Career Goals

Career Goals

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Coach Kane’s 25th anniversary season culminated with the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament game victory.

Jackie Kane ’87 is the winningest field hockey coach in Fairfield history.

It was just magic this season — the players all bought in. They just wanted to win for each other and with each other.

— Jackie Kane ’87, Field Hockey Head Coach

Expectations were high for Fairfield’s Division I field hockey team going into the fall 2019 season, as Head Coach Jackie Kane ’87 celebrated her 25th anniversary at the helm of the program. She had rounded out her Northeast Conference (NEC) team’s 18-game schedule with ambitious pre-conference matchups against schools from six other conferences.

“Each year, our goal is to try and play a competitive schedule that prepares us for a run at a conference championship and a bid to the NCAA tournament,” said Coach Kane in a pre-season interview.

The Stags hurtled into September with seven wins in a row, launching them into their first national ranking (#23) since 2012, in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) National Coaches Poll.

Momentum continued to build as Coach Kane celebrated her 200th career win against Villanova in October, and the following month Fairfield clinched the NEC regular season title with a 6-0 conference record. Hot off a late-season nine-game winning streak, the Stags barreled into post-season play to defeat Rider and capture the NEC Tournament Championship — a fitting way to honor Coach Kane in her 25th season.

But the party wasn’t over yet, as news broke that the team would play its opening round game in the NCAA Division I Championship Tournament at home on University Field. And so, on November 13, sounds of cheering carried across campus as fans braved below-freezing wind chill values to witness Coach Kane lead Fairfield field hockey to its first-ever NCAA win, a historic 3-1 victory over American University.

Two days later, it was on to Storrs, Conn. for an exciting in-state matchup against Big East champion UConn. The postseason run ended in a 1-2 final score, but only after the Stags demonstrated that they could hang with the big dogs, forcing the Huskies prove their #2 national ranking in overtime.

Photo of Luzi Perseihl ’22, Madison Hoskins ’23, and Danielle Profita ’21

Luzi Perseihl ’22, Madison Hoskins ’23, and Danielle Profita ’21 celebrate the team’s NEC Championship overtime victory.

After her team’s amazing 19-3 season — second only to North Carolina’s record — Coach Kane was quick to deflect credit to her “driven, dedicated, and kind” team members.

“It was just magic this season – the players all bought in,” she said. “They just wanted to win for each other and With each other.”

She was equally enthusiastic about her part-time staff. Assistant coaches Dani Brown ’03 — a former Fairfield player, and Steve Dennis — a former UConn ice hockey goalie who is now a field hockey goalie for the USA Indoor Team, made “a huge impact this season,” as did Jeroen Siskens, a volunteer coach from Holland.

With a special knack for identifying recruits who are as passionate about learning — and about Fairfield — as they are about their sport, Coach Kane said she looks for field hockey players who, like herself, are “ridiculous over- achievers who want to do a million things in 100 hours.”

“Jackie cherishes our competitive spirit and motivates us to always do more,” agreed Jolanda Richter ’22, a midfielder from Berlin, Germany. “Being the best team athletically and  academically is our goal each season.”

The field hockey program’s history of academic success is as impressive as its stats on the pitch. Eighty players have been named to the NFHCA Academic Squad over the span of Coach Kane’s career, and eight have earned NFHCA Division I Scholars of Distinction honors, for achieving a semester GPA of 3.9 or higher. Richter was one of three Scholars of Distinction in fall 2019, alongside Mackenzie Boyle ’22 and Danielle Profita ’21.

“Coach is very understanding of what it means to be a Division I student-athlete and constantly reminds us that academics come first,” said Profita, an All-NEC First Team and NFHCA All-Region pick, who scored the winning goal in the NCAA game against American.

As a first-year student at Fairfield in 1983, Coach Kane was a walk-on to a very different field hockey program.

“We played on grass, we bought our own equipment, and there weren’t as many games in a season,” she remembered. When she returned to coach in 1995, the position was part-time and it wasn’t until 1998, when Fairfield got its first turf field, that Fairfield field hockey really took off and the team won its first championship.

Four NCAA appearances and more than 200 wins later, Coach Kane is still putting the off-field development of her players first.

“The wins on the field are terrific — watching them celebrate with each other,” she said. “But the relationships that form, how they hold each other accountable, and seeing these women go on to succeed in life – the phone call that ‘I got into med school’ — those are the best rewards of coaching.”

Other Articles in the Summer 2020 Issue

Donor Profile: Baureen Bujno '90

Read the Article

Alumni Profile: Michael Cummings ’84

Read the Article

Alumni Profile: Carly Ragosta ’08

Read the Article

A Mission Continues

Read the Article

On The Front Lines

Read the Article

From A Distance

Read the Article

Lifetime Value

Read the Article

Letter From The President

Read the Article

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