who made this program what it is today. For this year's alumni weekend, we celebrated the 10th year anniversary of the 2001 NCAA National Championship team with over 175 alumni who came in from as far as Australia. The national victory was not only significant for the field hockey program but also for the University of Michigan, as it was the first women's national title in Michigan's history. Also recognized this past weekend was the 2010-2011 Big Ten Tournament and Regular Season Championship team. This celebration meant all the more to us, coming off a 2-0 win against the Hawkeyes. The team played strong against Iowa with clutch performances by Christi Barwick, who earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Aline Fobe, who received Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week.

While on the field, Leslie Smith and I got to work on our newest jobs as Inside Michigan Field Hockey reporters. If you were lucky to catch last week's installment, you saw Leslie and I show off a little pregame ritual. On Saturday, we got to shoot this week's episode, which you can now see up on We had some fun showing off our announcing skills for a couple plays and even interviewed some of the 2001 National Champions. It may be hard to top our on-field interviews but stay tuned for next week's segment of Inside Michigan Field Hockey!

Overall, this past weekend gave us all a chance to spend time and catch up with the alumni. After an intense alumni game out on Ocker Field, we all got to head to the Big House for a lunch to finish up the weekend. All of the weekend's activities were motivating for the whole team to work that much harder every time we step on the field. This weekend we are headed to Evanston, Ill., for a big matchup against Northwestern followed by Yale on Saturday. We've been working hard in practice and are ready to continue the Big Ten season with some more W's on the schedule. Go Blue!

It's a very special weekend in Ann Arbor, as the Michigan field hockey team celebrates Alumnae Weekend and the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 national championship team. The Wolverines also face Iowa Saturday morning (Oct. 1) at 10 a.m., in a Big Ten matchup. Fifth-year senior Eileen Brandes talks about the week's practice and what this weekend means to her.

Eileen Brandes

Last weekend we headed down to buckeye country for our Big Ten opener and left with the bitter reality of déjà vu from the 2010 season, a 2-1 loss in the final two minutes. How do you swallow starting Big Ten play 0-1 to your nemesis, a team you had all the tools to beat? As Marcia says, when nerves start showing or things get wacky "Just run your legs and do the simple." So, that's what we did. It's been a hard week of practice, but every drill was designed with our upcoming opponent in mind, Iowa. Our team has been very focused despite intermittent downpours, but it's hard not to notice the familiar faces lingering around the complex these days, the ones we stare at on the windscreens day in and day out, the names of the people listed in our locker.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 national championship team, this alumni weekend is going to be one of the best yet. Our former assistant coach, Kristi Gannon Fisher, has been at practice all week helping out. Former teammates I played with are starting to arrive, and my mom and aunt, both alums, are gearing up to show the "youngins" that they're still a force to be reckoned with ( the cherry picker position)!

These are the people who brought our program to where it is today. It's their stories of success and adversity that keep us moving in the right direction. As I read the "Where are they now?" article on MGoBlue this morning, I realized that the 2001 team didn't win either Big Ten Championships and lost to Ohio...twice. Not that I'm foreseeing a complete repeat of that part of their season, but this little fact has allowed our team to fully appreciate that even the best teams have their roadbumps. It doesn't matter how you get there or how pretty it is, all that matters is that you're the only ones standing there in the end.

The Big Ten season opens up for the Michigan field hockey team this weekend. The Maize and Blue is at Ohio State Friday afternoon (Sept. 23) at 3 p.m. Michigan then visits Miami Saturday morning (Sept. 24) at 11 a.m. This week, sophomore Rachael Mack talks about the Big Ten season and the bus ride from Ann Arbor to Columbus.

Rachael Mack

As we open our Big Ten season this week, the annual rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan emerges strong. We begin our conference season with the way we ended it last year and this is an extremely exciting prospect for us. The past four games have provided quality wins for us with strong offense and defense. We are feeling ready for the challenge that the Big Ten is definitely going to bring and it is great to finally be at this point of the season.

After winning the Big Ten tournament last year we have high expectations for ourselves. There are many schools doing well this year and the conference is going to be filled with great games from great teams. This knowledge only spurs us to work harder and encourage each other further.

Aside from the hockey, on a funny note, while we travel to Ohio on our first road trip of the year we were joyfully subjected to the constant chitter chatter and storytelling of Hannah Dawson; while Marcia stomped up and down the aisle hunting for chocolate and Cheetos, despite the freshmen spoiling her rotten with so many treats when they got on the bus. We chose to watch a really girly film, at the dismay of the male members of our coaching team and everyone spent the majority of the trip laughing their heads off. The atmosphere on the bus was relaxed and cheerful, but in the back of our minds we were all excited about the big match fast approaching.

Michigan ends a four-game homestand this Saturday (Sept. 17) and Sunday (Sept. 18) as the Maize and Blue hosts Ball State and Boston University. In this week's Sticking with It blog, junior Liesl Morris talks about the atmosphere of last week's football game against Notre Dame and the intensity and going the extra mile in practice.

Liesl Morris

The question is simple -- will this weekend be able to outdo the excitement of the previous one? In terms of football, I assume the former will topple this coming Saturday against Eastern (at least I hope).

I have two reasons for mentioning football's breathtaking win against Notre Dame. The first, the event was historical -- the first night game in the Big House with a record breaking 114,804 fans. The second reason embodies the core facet that drew me to Michigan, the atmosphere. Throughout high school summers, thousands of parents drag their upcoming geniuses to every school they can reach. Every child tries her best to differentiate each university -- this spectrum stretches from food to male/female ratio on campus. But before each student uncovers these very important facts, there is one that hits her without her awareness: atmosphere. The atmosphere of a place is not solely based on one aspect of a university, which makes it that much more notable. Michigan's atmosphere was, in a matter of speaking, on steroids Saturday night. The day-long celebrations overflowing the streets; the meticulous planning of tailgaters in case of rain (the corner of Granger & State's setup of five tents and a HDTV); the endless chants of "Go Blue" and "Hail to the Victors." You cannot find this energy anywhere else in the world. That, I must say, is a great accomplishment, and exactly the reason I chose the University of Michigan because when you step on campus as a high school student there is a dull intensity that hits you. It derives from the people -- the students, professors, workers and any affiliated with the university. Everyone at Michigan is proud to be at Michigan. Atmosphere is a byproduct of that.

Now the field hockey connection. As the overall atmosphere of Michigan is a product of the university and its people, the University of Michigan field hockey team takes that character and intensifies it -- very similar to Saturday's tone. We are 22 girls that see each other at least three hours a day. We are driven to the line of fatigue and step over it, together. We sweat, bleed and push each other to the brink of insanity (I use insanity to emphasize the pushing -- literally and figuratively). So when I say that the Michigan atmosphere had an adrenaline rush on Saturday, and I connect this fierily, eccentric mood to University of Michigan field hockey, I want you to imagine such intensity being accomplished six days a week. As Marcia (Pankratz) reiterates, every time we wish to dissipate from the earth, "this is what it takes."

Atmosphere can offer a person support or gear her towards pushing boundaries. Michigan is magnificent because it offers both. As a team, we support each other, but, more importantly, we don't accept anything less than the best. During the second practice of a two-a-day in late August, we were in a drill and what could be explained as "lolligagging." Marcia called us in and asked us to reach as high as we could; we obeyed. Then, Marcia told us to reach higher, every single player reached higher. In that moment, we realized that reaching the bar was not enough. We can reach over the limit of fatigue, we can push our teammates harder and we can most definitely race to every ball faster than our opponent. Come out and see us show it on Saturday against Ball State and Sunday versus No. 14 Boston University. Go Blue!

Michigan returns to Ann Arbor to start a four-game homestand this weekend against Central Michigan (Friday, Sept. 9, 2 p.m.) and Bucknell (Sunday, Sept. 11, 1 p.m.). Sophomore Michelle Roberts talks about that homestand along with the trip back to her home state in this week's blog.

Michelle Roberts

As the announcer read the starting lineups Sunday (Sept. 4) in College Park, Md., I stood next to my teammates looking out into the crowd at all the support we had from our family and friends. I saw my high school coach, athletic director, two club team coaches, old teammates, and my family, knowing I would not be on this field without their dedication to helping me reach my dream. The journey to becoming a Wolverine started with three of my best friends -- Kasey Tapman, Maxine Fluharty, and Kirstie Dennig -- who all had the same dream to play in college. As their names were announced but on the opposing side on the University of Maryland, I realized the dream was a reality. I felt blessed I had those people in the crowd, on the field, my teammates, and coaches in my life to help make it come true and share the experience with.

There's nothing more motivating than having loved ones cheering you on and to play against. This has been a prominent theme the last two weekends; Hannah (Dawson) playing against her sisters on UNC and Jess (Allen) having her sister on an opposing team for Iowa during the ACC/ Big Ten Challenge. And since I mentioned two Jersey girls in this paragraph I can't leave out the third or how delicious our Friday dinner was at Bryn's (Bain) house in Berlin, N.J., where we got insight to wear the Jersey girls came from. Speaking of food, we also had an amazing tailgate with all our wonderful families after the Temple game with authentic Philly cheese steaks.

Now back to field hockey. I feel our experience from the past four games puts us in good position for this weekend. Earning our sixth straight overtime victory since the 2010 season, this time versus Temple, and playing toe to toe with the reigning national champion Maryland Terrapins has prepared us for the challenges ahead. Those challenges include classes, which started this week, and Central Michigan and Bucknell as opponents Friday and Sunday. As the 10-year anniversary of the 2001national championship at Michigan approaches, we strive to return it to Ann Arbor where it belongs. Go Blue!!

Michigan hits the road for the first time this week, as the Maize and Blue faces Temple (Saturday, Sept. 3, noon) and No. 1 Maryland (Sunday, Sept. 4, 1 p.m.). Senior Bryn Bain talks about those two contests as well as returning to New Jersey for a home-cooked meal and the cheese steak rivalry in Philadelphia.

Bryn Bain

This weekend is a weekend full of love and support from family and friends. I am also hopeful that it will be a weekend of success and victory. As we prepare for our matches against Temple and Maryland, I get the chance to show the rest of my teammates where I come from. On Friday evening, we will be traveling to my hometown of Berlin, N.J., to have dinner at my house where my parents will be cooking us a delicious dinner. I am excited to show my team and my coaches a different side of me, the side where my heart resides.

Along with a Jersey meal from my parents, Jess's mom is giving us a taste of Philadelphia by supplying us with the real deal -- Pat's King of Steaks. Those of you who are not familiar with the rivalry of Philadelphia cheese steaks, Pat's and Geno's have been at it since the beginning of time. This will be a first for me as well, testing out what Pat's is all about since I always venture across the street to Geno's for my fair share of Philadelphia eating.

In addition to some delectable food, (which, as you can tell, I am extremely excited for) many of my friends and family will be attending the games at Temple and Maryland, some whom have never seen me play a collegiate game. I am very excited to show them what Michigan field hockey is all about.

This weekend we have the chance to show the nation what a great team we are with Temple first on Saturday, and a rematch against No. 1 Maryland on Sunday. It's definitely going to be a challenge, but we are ready to embrace it. Go Blue!

The 2011 University of Michigan field hockey season begins this Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 27-28) as U-M hosts the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Ocker Field.

This week, redshirt senior Christi Barwick talks about the opening tournament, the reception in the Big House and a family reunion for two Wolverines.

Christi Barwick

Well it's the last weekend of August, and all of us on the field hockey team have one thing in mind, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge! With most of us surviving pre-season training with only a few bumps and bruises, we are ready to start out the 2011 season on our home turf against the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons. North Carolina and Wake Forest are very talented teams that are always a handful, but I feel confident in our ability to have a successful weekend.

This weekend always brings out the competitive side in the players, coaches and parents too. The field hockey world is a small one and we try to maintain close relationships with everybody in it. This Friday we will be hosting a dinner for all of the teams coming in this weekend for an opportunity to relax and socialize with each other before our seasons begin. The best part? The dinner is going to be held in the Jack Roth Suites at Michigan Stadium. I can't think of a better way to kick off the season than dinner with a VIP view of the Big House and newly renovated scoreboards.

In addition to some great competition, this weekend also brings a mini family reunion to a couple of my teammates. Seniors Hannah Dawson and Jess Allen both have sisters on the North Carolina and Iowa teams, respectively. Hannah will be facing some direct sibling rivalry this Saturday against her sisters Meghan and Melanie, while Jess can cheer on her sister Corinne until she faces her and the rest of the Hawkeyes later this season.

Saturday and Sunday are both sure to be full of a lot of great hockey and I encourage anyone who never seen field hockey before to come out and watch us play. We will not disappoint!

Here's to the start of a great season! We hope to see you all out there Saturday and Sunday at noon! Go Blue!