As the final seconds ticked off the clock at Francis E. Henry Stadium, the Lady Monarchs field hockey team saw their season come abruptly to an end. The eighth ranked Monarchs traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to battle the top-ranked Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina.
The Tar Heels came out of the match with a substantial 3-1 victory. The Monarchs advanced to the matchup by defeating the ninth ranked Michigan Wolverines and doing it in a dominating fashion. Coming into this game, the Tar Heels were an impressive 22-1 overall. The Monarchs came in at a solid 15-5 record.
The Tar Heels were able to make a statement early behind the score of Charlotte Craddock off of a ricocheted pass. The second goal came when the lone corner of the first half was shot in by Caitlin Van Sickle; to add insult to injury, the goal came with thirty seconds left in the half. The Monarchs lone goal came in the second half when senior forward Kimberly Oakes scored on a crossed ball from Maartje van Rijswijk. Old Dominion was hoping to have a huge home field advantage with the winner of this matchup advancing to the championship round at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex in Norfolk.
Aside from the end of the 2012 season, Monarch fans also saw legendary coach Beth Anders on the sidelines for the last time. Many fans are sad to see Anders go. She has been a role model and a positive community figure for decades. Anders has numerous accolades to her name as she retires after 30 years in charge.
The Ursinus College product took the Monarchs to a record nine NCAA titles and retires as the winningest Division I coach in history with 561 wins. The Monarch Field Hockey pioneer was the first Division I coach to reach 500 wins. The Lady Monarchs have advanced to the NCAA tournament a record 30 times. Old Dominion will celebrate Anders’ career with a banquet on Jan. 12 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
In addition to Anders retiring, Old Dominion says goodbye to four seniors: Kimberly Oakes, Maartje van Rijswijk, Julie Hodge and Marla Petriello. The expectations will be set high for the successor of Anders, as the Monarch program and fans are accustomed to being a powerhouse every year. The returning 16 players will help transition the team into a new philosophy easier.
Not only is the team young, but they are also a talented bunch. Freshman forward Sarah Breen, junior midfielder Kati Nearhouse, redshirt junior back Christy Longacre and sophomore back Kelsey Smither were all named to the All-Region team. Longacre also garners the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Although the season came to a bitter end, the Monarchs took many positives out of their loss, and their season cumulatively. Next season, there will be many new faces, and many old, but coach Anders’ success will not be forgotten.
By: Mitchell Brown