O’Beirne and Patzner benefit from off-field relationship
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 21:09
Sports have been an exercise in bonding from the very beginning. People make friends on their own teams, as well as other teams. For Delaware field hockey redshirt freshman midfielder Maddie O’Beirne and sophomore midfielder Michaela Patzner, their bond goes deep off the field.
Head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof said the on-field partnership between O’Beirne and Patzner is getting better with time.
“It’s improving and so if you want to get better together, you have to learn from each other, how to play together and what kind of signals or leads you share with each other, allowing you to become better teammates in the frontline,” van de Kerkhof said.
O’Beirne and Patzner have been playing together since August 2012, when O’Beirne arrived at Delaware from George C. Marshall High School in Vienna, Va. and Patzner came from Karolinen Gymnasium High School in Rosenheim, Germany.
O’Beirne and Patzner immediately hit it off, living together as roommates last year. O’Beirne said the off-field partnership continues and they hang out together often.
“I pretty much see her 24/7,” O’Beirne said. “We hang out all the time.”
So far this season, Patzner has seven goals and two assists for 16 points, while O’Beirne has three goals and one assist for seven points.
Van de Kerkhof said both players put together make one All-American field hockey player, and he is working on giving both players something one has but the other doesn’t. Both Patzner and O’Beirne said they agreed with the statement and said they would work together to improve. O’Beirne said she admires Patzner’s on-ball and technical ability the most, and she has been working to improve in those areas as well.
“She can beat anyone with her skills, and she has a really great ability to find the open net and score,” O’Beirne said. “She’s the high scorer on our team.”
As for Patzner, she said O’Beirne’s athleticism and knowledge of where she is on the field relative to the rest of her team are the skills she herself wants to improve on.
“She has an eye for her teammates and knows where to pass the ball, and she also maneuvers off everyone else very well—and she’s there when you need her,” Patzner said.
This season, the Hens are 6-2 overall and have not started CAA play yet. They will open their run to the CAA Tournament against William & Mary on Oct. 4 at Rullo Stadium at 7 p.m.
Van de Kerkhof said there are many powerful friendships on the team, and the team gets along well as a whole. He also said a close team that thrives during the regular season will be fantastic in the post-season.
“As a team, you always want to grow, you want to get stronger throughout your non-conference schedule, before your conference schedule and during your conference schedule, to take care of postseason performances,” he said. “So right now, we are growing, and we’re getting more partnerships and we’re heading in the right direction, which is very exciting. Our best hockey still has to be played.”
As for Patzner and O’Beirne, they said they anticipate the future of the partnership will only get better. O’Beirne said she is excited to develop the partnership after this first year of playing with Patzner, while Patzner predicts the duo will continue to help the team win in future seasons.
Van de Kerkhof said Patzner and O’Beirne will get better through the coming seasons.
“The beauty thing about the two is that they are young, they are a sophomore and a freshman,” he said. “So potentially they’ll be playing for long periods together, so their partnership can only strengthen and improve, resulting in better performances of those two and with that our team.”