I didn’t want to go too much longer without commenting about a major coaching change in the Division I field hockey ranks.
Former U.S. international Carla Tagliente, one of the leading scorers in the history of the National Federation, and part of what might be the greatest front line in NCAA history, has resigned from her position with the University of Massachusetts to take the head coaching job at Princeton.
Tagliente had, in her years at Massachusetts, developed a good culture within the team. Her teams had won three out of the last four Atlantic 10 postseason tournaments, and she was able to win 64 games in her five seasons, playing a challenging schedule and coming to within a game of the Final Four in 2013.
The move may have been a logical step up for her, but I would have loved to have seen her take her promising 2016 side, and perhaps with some future recruits within the state of Massachusetts, to try to make a serious run at a national title.
You see, UMass was the runner-up in the inaugural NCAA Division I championship in 1981, and has not made a final since. There have been exactly 10 schools which have won an NCAA Division I field hockey title, and, for the time being, it is going to be very difficult for a team outside of the ACC, the Big Ten, and the Big East’s field hockey-only conference (which this year includes Georgetown, Liberty, Old Dominion, Connecticut, Villanova, Temple, Providence, and Quinnipiac) to win a national title.
It’s instructive to note, however, that one of the teams that has won a national championship in the last 35 years is Princeton. Tagliente has a good freshman group to build from heading into future seasons, and I think she will do splendid work at Old Nassau.