They were behind 5-0 in the second period, and varsity field hockey players Ashley Bernardi and Lena Phillips couldn’t believe it. After all, this was the championship game and they didn’t go the whole season to come away empty handed.
“We were embarrassed that we were down and we were like ‘Oh my god’ and it hit us and we were like, ‘Okay time to like pick it up!” Phillips said.
Once they picked it up, their opponent was toast. They outscored them seven to one over the remaining one and half periods to win 7-6. The way they talked about the game afterwards shows how much it meant to them.
“We made a comeback!”
“It was like Miracle!”
“We kicked it up!”
“They didn’t think we would win but we brought it back!”
Their opponent wasn’t Ohio State, Michigan State or any other Division I foe, though, it was THUNDDDA, an intramural co-rec floor hockey team.
For the last several years, members of the varsity field hockey team have paired up with brothers from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity to play co-rec floor hockey during winter quarter. According to Bernardi, the brothers reached out initially, because they had gotten close with the field hockey team through socializing in dorms.
While some coaches may not have allowed their varsity athletes to participate in intramural sports, field hockey head coach Tracey Fuchs wasn’t really concerned.
“The only time she has an issue if you are hurt, don’t play,” Bernardi said. “Other than that, no, she’s fine with it. She think’s it’s fun."
While the “Puck Buddies” wound up winning the championship this year, that doesn’t mean everything was fine and dandy.
“The whole season we dealt with a lot of cards,” Phillips said. “The refs didn’t like us that much.”
Bernardi admits that they had a tough time keeping their sticks below their waist, which they were penalized for often. This meant they spent many games playing one or two girls short.
Phillips recalls that one point in the season the opposing team gave them a hard time because they thought it was unfair that varsity field hockey were allowed to play co-rec floor hockey. Both girls think this opposition holds little merit.
“Totally different rules. Totally different games,” Bernardi said, before adding with a smile, “Half of those girls were better than us.”
The difference in sticks caused a lot of issues for them, other than amassing penalties. In floor hockey the stick is more like an ice hockey stick, as opposed to a field hockey stick, which has a shorter head. They also weren’t used to being able to use both sides of it.
Still, they went on to win the whole thing, and are excited to maintain the tradition with SAE. It gives them a chance to be competitive in an area besides field hockey and academics, according to Phillips. It also made them a lot closer with the fraternity brothers.
“I wish it was something we got asked to do more because I would definitely have done something this spring,” she said, “but I feel like a lot of times people don’t think to ask athletes because we are on a tight schedule.”
So if you’re on an intramural team that’s looking to have a good time and possibly win a championship, you know who to ask.