by Justin Chen
After finishing her fourth and final prolific ice hockey season amassing 101 points and leading the Huskies to back-to-back Hockey East championships, senior forward Kasidy Anderson did not decide to call her collegiate career quits.
Instead, the Shaker Heights, Ohio native joined the field hockey team.
Having lost her hockey eligibility, Anderson was finally able to have the chance to play field hockey, her second sport. And with Northeastern getting a new coach in Shelly Morris, she felt even more motivated to pursue it more, as it would have been a smoother transition.
Anderson took this chance and tried out for the team, in what was an exciting opportunity for both sides.
“Shelly wanted to change the culture, too,” said senior Sam Bodo, a four-year member of the field hockey team. “Just adding Kas, it was like a new, warm atmosphere and it was something Shelly wanted.”
So while the eligibility and technicalities worked out, Anderson still had a long way to go. Ice and field hockey are similar sports but ultimately have differences that did not make Anderson’s transition easy. Anderson played field hockey throughout high school, she said this helped with just having a connection and a history with this sport. But high school is different, and Anderson was forced to relearn this sport and adjust to the heightened competition she would be facing in a Division I game.
“[The] speed of college, the skill, and even like the game is more team oriented than it is in high school, where you can get away with a lot more individual stuff,” Anderson said.
Despite having played sports her whole college career, Anderson reflected on how she originally getting used to running, opposed to skating, was another challenge she faced in her early spring workouts.
“I literally felt unathletic running on the field because I was so sore,” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know how to run, I don’t even know how I look right now.’”
Game strategies, the press, and defense were also aspects Anderson had to learn and adjust to.
Looking past the original setbacks, Anderson’s addition to the team has brought great improvements to the team. Her stick handling prowess transferred over, giving Morris a new weapon.
“She’s obviously tall and [has] long arms,” Morris said. “She brings something a little bit different, like a great presence because of her size just defensively or when she goes to hit the ball.”
Despite being new to the team like a freshman, Anderson already has four years of hockey under her belt, so in a way she is able to relate to the feeling of adjusting to a new sports culture or environment but can also serve like a mentor-figure to the rookies of what she has learned with the ice hockey team. In a game early in the season, she had to learn game management and how to close out the win but at the same time was able to calm herself down and help her teammates focus, using her leadership skills she learned from ice hockey.
Anderson is more than qualified to teach and demonstrate many aspects of the mental aspect of the game- calming down in tense situations, dealing with adversity, and focusing energy at the right targets instead of being upset over a setback.
“I can be there to say ‘it gets better’ or ‘it wouldn’t be any different anywhere else’ because I went through the same thing as a freshman, where I thought I chose the wrong sport or I was at the wrong school based on how playing was going with ice hockey,” Anderson explained, adding how she would advise her teammates like her parents did to her: “You need to make the most of [your years]. You can control the experience way more than you think you’re capable [of].”
Bodo also had plenty of praise for what her new teammate brought to the locker room.
“Her attitude and how she looks at everything is just so positive,” Bodo said.
Anderson tallied 23 points in her season on the team, through nine goals and five assists. However, she does not pay attention to stats or production and instead the team and social aspect of athletics.
“Obviously, training all summer you have high expectations going in,” Anderson said. “But I’ve been focusing on enjoying and having fun with my teammates and making friendships,”
By making herself comfortable in this new sports environment, performance on the field came subsequently.
“I think just having sports IQ in general transitioned over. Obviously training and that kind of stuff, I had to make changes to, but a lot of it is just (having the) work ethic,” Anderson summarized, discussing how previous athletics adventures helped with this endeavor.
With hard work and the right mindset, Anderson knows success will come in some form or the other: on the field, off the field, or both — in yourself and even others.
photo by Sarah Schlesinger