Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for May 17, 2007

May 17, 2007 — A 20-year dormancy

The late 1970s had a rich history of community college field hockey in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Teams from the Southern Tier to the Jersey Shore to the Poconos regularly met each other.

The gradual decline of community college field hockey, however, coincided with the repurposing of some two-year college campuses. One of these, Keystone Community College, became a four-year institution in 1998, a decade after it dropped field hockey.

But Keystone College recently announced its intention to revive the varsity field hockey program for the fall of 2008.

Keystone had its greatest moment in 1977, when it reached the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship game. But it will be a different world when the new varsity team steps out back onto Bailey Field the autumn after next.

Keystone will have to compete directly with area colleges such as King’s, Wilkes, Misericordia, and Scranton for Division III recruits. All the while, Division I schools have mined the rich talent of the region, which now boasts many of the best high school players and teams in the country.

And it will be a while before Keystone gets a sniff of the postseason; of the schools in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, only Wilson College, Wells College, and Philadelphia Biblical University have the sport, meaning that an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament is out of the question.

The coaching staff will have several very difficult years ahead, but that’s the nature of starting up a field hockey program after a 20-year dormancy. I’ll be interested to see how this team evolves and emerges.