Michelle Oswald has always been a little bit of an anomaly. She’s a speedster with bad knees.

The knees were a concern even when Oswald was a standout field hockey player at Mt. Blue High School. She still does the ice and medication routine before and after each game, but rarely brings up the subject herself.

“If it has (bothered her), she hasn’t complained,” said Danielle Ryder, Oswald’s coach at the University of New England.

Oswald is a senior at UNE and is finishing up a stellar four years at the school. With 36 goals in her career, Oswald is tied for second on the school’s all-time list behind Taryn Flagg, who had 51 in three seasons. Flagg also holds the school’s career assist record with 22. Oswald, with 19, is tied for third place and that record is within reach.

“It’s more than just, she’s fast,” Ryder said. “She’s also very smart with the ball.”

When Oswald arrived at UNE, the Nor’easters were coming off three straight losing seasons. After UNE went 7-9-0 in Oswald’s freshman year, the Nor’easters were 16-3-0 in 2009 and 13-7-0 last year. This season, they’re 13-1-0, and set a program record with 13 consecutive wins.

Oswald said it means a little more that she was a part of building the program, rather that joining a team where success was expected.

“Knowing that I was part of the building years, I’ll definitely look back on it later with a great sense of accomplishment,” she said.

UNE is currently bouncing back from its only loss this season. The Nor’easters are the defending Commonwealth Coast Conference champions, and they won their first five games in the conference this year before losing to Endicott 5-0 on Saturday. UNE had defeated Endicott 4-2 earlier this fall.

“I think it was a wake-up call,” Oswald said. “I don’t necessarily think we needed it, and I don’t think we should need it. We needed to realize that we need to go into every game prepared physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Oswald will graduate next year with a degree in athletic training, and is in the process of applying to graduate schools, with the goal of getting her doctorate in physical therapy in three years.

Her field hockey career will end soon, and she’s trying not to think about that, but she can also look at the past four years with no regrets.

“I don’t think there’s anything,” she said, “that I would have changed.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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