After securing its third D-III National Championship in the past four years, the field hockey team has continued to impress, with the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) awarding three members All-American honors.
Senior captain Ingrid Oelschlager, a central midfielder and member of all three national championship teams, was named to the All-American first team on November 22. Joining Oelschlager were juniors Katie Herter and Ella Curren, who earned All-American recognition with placement on the second and third teams respectively.
"Ingrid is more than just a captain; she has the passion and drive, too," said Curren. "You look at her and how hard she's working, and it just makes you never want to give up. She's an unbelievable leader and will not stop at anything."
Head coach Nicky Pearson affirmed Oelschlager's ability as a team leader, adding that the central midfielder's talents are best understood by considering the quality of competition that the team faced this season.
"Ingrid was such a key player for us in all aspects," said Pearson. "She was a key defender, and that was demonstrated in the [championship] game against Messiah where she went up against Julie Barton [who was named the 2010 NFHCA D-III Player of the Year]."
"To be playing against one of the best players in the country and [to] perform against an opponent of that caliber just highlights her ability," she said.
In addition to being named a first team All-American, Oelschlager earned positions on the All-NESCAC and All-New England first teams. These awards capped off an impressive field hockey career for Oelschlager, which included second-team All-American honors last season and a NESCAC Rookie of the Year nod in 2007.
"[Being named an All-American] is an amazing honor, but I think it's more of a reflection on the team because we have so many talented players," said Oelschlager. "My position as center midfielder is only in the spotlight because you're in the center of the field and have the ball more."
Oelschlager added that her success as a player, and the resulting awards, were a direct result of a strong coaching staff, exceptional play on the part of her teammates and a group expectation of team commitment.
"The culture on our team is that we expect the best of ourselves and push each other—we strive to be our own best competitors," she said. "We have an amazing coach and assistant coaches that teach us to be good students of the game."
Herter, beyond receiving All-American honors, was also named to the All-New England first team and the All-NESCAC second team. The forward led the Polar Bears in goals scored this fall with a total of 20, the third highest in Bowdoin history. Five of those goals were game-winning tallies.
"Katie's outstanding qualities include a wonderful work ethic," said Pearson. "She's such a competitor, one of those players that always rises to the challenge. The harder the game, the higher the stakes—she prospers in these scenarios."
"She's her hardest critic—she won't stop and will work as hard as she can," added Curren. "I think that's true of both Katie and Ingrid, and why they've both been so successful. They refuse to be beaten, and they never give up."
The third team All-American Curren served as a key member of the defensive line on the team that led the nation with the lowest goals-against average this season. Despite her position as right defense, Curren also scored Bowdoin's only goal in regulation during the team's 2-1 championship win over Messiah.
"Ella was just building on a successful first two years," said Pearson. "We ask her to do an awful lot, and she's often responsible for closing down some of the best forwards in the country. At the same time, she is key in our transition and also in our set plays."
Both Pearson and her players emphasized the fact that individual awards were not the result of personal talents alone.
"The fact that Bowdoin field hockey has been honored with three All-Americans is a reflection not only on the players' individual ability, but also on the level that the whole team is playing at," said Pearson.
"It's a game about everyone—you work for everyone around you," Curren added.