On September 5, the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference announced that senior goalkeeper Riley Thompson ’18 has been named NEWMAC Field Hockey Defensive Athlete of the week. She continues to earn the admiration of her teammates for her sense of duty, her ability to concentrate and the poise she displays in difficult and crucial situations.
Although the women’s field hockey season opener on September 2 resulted in a loss for Wheaton, Thompson made 31 saves, achieving a single season high and tying a Wheaton record for a single game. “I had a lot of high expectations for myself for the first game because as a returning starter and the captain of [the] team, I realized that I just [need] to be the backbone for everyone when things fall apart,” Thompson said. “I think this responsibility helped me stay focused.”
During the second game, Thompson played an important role in securing the win. Thompson reflected, “Even though we were expecting to win the game, we put a lot of effort to achieve it. The second half of the game, we definitely dominated…[because] we set the tone for the first half to win the game, and that was what [we were] trying to do.”
Given the high expectations, the third game against Union (N.Y.) was tough. In the end, however, the team picked up its second straight win. “Last year, we lost the game by one goal. The idea that we lost so closely last year really drove us this year,” Thompson said, adding that the team worked extremely hard in early August to prepare for this game. “We [were] really dedicated and wanted to win, and I think that’s showing.”
Other team members also expressed the happiness and satisfaction they felt from winning the game. Karin Dion ’20 said, “Though last year’s game was just very tough for us, we challenged ourselves in practice in order to get ourselves in the mindset that Union is going to frustrate us and to better prepare for that game. Glad we did it!”
The girls’ cohesive team bond really made a difference. Thompson’s leadership has also shown through not only during games but also in dealing with day-to-day matters. “[Thompson] has really good leadership skills [and is] especially good at communication,” Morgan Karin ’20 said. “We have 24 girls on our team but she is really good at passing along the messages. She is really encouraging. More importantly, she is the one who pushes you hard but at the same time praises you when you need [it].”
New player Bailey Karnes ’20 added, “[Thompson] is awesome both on and off the field. She knows your potential as a field hockey player and she really pushes you to reach that potential.”
Expressing the relationship between the girls on the women’s field hockey team, Dion said, “Our team environment is like a big sisterhood on campus and I am very glad to join this small community because I wouldn’t know what I [would] do without it. Everybody is a friend and it is just like a family, so that’s why you can always see us walk[ing] around together on campus.” It’s not hard to see where the team’s secret to success comes from.
“At the end of the day, no matter you win or lose, just [know] that you have [this] giant support system – more than 11 players…at your back on the field. More importantly, I know that once I have family issues or other difficulties, I have 24 girls to turn to, which is great!”
Thompson said. “Moreover, I want to help them as much as possible before I leave the team.”