TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

March 4, 2015 — One arrival, one departure

In a reflection of the growth of Brooklyn as a borough of New York City, it was announced a month ago that the Long Island University campus in Brooklyn will be adding field hockey as a varsity sport in 2015.

The addition of another field hockey team in the New York metropolitan area is a good sign for the sport, especially in an area of the borough which has seen great growth and desirability the last five years. Two pro sports teams — basketball’s Brooklyn Nets and hockey’s New York Islanders — will be in the borough beginning this fall. Many young professionals have moved into neighborhoods abutting the university’s campus.

The Blackbirds will be playing in NCAA Division I as part of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference beginning this fall. It’s not known exactly where the team will play; LIU’s current multipurpose pitch is a rubber-based turf, but I wonder if a water-based facility is in the university’s plan.

But while we celebrate the start of a new team, a century-old field hockey tradition is set to end as early as this August. Sweet Briar College, whose field hockey history can be traced back to as early as 1920, has announced its decision to close its doors entirely, citing the difficulty of carrying on as a single-sex institution.

Sweet Briar, which is located near Lynchburg, Va., has not had the best of luck on the pitch the last few years. The Vixens have won exactly 10 games since 2008. But, as countless alumnae will tell you, the value of playing intercollegiate sports isn’t found in the wins and losses, but in being able to compete and to work together as a team towards a common goal.

It’s a great thing that Sweet Briar was able to give its student-athletes a chance to play field hockey as an athletic outlet for as long as they did, especially in a location so far away from the sport’s roots in Boston and Philadelphia. It is a proud tradition that will be missed.

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