By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you are looking for an elite field hockey program, you really need to look no further than West Chester University.
The Golden Rams have won back-to-back Division II National Championships and they are the favorite to make it three straight titles as they have been picked #1 in the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association preseason poll.
“It’s exciting each year,” West Chester head coach Amy Cohen tells KYW Newsradio. “Each year is a new team. So when the team came to the locker room, to see that (preseason ranking), I know they’re really thrilled. They are looking forward to defending their title, not only the national championship, but the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) title as well.”
The coach doesn’t hesitate when asked what makes the program so special.
“Honestly, it’s the kids,” Cohen says. “The kids make this special. They’ve bought into what I wanted to do when I got in here, and it was making this a true team. They care for each other on and off the field. And I think the experience with the student athletes is what makes my job so much fun. They enjoy what they are doing every single day at practice and they work hard while doing it. It’s the kids, the kids are all about being here and we love being here with them.”
It is a tall mountain to climb to win one national title, let alone two straight, and Cohen says they aren’t taking success for granted.
“The day we won the national championship,” Cohen says. “We actually went to Chili’s that night for dinner, I walked over the two kids right now who are captains of our program and I said, ‘Are you guys ready to run on Monday?’ And they said, ‘Can we eat first and talk about this on the bus on the way home?’
“They’ve been preparing for this since December, January. And it is our goal every year to put the best product we possibly can on the field. And it’s exciting for us to be coming out here (on Saturday) for our first home game.”
That first home game will be against Lindenwood University. But the day before, the Golden Rams will open the season on the road against Adelphi University.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.