After just qualifying for Division One at the 2018 University Nationals, the University Women’s Hockey team will be out to impress on the Gold Coast this September.
Following a disappointing tenth place finish in 2017, the team is out for redemption on the pitch this time around. The challenge to represent the University at the national level again this year is an exciting one, as the women’s team is set to compete against the best intervarsity athletes in the country in an elite environment.
With the shift from University Games to University Nationals this year, comes a cultural shift in the perception and intensity surrounding the event. A shift that is reflected in the attitude of co-managers, Laura Travis and Maddy Fogarty who are assured of the team’s single-minded focus.
“We will be there to win,” Travis said. “We are not going to the Nationals to make up the numbers, we are going to perform.”
Travis is particularly excited to see how much the team has improved over the past twelve months.
“We have a lot of returning players, the majority of whom have played together all season here for Melbourne University Hockey Club,” she said. “Everyone is a better player now than they were this time last year.”
In terms of preparation, too, the team are doing everything they can to put themselves in the best position to bring home gold for the University. Along with Club finals, the intervarsity squad has also been taking part in an extensive program of group training sessions before travelling to the Nationals, with plans to train four more times before getting on the plane.
Equally exciting for the team is the fact that they will be playing on world class facilities. The Gold Coast Hockey Centre, which was purpose built for the Commonwealth Games, will play host to the hockey throughout the University Nationals.
“It certainly raises the standard, playing on those sorts of facilities,” said Travis. “It really is a privilege and I know the team can’t wait to get out there.”
The University Nationals will see up to 350 student-athletes and support staff represent the University of Melbourne across 32 men’s and women’s teams and takes place on the Gold Coast from 22-27 September.