by Robbie Sequeira, Luke Tracy and Isaiah Martinez
Meg Williams has always been torn between the two loves of her life: softball and field hockey.
Since high school, Williams’ sports experience has included the sounds of both the ball on an aluminum and a stick smacking a shot out of play.
However, when faced with a tough decision on which sport to continue in her junior year, Williams made a decision that will send her on a trip to Italy.
At Salem High School, she was four-year letter winner for softball and a three year letter winner in field hockey.
“I was originally only coming here for softball, but last minute the field hockey coach asked me to play and I couldn’t turn it down,” said Williams.
Williams played outfield for the softball and hit at a .500 clip last season, while serving as the team’s starting goaltender last season. Williams in an effort to avoid being burned out felt like she had to make a decision.
After two seasons of being a dual-sport athlete, Williams decided to commit herself 100 percent to field hockey in the fall of 2016.
“I decided not to continue with softball and not because of the team or the sport it was because of the long hours playing and juggling classes,” said Williams.
After becoming the full-time starting goalie in her sophomore year, Williams knew she’d have to throw herself all in with field hockey to reach the next level.
“I decided to be 100 percent field hockey and improve my game in the off season,” said Williams
Williams will be rewarded for her commitment and performance when she will be a part of Team USA’s field hockey team in Italy this upcoming summer. Williams will be representing the United States as a part of AIST. AIST has sent collegiate field hockey players to play in over 22 different countries since 2002. In the summer of 2016, AIST sent six Franklin Pierce field hockey players to compete in the same competition in Australia.
“When six of my teammates had traveled to Australia last year I was so happy for them but told myself that if I wanted to get an opportunity like this that I would have to work harder than ever.”
Despite the team’s pedestrian 3-14 record in the fall of 2016, Williams ranked 4th in saves (101), 6th in save percentage at 79% and earned 3 shutouts.
However, what caught the attention of AIST and head coach Zoe Adkins was that she ranked 13th in the nation in saves per game at 6.
“This year my coach Zoe Adkins had nominated me to the organization for a chance to play the game I love in Italy this coming summer,” said Williams.”There had been four of us picked to play but I had been the only one to commit this year.”
After committing AIST reached out to Williams to extend the offer to other players. Williams picked Rachel LaPointe, a sophomore forward.
“Rachel Lapointe was one of the girls that I had emailed to be recognized by the program.” said Williams. “The AIST program had then sent out another round of emails and Rachel was picked and will be attending the trip with me this summer.”
Williams hopes this trip will bring the best out of her and LaPointe, and that ultimately leads to more wins for the team.
The junior goalie believes that the 3-14 record isn’t indicative of the talent and chemistry that the team has.
“No matter what the outcome was the team had my back and I had theirs. I could never regret playing with these players.” said Williams
“Without them I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I did on the field. One poor season will not keep us from fighting for the next one. ”
Williams also said she is still close with her softball team and plans to be in skybox rooting for them this spring.
While not a household sport in the United States, field hockey is the fourth most popular sport nationwide.