Adrienne O’Donnell ’15 scored twice and assisted once in Bowdoin’s NESCAC quarterfinal win against Hamilton last Saturday. This leaves the right forward with seven goals and nine assists this season, tying her for fourth highest assist total in the conference and ninth in points.

Until starting as forward this season, O’Donnell had been a midfielder for most of her field hockey career. O’Donnell’s speed allows her to win individual matchups and create space for her teammates.

“Athletically, she’s fit enough to run the midfield,” Coach Nicky Pearson said. “The right midfield has always been an offensive position for us.”

Pearson added that O’Donnell’s passing and defensive skills have developed through her time in the midfield.

“One of the biggest adjustments we’ve seen is her decision-making,” she said. “When players are as fast as she is, they have to make decisions a little bit quicker.”

O’Donnell said that Pearson had mentioned the possibility of a position switch at the end of last year given her similarities to predecessor Katie Riley’s ’14 style of play and her self-described designation as an offensive midfielder. She then spent part of her summer playing forward in pick-up leagues and working on her scoring techniques. She also improved her strength and speed. Captain Colleen Finnerty ’15—the left defender who is often matched against O’Donnell in practices—said that she started the year in the best shape of her career.
Despite lacking the ice hockey background of many of her teammates, O’Donnell may be the team’s fastest player. 

Finnerty believes that O’Donnell enjoys a speed advantage over almost every defender she faces.

Since teams as a defensive strategy try to clog the middle of the field, Pearson’s teams have often looked to move the ball out wide. The right side of the field is often the more desirable attacking side because it is both the stick side for the offense and the weak side for the defense. Althought the team tries to balance its attack, both of O’Donnell’s goals came from attacks up the left side. O’Donnell has the ability to carry the ball 50 to 75 yards up the field as a result of the team’s desire to move up and down the field as one unit.

“She gets the ball on her defensive 25 yard line and can beat defenders with a simple pull-right and carry the ball into the circle,” said Rachel Kennedy ’16.

Kennedy has benefited tremendously from O’Donnell’s passing and ability to stretch the field; Kennedy is responsible for 40 percent of the team’s goals, which boasts the second-most prolific offense in the NESCAC.  

“If you look at the stats, there are a lot of goals and a lot of assists, which I think is key,” O’Donnell said. “Kimmy [Ganong ’17] and I try to beat our defenders and pop it back in the middle for Rachel [Kennedy].”

“She easily has at least 10 more [assists than she is credited for],” Finnerty said, “She could take the ball 75 yards and not get credit for it. There are so many things happening that affect our team’s success and she’s a part of so many of them.”

Assists in field hockey are only tallied if the eventual goal-scorer shoots immediately after receiving a pass. In terms of record-keeping even one additional move negates the assist.
As the team looks to win another NESCAC championship, O’Donnell is still working on improving her game.

“There are definitely times in practice where she’ll make me look like I’ve never played field hockey before in my life,” Finnerty said. “But she’s always looking for something that will make her better. When I stop her, she’ll ask me questions like ‘What was another move I could have done?’ or ‘How difficult was that to defend?”