Picture courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
On Nov. 6 when the Hofstra women’s soccer team’s 2009 season ended in heartbreaking fashion after a 2-1 overtime defeat to UNC-Wilmington it brought incredible heartache for senior defender Diane Caldwell, who suddenly saw her Pride career playing the sport she loved come to a close. The pain still lingers from that early November defeat on the turf of Northeastern’s Parsons Field but Caldwell’s Hofstra’s collegiate career is now being resurrected with a stick.
The Ireland native has earned a spot on Hofstra’s field hockey team and will play for head coach Kathy De Angelis in the 2010 season while she attends graduate school. Caldwell, who played field hockey for Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Balbriggan, Ireland, decided to workout with the Hofstra sticklers last spring and after impressing the coaches with her athletic play in the backfield has been added to the roster for the 2010 season.
“When my four years were up with soccer I was obviously a little disappointed because you don’t want it to end so soon but having [ a chance to play field hockey] gives me another year to enjoy and stay here at Hofstra,” said Caldwell, who played soccer for the Ireland National Team in 2008. “To go into a Division I program is not going to be easy by any means but it is a new challenge for me and I am just looking forward to it because it is these challenges that make life exciting.”
When De Angelis observed Caldwell last spring she was struck by her solid understanding of the game despite having not played in four years as well as how she gelled with the other players. “She became a catalyst almost instantly,” said De Angelis. “She has that personality where people want to be around her and her work ethic is very contagious.”
Caldwell made the decision to play field hockey soon after her college soccer career ended in early November and has been waking up with her new teammates, at 6 a.m. three times a week for running and lifting. The team will then hit the field in March for spring practice and Caldwell plans to stay at Hofstra for much of the summer to prep for the 2010 season.
“It was really too good of an opportunity to turn down,” said Caldwell, who was friends with many members of the Hofstra field hockey team while playing soccer. “I love playing for Hofstra and I have a lot of pride for the college.”
During Caldwell’s four-year Hofstra soccer career she played forward, midfield and defense and those versatile athletic attributes will also translate to field hockey. When suiting up with the Hofstra field hockey team for a spring exhibition game last year Caldwell played in the backfield but in high school was a center midfielder. “She is versatile and would be able to be used in a lot of different areas in the game,” said De Angelis.
Hofstra field hockey only lost two seniors from last year’s 12-8 team, which finished 22nd in the final NCAA RPI rankings, but will still have a 2010 roster filled with many young faces. De Angelis is hopeful that the addition of dedicated veteran Hofstra athlete like Caldwell will aid her players both on and off the field.
“She has the work ethic, has the discipline and desire to do something of this kind of challenge,” said De Angelis. “I feel like this is a gift we are getting.”