Midfielder Katie Hyland ’11 having a ‘field’ day

Sports Staff Writer
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Field hockey midfielder Katie Hyland ’11 may be gone next year, but she will certainly not be forgotten. Despite playing the last game of her Brown career last weekend — a 3-2 win over Yale in which she provided the assist on the game-winning goal — the Modern American History concentrator from Riegelsville, Pa., has solidified her place in the Brown record books.

After playing in all 68 games since her freshman year, Hyland earned a school record for most consecutive games started. She ends her four years as a Bear ranked fifth all-time for career defensive saves (4), ninth all-time for career assists (13), and 13th all-time for career points (41).

But Hyland’s success goes beyond her own personal accolades. As a captain of this year’s squad, she led the team to its best record in four years, 6-11 (3-4 in the Ivy League). After opening this season with four consecutive losses, the team rallied to earn three consecutive victories and tie Columbia and Dartmouth for fourth place in the Ivy League.

This week, Hyland was one of three Ivy League field hockey student athletes to be selected to play in the annual Senior Game, held this year at the University of Maryland on Nov. 20. For her ironwoman commitment during her four seasons at Brown, The Herald has named Hyland athlete of the week.


Herald: What do you credit the team’s three final consecutive wins to?

Hyland: Towards the end of the season, we were really determined to come out of the Ivy League not at the bottom anymore. We have had the talent, skill and the team cohesion, but for some reason something wasn’t adding up. We had been working hard and the team never gives up on anything … and so those consecutive wins were probably the best reward we could have had.


You haven’t had any injuries that forced you to miss a game. Why do you think that is?

I think it has a lot to do with the coaching staff and the regimens that they keep us on. It’s not too taxing — and I know some girls that have gotten hurt — but the athletic staff is also amazing making sure we get back out there and just being smart about your training.


How hard was it to come in as a freshman and start every game?

It was intimidating, especially coming in for preseason where I didn’t really know what to expect. My freshman year didn’t go so well — we went 1-16 — but the team was really welcoming and as I got more comfortable with the team, on and off the field, it just sort of flowed and I found my niche within the team. Then, as the years progressed, I sort of fell into my role, and now in my senior year I felt like I had the opportunity to learn a lot of things from a lot of people.


What do you think the hardest thing about field hockey is?

I would say just keeping up with wanting to better your fundamentals every day. You need those for every aspect, and people get a little blindsided with the flashy play, but it’s the fundamentals that you definitely have to work really hard at and then it will pay dividends.


How did you first get involved in field hockey?

I started playing in middle school, in the sixth grade. I was really just more into basketball. I thought that I was going to play basketball in college. But then I was encouraged to play field hockey, and I joined a club team in high school and we played through the winter and the spring and it just sort of became life.


Why did you choose Brown?

First and foremost, it is a great opportunity to get an Ivy League education. Secondly, the girls here on the team I felt like were my family from the moment I met them. The people here that I met on my official visit were amazing, and then the coaching staff — I knew I would be in good hands as a freshman and throughout my career with their guidance.


Who were your sports role models growing up?

I would have to say Diana Taurasi was definitely one of them because I was a big basketball fan. I looked up to her a lot as a leading female athlete. She was pretty much my idol.


Why do you think field hockey isn’t more popular in the U.S.?

Here’s a fun fact: It is the second-most-played team sport in the world, behind soccer. But it is not really a big deal in the U.S. because we are not very good at it as a national team in comparison to Australia or the Netherlands. Kids just aren’t getting into it as young as in other countries. I started in the sixth grade, and if you went to a foreign country, kids would be starting when they are seven or eight.


How does it feel knowing that you have played your last official game with Brown?

It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling. I don’t think it has hit me yet since it is only Day Two of non-athlete life. The team is a connection for life — they’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with them. Playing the last game was definitely emotional, but it was something that I will never forget. I will definitely value all of the memories I had here.


How did it feel going off with a game-winning assist?

That was definitely unexpected. It was a great play, and I will definitely remember that moment forever. Just the way that we won was so memorable, by one goal. And to have that assist in the record books is just a wonderful feeling.


What classes are you taking next semester?

Next semester, I am signed up already for five. I am probably going to continue with some history and then take some fun classes. Maybe some anthropology classes or a science class. I have yet to take a science class at Brown, so we will see.

You have the record for most consecutive starts, 13th all-time in points, ninth in assists, fifth in saves. Which record means the most to you?

Probably the consecutive starts. Not to be immodest or anything, but definitely just having that title, realizing that there are 68 games. They just flew by so fast. You look back and I don’t want to say I took it for granted, but that is a feat that nobody can ever take away from me.


What do you see for the team next year?

I see them just shattering the record we had this year. This is the best record in the past four years, and I can just see them working really hard to just put it to shame and to be in the top three of the Ivy League.


What advice do you have to incoming freshmen or girls in general who want to play field hockey?

I would say that it might seem like a lot of work, but the work will definitely be worth it.


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