Last Saturday, Northwestern’s football team scraped by Purdue. The Boilermakers turned the ball over a whopping six times, but the Wildcats won by a mere six points. The close win on the road and the big loss at home against Minnesota on September 26 don’t exactly have me thinking Alamo Bowl again this year.
However, some of Northwestern’s other fall sports have already surpassed last season’s success.
Last year the program won seven games. This year they’ve already won 11, and the regular season isn’t over until Halloween. The team is ranked eighteenth in the country. That may not be top five, or top 10, or even top 15, but Northwestern hasn’t been ranked at all since 2003.
It’s time to show first-year coach Tracey Fuchs some love. Fuchs was an assistant coach at the University of Michigan for 12 years before she arrived in Evanston, and her inaugural season has been a huge success.
“Tracy is one of the best coaches in the country, so everything that she has to teach us is great,” said Courtney Plaster-Strange, a senior who hadn’t been a part of a winning field hockey team until this year. “Anytime you can learn from the best you’re obviously going to get better.”
Whatever Fuchs is teaching these girls, it’s certainly making a big difference. Northwestern field hockey is finally relevant again — well, as relevant as field hockey can be. And I know you don’t get a free T-shirt for friending Fuchs on Facebook, but she still deserves a pat on the back from the entire university.
“We’re looking to finish in the top half of the Big Ten and put Northwestern field hockey back on the map.” Fuchs said.
Fellow newcomer sophomore Chelsea Armstrong also deserves a little love. The Australian is leading the team in both goals and assists with 20 and 11, respectively.
I’m not asking you to paint your chest purple and travel with the field hockey team everywhere they go, but if you happen to run into a field hockey player, or their new coach, just congratulate them on their season so far. The team’s a lot better than they were a couple years ago.
Volleyball’s in the same club. Coach Keylor Chan has been at the helm for ten seasons, but his young team is also way better than last year’s group.
Last season, Chan’s team won eight games. That means if you still have to count with your fingers, you can still comprehend the volleyball team’s lack of success. This year, the team has nine victories, which I know still fits on your hand, but they also have 16 more chances to pick up those two wins that will put their season win total past the number of fingers I’m typing this column with.
Again, I don’t expect anyone to follow the volleyball team to every road game or wear a Sabel Moffett jersey every day to class – although once a week wouldn’t be overkill if you did laundry – but this team also deserves some sort of a shout out.
All the Northwestern coaches work hard to improve their teams, and this year a lot of them are doing their jobs really well. Let’s not forget that sometimes it’s not all about football.