Winesett playing a key role for Hens
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 21:10
After a stellar high school career, field hockey freshman forward Meghan Winesett was a little concerned about making the transfer to the collegiate game. However, she said, it was a necessary step for her career.
“I think for years I was really comfortable where I was in high school, and I think that it was kind of refreshing for me and just kind of put that all in the past and start with a clean slate,” Winesett said. “I just realized, ‘If I want to be that type of player in college, I’m going to have to start working hard, even harder than I worked before.’ I think that was kind of a motivator for me.”
The hard work has obviously paid off, for Winesett has started all 13 games this season, netting six goals and six assists on her way to 18 points, which leaves her second behind sophomore midfielder Michaela Patzner in the team’s individual statistics.
Junior defender and captain Kelsey McKee said Winesett is graceful and has a lot of speed.
“Meg’s great, she’s really poised on the ball, especially for a freshman, so that’s awesome,” McKee said. “She’s really fast, she’s got these quick bursts and sometimes the midfielders will send her balls that maybe will be a little out of reach, and she just does an awesome job and she gets them.”
Head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof said he had recruited Winesett after her performance in camps that he was running, and her skill was readily apparent.
Van de Kerkhof said Winesett is a big part of the team and a key offensive player.
“I’ve been in the business long enough that I will see a kid who will be an impact player for us and I will work to get that player for any Top-10 or Top-15 program, and that is what we want to be called, and we went after her and we recruited her hard,” van de Kerkhof said. “We convinced her that she could be part of something really big at Delaware.”
Winesett had a distinguished high school career as a four-year starter for Westfield High School in Centreville, Va. During that time, Winesett helped her team to a combined 76-10 record, scoring 66 goals and 51 assists over her four years and earning 10 awards, including being named a two-time Virginia AAA First Team All-State, Northern Region Player of the Year as well as winning the Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year award.
Winesett, who also snowboards and plays golf with her family, said she started playing field hockey in eighth grade after having played inline hockey, and her high school coach Starr Karl helped her transition into the sport from inline hockey. Winesett said Karl is her biggest influence, giving her support and forming an unbreakable bond.
“It’s not always easy playing high school sports and being a leader on the team, but she really believed in me and helped guide me through everything,” she said. “I guess I wouldn’t be playing in college if it wasn’t for her. She’s kind of always been like a second mom to me and kind of took me under her wing and helped me get through all the adversity of being a high school student. Even now in college, I still talk to her on a weekly basis and she comes to some games, and she’s just a good support system I have outside of my family.”
For the Hens, Winesett said, she credits assistant coach Lynn Farquhar with helping her, while among the players, senior forward Clare O’Malley has assisted her with any problems she might have.
McKee said she trusts Winesett with how to play, but as with all the other freshmen on the team, she tries to be as encouraging as possible.
“We’re definitely confident in what she does, because she’s proven herself so well, but it’s really hard being a freshman,” she said. “I was in her position a couple of years ago, so I know how important it is to really be supportive of her.”
Winesett said her biggest strength is her love of being on a team and helping her teammates achieve success on the field, but her weakness is that she is hard on herself. She said van de Kerkhof has helped her to realize the play doesn’t always have to be so perfect.
Delaware has four games left before the CAA Tournament, which this year runs from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10. Besides not being so hard on herself, Winesett said she must work on playing out of her head and focusing on the play of the game to be truly ready to play in the Tournament.
“I need to just play and not think so much,” she said. “There’s games where I get in there, and I just have my mind on autopilot. Those are the best games I’ve played.”
Overall, both McKee and van de Kerkhof said they are pleased with Winesett’s performance so far. McKee said she thinks Winesett could be a future captain.
Van de Kerkhof said he thinks that as long as Winesett keeps working hard, there is no end to what she can do at Delaware.
“If she’s doing what she’s doing now as a freshman, it’s amazing what she can do if she further develops, further grows, further improves as a Delaware field hockey player,” he said. “I think the sky’s the limit for her, and I think our program is already excited and looking forward to seeing her grow and to see her contributions to go up moving forward.”