DIII field hockey conference championship winning streak, and what really matters on the pitch: interview with Messiah field hockey’s Brooke Good

A lot goes into winning a college conference championship.

There are good days and bad. There are ups and downs. And, there are competitions that test ones resolve.

Messiah field hockey, in 2022, notched its 15th straight MAC Commonwealth Conference Championship. It’s the longest running Division III championship streak attained by any school in the region.

“Deep down inside, of course, you would like to continue to win,” Messiah head coach Brooke Good said. “You know the headline that’ll come out the year you lose: ‘So-and-so upends Messiah however many championships they’ve had in a row.’ Really, that could happen one day, and if it does, it does. I am not driven by that need to absolutely win, but certainly, yeah, we’d like to keep the streak alive.”

Good has been coaching Messiah for 11 years. She said she had to fill “pretty big shoes.” She stepped into her role after the former head coach Jan Trapp had won four of the 15 championships.

But, the onus isn’t on winning championships, she said. Good said she doesn’t even like to place that kind of pressure on herself or her players. The incentive, though, is that winning a conference championship guarantees them a spot in the NCAA tournament.

“Having been a player myself at Messiah, and then on staff as an assistant for a long time, and then becoming the head coach, it was far more pressure of just continuing that standard of excellence versus winning a championship,” Good said.

That standard of excellence is achieved by getting to know her players. She said she places priority on getting to know their values, which helps to guide the current team’s approach.

There is no better example of that than in Messiah’s regular season game against York College. The two programs met again in the postseason, which is when Messiah won the championship.

But, it was the regular season game that shook up both teams’ standards. York hosted the game on Oct. 12, 2022.

“I can remember how tremendous of a game it was when we played them in the regular season,” Good said. “They just played an amazing game, and we were on our heels. We ended up winning that game in overtime with just absolute pure grit and determination.”

On a field hockey pitch in the city of York, the two teams in the dark of night, battled until the Falcons scored the final goal. The game ended 3-2.  

“That game was highly emotional,” Good said. “York had a very sudden death on their campus. There was a men’s soccer student-athlete who unfortunately died in his dorm room. And we were scheduled to play York shortly after that took place. So that was just something that was electric if you will. It was in the air. When there’s trauma like that, it’s a traumatic experience, we just wanted to offer support to them however we could.”

Anyone who was at the game could feel how hard the athletes worked. Good’s athletes wanted to bring their best game and display “sympathy and compassion for what many of [the York players] were going through.”

“The outcome of the game had serious implications to regional rankings, to the future of postseason, things like that,” she said. “So, there was definitely a lot riding on that game.”

Playing York in the regular season helped Messiah prepare for the conference championship. They had experienced York “caliber.” The Falcons hosted the game on their turf.

“I remember an offense that was firing on all cylinders, very quick,” Good said about the championship matchup. “We love our field. It is certainly a competitive advantage for us, and by no means do we go in cocky, but we have a lot of confidence when we play on our field that we’re a tough team to beat.”

As with any program, each season is different from year to year. And, while Messiah’s squad would like to be seen as “confident” and “tough,” there are other ways to describe the Falcons brand. Those words are “family,” “intentionality,” “servant leadership,” and “selflessness.”

“Always that focal point on building our faith, and always keeping things in the perspective of the kingdom of heaven,” Good said. “Understanding that sport is a small piece of our journey, and that there’s a much greater purpose to what we’re doing.”

And as a coach, devotion to her players is part of Good’s “heart.” 

“I want them to become the best versions of themselves while they are with us in our program and to see themselves in the best light possible,” she said. “I look forward to bringing out the best in our athletes more than anything and we get to do that every day through field hockey, which is a pretty good gig. So, I’ll do it again next year.”

Photos: Jana Benscoter, Messiah Athletics

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