July 18, 2024

The Torch‘s Bailee Lyons sat down with Women’s Field Hockey Players Victoria Pipinich ‘25, Emily Owens ’26, Ally Miller ‘25 and Lucy Ripepi ’25 to talk about the sport, their lives at Wittenberg, and their season.

BL: What do you study and do here at Wittenberg, outside of playing field hockey?

Victoria Pipinich: I am from Fort Worth, TX originally, and I came here to play field hockey. I have three younger sisters, I am a chemistry major, and I work in admissions. 

Emily Owens: I am from Cleveland, OH, so about 3 hours away; I am from a small town outside of Cleveland. I have one sister. I am a biology major with a chemistry minor, and I am on the pre-dentistry track, hoping to become a pediatric dentist. 

Ally Miller: I am from Saline, MI, and I am a nursing major. 

Lucy Ripepi: I am a psychology major from Cleveland, OH. 

BL: How long have you played field hockey? 

VP: Well they don’t really have field hockey in Texas a whole lot, they do now more so, but I’ve been playing officially since freshman year high school. 

EO: I have been playing since second grade; it was obviously just the basics at first and then for a little bit there was not anything near me for field hockey until I got to like 7th or 8th grade and started playing club, and then I played throughout high school. 

AM: I’ve played field hockey since 8th grade. 

LR: I’ve been playing for like 6 years now, and I went to Magnificat High School. We didn’t really have a super intense program or anything; it was kind of more like a laid-back for fun but we had a really good head coach, and she was part of the Ukraine national team, so she was really good. Most of the girls who were on the team had just started playing that year, and she was really good at getting people to develop quickly, and we ended up being pretty good each year I didn’t win anything but we always got pretty far, but my senior year I didn’t play anymore. I transferred here and started playing again.

BL: What got you started playing field hockey? 

VP: I was really bad at volleyball, and I wanted to be so good at it, but I was not, and a coach was like ‘maybe you should try something else’ and so I ended up really loving field hockey. 

EO: When I was in second grade the high school coach at the time came and just had a bunch of sticks, and said, “you should try it out,” so I went home to my mom and she signed me up, and she was internally screaming because she played field hockey in high school but didn’t ever want to push it on to me, and my dad also was an ice hockey goalie so they just absolutely loved that I loved it. 

AM: I had a history teacher in 8th grade and she was a really big role model for me. I was looking to kind of explore different sports and stuff, and I was a dancer at the time, but I wanted to be more part of a team sport so I decided to join the field hockey team, and my history teacher was the coach for that so she helped me join.

LR: My best friend at the time signed up, and my mom and her mom were close, so she signed me up and we went to the first day. 

BL: Are there any challenges with your majors that may interfere with field hockey? 

VP: Late labs going from lab straight into practice can be a little challenging because your mind is not fully on the field hockey yet. I know sometimes I go into the lab, and my like hose would fall off the condenser, and there’d be water everywhere, and it would ruin the whole lab, and that’s all I think about practice, but I’d say that’s pretty much it. With traveling, having to miss labs, and it’s a big course load so having to juggle that that’s been really a struggle. 

EO: I agree, especially with going to practice right after a bad lab, or having to start over a lab which I have done a few times is difficult, especially after a long day of classes too, but I would not change it for anything. 

AM: It’s definitely a little difficult with the scheduling and things; that it’s definitely a very busy rigorous schedule, I’d say it’s really important to have good time management skills, and a good like work-life balance. I like to say just because you do get stressed out and there’s a lot of things that you have to be getting done on time and stuff like that, so it’s important to like make sure you’re also hanging out with your friends and taking time for yourself. But I would say especially at Wittenberg the reason I came here was because you’re able to be a nursing major, and they’re very flexible and willing to work with you especially the nursing department they’ll help you switch around things just to help make it easier for you. 

LR: The workload is doable, and I feel like D3 it is easy to manage both at the same time. It gets a little stressful in season and stuff, but right now there are not too many challenges. 

BL: What are you involved in on campus? 

VP: I am a tour guide/desk worker in Admissions, I am Class President and in Senate currently, I am part of the pre-engineering program here which is a lot of fun. I do 2 sports. I also run track, in addition to field hockey, which I love. I am an Alpha Delta Pi, and I am also in chemistry club, and that is a lot of fun. I like being involved on campus. I like having things to do and going to. I just want to get the most out of my college experience. 

EO: I play field hockey, obviously. I am a barista at Sips in Thomas Library, I run the social media for baseball and men’s soccer, so I go to their practices and games, and I am the vice president of operations for Alpha Delta Pi. 

AM: I am a Bill Martin Scholar, I am a Gamma Phi Beta, I play field hockey, and I am in nursing club, and that is about it. 

LR: I am not involved in too many other extracurriculars, but I do work for the athletic department, and that is good.

BL: Who is the team’s biggest rival? 

VP: Wooster. 

EO: You say Wooster? I would say yes. 

VP: It is hard because there are like a few.  

EO: Personally, Wooster 

VP: Personally, for me, DePauw.  

AM: It was Denison for a while, but now it is different 

LR: Probably Denison. 

EO: The team I feel like has a lot of rivals, I would say we have for Wooster we have things that we do against them that are traditions. I do not know I would say our other one is Denison, yes, Worcester and Denison might be two previous ones I feel like. 

BL: What is your favorite part of Witt? 

VP: It is so silly, but I tell all my tours that I give people that my favorite absolute favorite thing about Wittenberg is just being able to walk from building to building and seeing people that you know and saying hi. I do not know what it is, but it is just like ever since I came here and was on my own tour and people were saying hi to my tour guide that was like, that is all I want, just to have that sort of community. 

EO: I would say the same thing: I love that when you are on campus it feels big but then like you walk around, and anywhere you go you always know one person — just this sense of family and community. 

AM: I really just love how like inviting the campus is; I think freshman year was a little bit of a hard transition for me, and I have a hard time with change and so just being able to be in an environment that’s not super overwhelming was super nice to have and then also like the friends I made here we’re all super close, and you’re able to like have those close tight knit friendships because the campus is smaller.

LR: I like the community here. 

BL: What is your main goal in your career at Witt?  

Pipinich: I would love to make it to the tournament. We have been trying for four years, and we started out with a small team, but we have gotten a lot larger over the past few years, and we have gotten a lot better, so I think yes, it’s very feasible to make it to a tournament. But other than that, just finishing on a great season; it’s been a great year so far.

EO: I still have two years, so it seems like a lot, but it is not, but I want to make it to tournament. We have been on the brink every time the last two years I have been here, so finally making it would be awesome. 

AM: I just want to grow as a leader and as a player; if I can improve on my skills and just have fun while doing it then that is what I want to do.

LR: I think my main goal would be to make connections with my teammates and coaches and just leave, you know, a good impact on the team 

BL: If you did not play field hockey, what would you play instead? 

VP: Well, since I do currently run track, so track, and then I would, I don’t know how to play, but I would try women’s lacrosse because I just think it’s really cool, and it’s really fun, and I don’t have the opportunity to try it ever so I think if I could play one sport I would I would try to play that one.  

EO: I would play lacrosse. I played in high school and middle school, and it was always like obviously feel like I have played longer but it when looking for colleges it came down to field hockey lacrosse and whatever academically would fit me better. 

AM: I think if I could just choose and not be good at it, I would do track, because it is like the coolest thing, but I would not be very good at it.

LR: I think I would play basketball. I played when I was younger, but not anymore so that would be fun to play again. 

BL: So, do you all have a pregame ritual? 

VP: I do my hair a certain way every single game, because that’s good vibes, and I cannot mess that up. A long time ago we both did it differently, it was not good. I always twist my stick three times before every pass back before, but the first start of every quarter, I always twist my stick three times, I do not know why I just have always done it. 

EO: I always text my parents before that I’m heading out onto the field, every single time, even though they come to most games, and then I put my hot socks on 1st then my shin guards, then my socks, then my left shoe tie it, and then my right shoe every single time and if I do it wrong, I’ll take it all off. That’s so bad!

AM: I always must have my hair braided, I always must put my socks and then my shin guards and then my socks on. Let’s see: I also always sprayed other people’s hair before games. Yes, I have a lot of stuff that I do; I am very superstitious 

LR: I don’t have a really strict ritual, but I like to like to be calm have a little fun too, but like I like to listen to my own music, get all my gear on properly, and I usually like to eat like a banana or some type of like small healthy snack before I play. That’s really it. 

BL: What is your pregame song? 

VP: My gosh! I always listen to Queen before, I do not know why I just love Queen! 

EO: I listen to Nirvana. 

AM: 21 Savage. 

LR: I like anything by Rihanna, so really any of her songs can get me hyped.

BL: What is your pregame meal?  

VP: So, it depends for me, it is a little weird. I swear by Diet Cokes, so if it is an afternoon game I will make sure I have a Diet Coke before I go, even if it is a morning game honestly, I am not even going to lie, I have a Diet Coke and a peanut butter bagel. 

EO: Yes, I have Gatorade, and I would always have a bagel, and like an avocado bagel, just with everything bagel seasoning on it. 

AM: I mean from the CDR, I usually like to have a yogurt or just something lighter, but then my family will come for the games usually, and so we will go out for something bigger after which I love.

LR: I do not have a specific meal, but I like to eat something with like a lot of substance like carbo load, but you know it does not have to specifically be like pasta or something yes, but I just like to have a substantial meal 

BL: What is your favorite part of practice?  

VP: I like scrimmages, and we play really fun games sometimes, I really love team games and challenges that we do that brings the team together. 

EO: I know our team, there’s a bunch of different majors, and I don’t normally see the team throughout my school days, so seeing everyone at practice especially during the spring I feel like that’s when we really don’t see each other, so just actually seeing everyone and them being able to play against each other during scrimmages, and it really builds our chemistry. 

AM: I just like sitting with my teammates like we do not do anything super specific. I hate warmups, but I cannot really say that. I just like being able to see everybody, and getting to talk to people, and it is not people that I would see on a regular daily basis and so like being able to have that outside of like my social life is cool I think like being a part of a team. 

LR: I like I really like shooting drills, or we do not do this in the spring a lot, but I like to practice corners which is like our penalty kick our corner kicks in soccer those are fun.

BL: What’s one word to describe one another?

EO: I would say for pip, she is super bubbly. 

VP: Thank you! I would say Emily is just so genuine, just very authentic. 

AM: Lucy is resilient. 

LR: For Pip, I would say meticulous, Ally is cheerful, and Emily is hardworking. 

Women’s field hockey will start back up in the fall; go Tigers!

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