For most student-athletes, winning one championship is the ultimate goal or dream. But to be a part of three championships is something special.
Colleen Dowling is a senior field hockey player for the Pioneers and has had the opportunity to be a part of the championships the field hockey team has won the last three years.
“Most collegiate athletes would love to win one championship, and I have been lucky enough to experience three championships,” Dowling said. “Being able to feel that sense of pure joy with my best friends is something I will never forget.”
Dowling came to Utica College from Fairport, New York to pursue a degree in physical therapy. When she was younger, Dowling originally played soccer, but after trying field hockey, that became her passion.
“I honestly just started playing field hockey because I needed something to do in the off season from soccer and then I ended up quitting soccer for field hockey,” she said.
After a trip to UC, Dowling recognized the family atmosphere that surrounded the field hockey team and campus, which led to her decision.
“I came to UC because I loved the team atmosphere and how they really were like a family away from home,” Dowling said. “My teammates really are my role models. We have been through a lot of ups and downs the past three years and I do not know where I would be without them.”
As a freshman, she was able to contribute to the team success as she played and started in 21 games. Dowling ended up finishing the season with two goals and three assists on nine shots on goal. She had one of the two goals scored by UC in a 3-2 overtime loss to DePauw University in the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2013, Dowling started in 21 of the 22 games she played. She recorded six goals on 57 shots and tied the team lead with eight assists. She had two game winning goals.
Dowling finished the year fourth on the team with 20 points. She recorded a season high three points, one goal and two assists against Castleton College. She played in 1,203 minutes, which ranked fifth on the team, and she was named an Empire Eight All-Conference honorable mention selection.
Dowling is ready for her senior season, and one thing she always reminds herself about is something her coach told her.
“My coach has taught me to leave everything on the field, no matter what the score is or who we are playing,” she said. “Once the game is over there is nothing more you can do, so do everything you can while you can.”
Entering her senior season, she is looking to end her career with another Empire 8 Championship. The Empire 8 has a new look to it this year, and Dowling sees it with a positive attitude.
“It is going to be a very different Empire 8 this year,” Dowling said. “A lot of teams have changed, especially our team, but I think if we play like we know we can, we will have success.”
Dowling points to the winning attitude of UC to carry them through.
“Every year, an Empire 8 Championship is the ultimate goal,” she said. “People may be underestimating and not believing in us this year because of the amount of talent that we have lost in last year’s class, but nothing would make me happier then to come together as a whole team and get that title one last time and bring it back to Utica College.”