Before the University of Delaware field hockey season got started we had the pleasure to talk to a couple of the players on the team.
The next player we had the pleasure to interview was redshirt senior goalkeeper Sydney Rhodes.
Last season, Rhodes posted a 9-7 record, 26 goals allowed, 1.75 average per game and 61 saves in 16 games.
Rhodes received numerous accolades for her play in the 2018 season which includes All-CAA First Team, CAA Player of the Week and Synapse Sports Defensive Player of the Week.
In 2016, Rhodes was a part of the Delaware team that brought the first-ever NCAA Division I Championship to the program. The Bel Air, Maryland native had seven goals allowed,2.40 average per game and eight saves in nine games that season.
The senior goalkeeper was named to the Preseason All-CAA Team before the 2019 season began.
Before she came to the University of Delaware, Rhodes helped guide the C. Milton Wright High School to their first-ever state championship.
Rhodes talks everything from the best part of being a goalkeeper to what keeps her motivated during the highs and lows of a season.
Check out it below!
How did you start playing Field Hockey?
Well, my mother played field hockey when she was in high school and college. I think I got into when I was in middle school just through her. My sisters and I did not want to play soccer anymore, so my mom introduced us to the sport.
How did you start playing the particular position you play?
( Note: Rhodes position is a goalkeeper)
I was afraid to get hurt and hit by the ball. I saw that goalies had all these pads on and I thought hey I’m not going to get necessarily hurt because I am protected. I am going to get hit but will not hurt that much as if I would get hit not wearing anything.
What is the best part of being a goalkeeper?
The best part for me is I can do anything with my body and it will be fair game. I can dive, kick, I can swipe with my stick and let it him in the chest. Everything is fair game, everything is live. I have no rules when it comes to being a goalie.
Describe some of the highlights of your athletic career.
Definitely, winning the NCAA Championship ( Hens won in it 2016) will forever be a highlight in my field hockey career at Delaware. But for me personally, I think my highlight would have to come from a game that happened last season where I had a shutout and also had my career-best of nine or ten saves. That was a pretty cool night for me.
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
I guess my ability to just be confident in the goal and really take charge of the defense. Also, directing the defense and telling them where to go. If I have a decision during the game I go for it, I don’t hold back.
What do you feel you are weakest at and how do you work on to improve it?
My greatest weakness would be my height. I am a very tall goalkeeper and sometimes that is a disadvantage. It is not in my advantage when it is a very low hard shot and being very quick, agile and explosive is one of my weaknesses. This last spring I have been working with Raz to fix that and have already seen improvements, compared to last fall to this fall. So definitely working with her and just keep practicing every day on being quick and agile.
How do you help to mentor the younger players on the team?
I guess for better or for worse, I don’t have a filter. Especially, I don’t really consider them being younger or the same age as me, I just say what I want to say to them. All of it is to help them, it is not to be critical or judgmental. Everything I say is to help them improve. Just helping them, if I see something on the field or if they are playing in front of me as a defender, I will tell them what to do. If I see something that I think is wrong, I will pull them aside and say “hey next time do this”. Just coach them up and I think that is how I mentor the younger girls and everyone.
What is the best part of playing on a team?
I really enjoy how we are very close on and off the field. I don’t think I ever been a part of a program, club and high school where a team was so open with everything. Like how feel about each other on and off the field. We keep it very simple as we tell each other when something is bothering us and everyone is very welcoming. Being with them and translating to the field, makes it a very great feeling. If one of us is struggling with our weaknesses, someone will step in and help. We always help each other be better at dealing with our weaknesses and also improving our strengths. That is another great thing I see with this team.
How do you stay motivated during the highs and lows of a season?
What definitely motivates me a lot is my five other classmates that left last year. We were really close as a class and it is very weird not to have them here. So, them not being able to stay with me for another season to be able to get that fourth ring and that fourth championship, definitely motivates me a lot. I want to do it for them, for myself and this team. So, we can get that feeling back and where we should be.
What is a typical day for you when the season is in full force?
My typical day starts out relatively early because I schedule more morning classes then afternoon, due to the practices or extra team stuff which why the afternoon has to stay open. I do my classes, get them done around noonish. At one, I get a little bit of downtime and go get treatment with our athletic trainer. Right after, it is either a video session or something the team plans and then we go to our practice. Our practice normally last two hours but it depends on day to day. It depends on who are playing or do we have to travel. After practice, I go home, make my dinner, try to get in a bit of studying and then go to bed. Then, wake up and do it all over again.
What has a former or current coach taught you, that you still use today on or off the playing field?
I think the advice that has really stuck with me is when a coach said ” It’s just a game and a lot of stuff happens on that field during practice and a game. Some people get hurt, you don’t play as much as you want or play too much but at the end of the day, win or lose it is just a game. You are out there with people you creating bonds with, people from far and even across an ocean.” You get to build so many new relationships that is definitely a piece of advice I have taken. It is just a game but it has created so many opportunities for me in life, that is just amazing what it can do for one person.