In today’s world, we are surrounded by a variety of different brands. From the type of phone you have, to the type of shoes you wear, to the type of toothpaste you use, the products that surround us have been created by a certain company or business. In order to be successful, these companies maintain a preferable image which they convey to the public.
In a similar fashion, University of Richmond women's field hockey head coach Jamie Montgomery and her team are attempting to build a brand which correlates with success.
“We talked about the idea to define our brand, we have lots of conversations around it," Montgomery said. "Initially it was literally a branding conversation. So when you talk about Apple products, what words do people use, when you talk about Nike products what words do people use, when you talk about Richmond Field Hockey what words do people use."
After a solid start to the 2019 season, the team hopes to continue building its brand deep into the season's second half.
With four regular-season games remaining, the Spiders have a record of 8-7 and are 4-2 in Atlantic 10 Conference play.
Five of the team's seven losses have come by only one goal, and several losses were to ranked opponents, including No. 2 University of Maryland, No. 11 University of Delaware, No. 12 Saint Joseph's University and No. 20 Liberty University.
Senior midfielder and team co-captain Hannah Loos said the four hard-fought losses to nationally ranked opponents had not negatively affected the team.
“I think we have a little bit more confidence as a team and the confidence is growing throughout the season, playing ranked teams like Delaware and Maryland," Loos said. "We faced them really well, which I think helped boost our confidence going into the conference games, and just knowing we can handle big teams like that.”
According to NCAA Field Hockey RPI, the Spiders currently sit outside the top 25 at 31.
Senior midfielder and team co-captain Abby Lyons said maintaining focus had been the key to continuing the team's success.
“I think this year we are just less focused on ‘We have to win all these games,’ and [instead] just [focused on] playing the game," Lyons said. "And that honestly makes it more fun and we’re coming out on top at the end of the day."
Junior goalkeeper and team co-captain Frankie-Lynne Conklin echoed this sentiment.
“As a whole team, I think everyone’s goal is ‘Let’s win the A-10s,'” she said.
To qualify for the A-10 tournament, the Spiders will need to finish among the top four teams in the conference. They are currently in second place with two conference games left.
One of the two remaining conference games will be played at home. Overall, the Spiders have a 4-3 record at home (2-1 in conference) and a 4-4 record away (2-1 in conference) for the season.
The Spiders must continue to play well at home in their remaining games to achieve their goal of winning the A-10 championship, because the tournament will be played at the University of Richmond this year to commemorate the UR field hockey program’s 100th year of existence.
“The last time we played our A-10 championship at home [in 2013] we won, so I’m hoping that we can keep on that tradition,” Lyons said. “I think it’s definitely exciting, with our new field house that we just built and there’s a lot of perks that we’re really excited [about], and the student body here gets really pumped for these kinds of things, so I think we’re going to have a really great turnout.”
Montgomery shared in Lyons' excitement, elaborating on the team celebrating its 100-year anniversary at UR.
“I think it’s an incredibly cool thing to celebrate because [for] women’s athletics on a college campus, 100 years is a long time,” Montgomery said. “For us it’s more about ‘how do we define ourselves as a part of that 100-year history?’ Because the stories and the things that we talk about are significant in our time and we get to talk about those things, and then when alums come back they tell their stories, the things that were significant to them in their time.”
The Spiders, led by Montgomery, will look to continue to define their brand of UR field hockey as part of the 100-year history of the program during the final weeks of the regular season.
The A-10 conference tournament will take place at Crenshaw Field on Nov. 8 and 9.
Contact sports writer Krystian Hajduczka at firstname.lastname@example.org