Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Growing up, freshman midfielder Bridget McCormick watched her sister, Jaimie, play field hockey in the next town over. At the time, there wasn’t a field hockey program in their hometown of Haddonfield, New Jersey.
Bridget McCormick saw her older sister enjoy playing the sport, so she decided to pick up a stick in third grade and joined the same league. The sport eventually became a lifestyle in the McCormick household as all four sisters began playing the sport.
A little more than a decade later, Jaimie McCormick plays field hockey at Columbia while the younger McCormick leads the Rams in goals scored with five after an undefeated regular season. Bridget McCormick claimed the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Through the years of watching Jaimie McCormick play, Bridget McCormick said she learned to keep playing, even after a mistake on the field.
“You’re gonna lose the ball, you’re gonna make mistakes, but it’s what you do afterwards,” Bridget McCormick said. “That’s what matters.”
She said she didn’t expect to lead the team in goals at the beginning of the season but credited the VCU team and coaching staff.
Bridget McCormick logged her first-career goal at Saint Louis in a two-goal performance on March 21 off of a corner shot, something she called one of the team’s “biggest strengths.”
“My job really is to get any ball that comes off the posts,” she said. “I just had my stick down. I was lucky, it just went right to the goal. That was a huge moment.”
This season, Bridget McCormick has learned a new position, screen, which she described as a defensive midfielder that rotates with the defenders to fill in on the field.
“I think that was very new for me,” she said. “I think I’ve improved a lot there because I’d be comfortable filling new positions that I wasn’t used to playing before.”
Coach Stacey Bean called Bridget McCormick “relentless” as an athlete, saying she doesn’t give up on plays in games.
“I think what goes unnoticed, to those who aren’t really familiar with our team or our sport, is how much work she does on the defensive side of the ball,” Bean said. “Whether she has turned the ball over herself or a teammate passes it, she’s just relentless.”
Bridget McCormick is ahead of the curve from the “normal freshman” in the mental part of the game, Bean said.
“She’s locked in and not asked irrelevant questions and retaining information,” Bean said. “I don’t get the same question from her 20 times.”
Junior back Janne Wetzel said she’s surprised and proud of Bridget McCormick’s strength on the field.
“I had never seen her play before, so I didn’t know anything about her when she came in,” Wetzel said. “But I was actually not expecting her to perform as well.”
Bridget McCormick is a vocal leader in practice and on the field, Wetzel said. The first time she spoke up during a defensive drill during a practice, it caught Wetzel off guard.
“I was like, ‘Oh, OK, this tiny, skinny girl is speaking up and has a lot to say,’” Wetzel said. “She was leading by example in that sense for the other freshmen to be more confident to speak up and don’t be afraid to say things.”
Field hockey will host the Atlantic 10 tournament on Friday and Saturday at Cary Street Field. The top-seeded Rams will square off with No. 4 Richmond at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.