For the first time since 1995, the Penn field hockey team = will have new blood leading it on the sidelines after Val Cloud stepped down from the program at the conclusion of last season.
Philadelphia area native Colleen Quinn Fink will take over after a four-year stint at Haverford. Coach Fink sat down with The Daily Pennsylvanian to discuss her new position.
Daily Pennsylvanian: So, tell us a little about yourself.
Colleen Quinn Fink: I’m from the area. I grew up in a suburb right outside of Philadelphia called Bala Cynwyd. [I] grew up in a coaching household. My father is the head track and field coach at St. Joe’s University in Philadelphia, and he coached the men and women’s team — I think for over 40 years.
I kind of grew up in that environment of coaching and athletics. I was introduced to field hockey in middle school and then went on to play for four years at Merion Mercy Academy. And then I went on and played for four years at St. Joe’s University.
I’m pretty familiar with the local college field hockey scene, Big 5 basketball obviously, and all that kind of stuff.
DP: And how does Philly rate in the world of field hockey?
CQF: We’re pretty lucky. Pennsylvania — and obviously, the East Coast in general — is such a hot bed for field hockey. So we’re in a really strong area for field hockey.
DP: What do you think of your newly inherited program?
CQF: In terms of pleasant surprises, the girls are pretty much in the right mindset. They came in pretty fit, ready to go [and] determined to try to chase down some of the goals they set out in the spring.
In terms of just specific players, the two senior captains, Laurel McGarvey and Annie Matthews, [have] really stepped into a leadership role very nicely.
DP: And what were some of the players’ goals?
CQF: In the spring last year, [the players] decided they wanted to either win in regulation or feel prepared enough that they can win in an overtime period.
I think that they’re serious about trying to transform some of those close or near losses into some wins and contending for an Ivy League championship. I think they are realistic about the fact that Princeton is a pretty powerful force in our conference, but I think that they are open to trying to make a run at it.
And then, the last goal of the three was to try to come out strong. They really would like to win their first three games. I guess historically in the last couple of years, they haven’t been that successful in the beginning of the season, and they had felt that kind of put them at a disadvantage.
DP: Speaking of disadvantages, the team lost a strong senior class. How are you reacting to that?
CQF: I know they were probably leaders on the field, but they were probably some of the biggest statistical leaders we’ve had. Now we’re faced with trying to foster experience in a practice setting for some of these kids stepping into roles.
We will probably have a handful of freshman starting this year, and then even some of the upperclassmen — because we lost such a big, talented class — they might not be as experienced as they could be. So in that way, I definitely think it was a big loss.
I’m a big proponent of trying to avoid any excuse making. The minute we start using that as an excuse for why we can’t or why we shouldn’t, I think the team will probably embrace that attitude as well. So we’re just looking forward, we’re living in the moment and staying focused on the task that’s lying ahead of us.
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