FIELD HOCKEY | Despite Team's Stuggles, Butterfield Shines
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 01:10
With losing seasons the past 10 years, the Georgetown field hockey has had little reason to be cheerful. One bright spot this season, however, has been sophomore forward Sarah Butterfield.
“Sarah’s very consistent in the way she plays,” Head Coach Tiffany Hubbard said. “We especially got to see her fun competitiveness last spring when she really came out of her shell and gained more confidence.”
That confidence has produced great results, as Butterfield has led the team with six goals and one assist on the season. Particularly impressive were the two goals she scored against St. Francis.
Butterfield played field hockey at Oak Knoll High School in New Jersey, and the skills she developed in high school transferred smoothly to her college play. Although high school and college games are very different, Butterfield has fit in at Georgetown with a style of play that is conducive to scoring in closely-fought situations.
“I actually came from a high school that had a lot of really talented girls. It’s very similar to here,” Butterfield said. “I know a lot of my teammates stood out in their high school, but for me I was always just another strong player. I still score goals here and always try to do my job.”
Though a natural goal scorer, Butterfield has also been introduced to a more defensive mindset since coming to Georgetown. The team’s pressure containment strategy calls for forwards to play defensively in hopes of intercepting a pass or breaking up a play. Butterfield’s quickness and competitive spirit are particularly suited to Hubbard’s system.
“Everything is a competition with Sarah,” Hubbard said. “Whether it is a game or practice, she’s always looking to compete. Because she’s so fast and fiery, it brings out the energy of everyone else around her.”
Georgetown’s 2-10 record is the worst in the Big East, something that has weighed heavily on the entire team. However, despite her two Big East awards, Butterfield has maintained both a positive attitude and humility.
“I just want to keep doing my job. Those goals have come from my teammates doing their job and feeding the ball up and me being lucky enough to put it in the net,” Butterfield said. “I just want to keep scoring goals and continue being a team player, and hopefully with that, we’ll get a few more wins.”
Although preparing to face a nationally ranked team can be intimidating, Butterfield never dreads playing against top squads. In fact, she uses it as an opportunity to raise her own level of play and focus on the positives in her game. The rest of the team has adopted this mindset, as the Hoyas embrace the “low” expectations and often hold off top teams through the majority of the first half, which is an accomplishment when considering just how young the team is.
There is no obvious remedy for a terminally struggling program, but players like Butterfield are part of the solution. Her positive attitude and strong will are key reasons why the Hoyas have begun to see improvements — however minimal — this season.
“There’s something really different about this team,” Butterfield said. “[The girls] are all so passionate about the sport. Our great coaching staff is so supportive, and they love seeing us do well.”
In arguably the strongest conference in the nation, the Hoyas are struggling on the field. There is no guarantee that Georgetown can overhaul their team’s record in this season, but the Hoyas will continue to try. In the meantime, Butterfield and company are writing a different kind of narrative for the team — one that celebrates small victories and team unity over mere statistics.