The Michigan field hockey team has always been extremely
unified, and this year it is also a particularly diverse team.
Senior Jessica Blake from Perth, Western Australia, leads the
Wolverines with a unique style of play that she acquired from age 8
back in Australia.

Field Hockey
Senior Kate Dillon and the Wolverines pride themselves on their diversity.

“Learning to play in Australia showed me a different pace
of play, especially with much more forward attacking,” Blake
said.

The team has players hailing from around the United States and
from around the globe, including Blake, freshman Lucia Belassi from
Paysandu, Uruguay, and freshman Lauren Conforzi from Mississauga,
Ontario. Each player brings something special to the team. Although
these athletes come from different backgrounds, unity is a
component that seniors focus on to keep the team strong. Respect,
on and off the field, is a key element the players hope to keep
intact.

“As seniors, we work with the freshmen so they can trust
and respect what we have to say,” Blake said. “We also
make sure we can accept and give constructive criticism.”

Along with team bonding, Blake, as well as the other team
leaders, have put a great deal of effort into making every player
realize her love for the game. These seniors rave that they have
never seen a team quite like this year’s. With their time at
Michigan rapidly dwindling, these dedicated players hope to shape
the program before they leave, working hard to help athletes bring
all they have to each practice and game.

Even with the variety of playing styles and strong unification
among players, Michigan (2-2) has not had an easy start to its
season. After losing seven seniors from last year’s squad,
the Wolverines quickly realized through two losses against North
Carolina and Wake Forest that they have a tough job ahead of them
to turn the season around. Senior captain and Grand Rapids native
Kate Dillon had no problem moving into a leadership role at defense
to help correct mistakes, and was able to lead the Wolverines to
their two victories against Maine and New Hampshire.

“The best way to gauge our teams ability was playing
against the harder teams,” Dillon said. “After North
Carolina, we saw that our game speed was something we would have to
focus on and we quickly fixed that for our following two games. We
realized we had to set the tempo and can no longer allow ourselves
to play below our level.”

With a range of playing styles from each athlete, the Michigan
field hockey team looks forward to coming together for a rewarding
season and will take the next step when it plays Syracuse
today.

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