BY DIAMOND HOLTON
As a field hockey goalie, there’s nothing like your first.
Your first game, your first win or even your first save.
But in order to achieve all that, you must overcome one obstacle; pressure.
As the SU field hockey season begins, the pressure is on for one particular player who’s the new starting defender of the cage: sophomore Tressie Windsor.
Going from Athlete of the Week at Delaware High School to Capital Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week at Salisbury University, Windsor will look to succeed even further in 2015.
As a freshman she watched legendary goalie Rachel Clewer, who graduated last spring. Many will be watching as Windsor tries to fill her shoes, but Windsor knows what must be done to do her job.
“I’d like to think a sense of like, so everything is not so intense all the time, maybe a little humor every now and then,” she said.
Her coach, Dawn Chamberlin, feels she has a certain intensity level that is needed on the field. She sees Windsor as a stress reliever for her teammates.
“She can get the job done, but still have a really good sense of humor about it, and she doesn’t get down on herself if she lets a goal in,” Chamberlin said. “She knows it’s going to happen and she can get right back into it again and keep her focus.”
Windsor is feeling the immense pressure as she takes over as the starting goalie but feels her mental game has changed a lot from last season to now.
“They’ve really drilled into me to be ready and focused for every second and every minute of the game,” Windsor said. “I think my mental focus has definitely sharpened.”
Windsor has been playing field hockey since high school. Her freshman year she started out in the field when her high school coach, Jodi Holloman, switched her to goalkeeper her sophomore year. Holloman saw a natural instinct in Windsor that many field hockey goalies have.
In 2014, she came to SU as a freshman playing backup to Clewer, learning and preparing for the present following in her footsteps, but did manage to play nearly 200 minutes in the goal with 10 saves playing in nine games.
The abundance of learning is never ending with Clewer now her current assistant coach.
“I pretty much learned at what level you have to be ready for every game and how you should treat every game,” Windsor said. “She pretty much showed me the ropes and I feel like that first year being behind Rachel was perfect in the sense that I got to see what the team was all about.”
“Coming into this year, I knew that I had to be a lot more focused because Rachel was always in phenomenal shape.”
During practice, Clewer made sure to stand behind the cage last year when she was out and try to coach Windsor with the team not having a goalie coach. When informed that Clewer was going to be her goalie coach in the fall, Windsor said she didn’t see much of a difference because she was always her coach, so it worked out perfectly.
Chamberlin believes Windsor plays her own game, and that she and Clewer are very different in their playing.
“They both brought a different level of intensity that is good for Salisbury field hockey,” Chamberlin said. Only in her second year, Windsor knows her most defining moment hasn’t come yet. However, Windsor does believe her first save was the most defining moment in her career thus far.
“A lot of pressure was just kind of lifted off me, I think,” Windsor said. “Once I finally got in the game, I was just like okay, this is okay.”
Much of her talent is owed to the motivation that keeps her going, liking sports in general and watching her friends play the game in high school.
“Once I started playing, all the excitement, adrenaline and the excitement once you get a win is a phenomenal feeling,” Windsor said. “Field hockey in general just has a pretty positive atmosphere.”
Chamberlin has faith that she’ll be a top goalkeeper in their conference and in the nation if she continues to improve.
“I think she’ll be right up there and keeping us in the game,” Chamberlin said.
The young goalie even made a hopeful prediction for her future. “Hopefully, maybe by my senior year I could have a shutout season,” she said. “You have to shoot high.”