It says something about Nicole Guimond that she’s playing a new position this fall. After three years as a right midfielder for the St. Anselm College field hockey team, the Fairfield native and Lawrence High School grad is playing center midfielder this season.

Guimond has gradually taken on a more important role as the situation around her has changed. Since the program began in 2001, St. Anselm has never had a winning record. The Hawks were 1-16 when Guimond was a freshman, 2-14 two years ago, and 6-12 last fall. Carolyn King, who took over as head coach this season, is the third coach in Guimond’s four years with the team.

“It’s hard to adjust to every coach’s playing style,” Guimond admitted. “Every coach has a new style, a new lineup. You always want to come into camp ready to go, but you feel like you have to prove yourself again.”

Guimond said she never thought about quitting — she was named a captain as a junior and holds that role again this fall — and said the transition this year has been smoother than she expected.

“When I got the job here, she reached out immediately to me,” King said. “Right from the beginning, she was really excited, really positive.”

Indeed, one of the reasons the transition has gone so well is Guimond herself. Guimond’s teammates are 10 returning players and 10 newcomers, and she has been a leader in every way. When St. Anselm defeated American International College on Saturday for its first win, Guimond was a key to the defense.

“It can be really easy for a senior who’s been here a long time to not care as much and go through the motions,” King said. “Even though six weeks, eight weeks from now, her field hockey career is over, she’s willing to learn new things. The seniors are really important for us as far as future growth and setting the tone. She’s really leaving a legacy and helping our younger players.”

As a captain, Guimond said, you get the blame when things go wrong, but also the credit when things go well.

“I love being captain,” she said. “There’s a lot of work to it. A lot of responsibility, a lot of hard work, but you get a lot out of it. It’s really nice to have the team behind you.

“I know we’re definitely going to make playoffs this year,” Guimond added. “We have really strong seniors, and the freshmen that came in are really good.”

Guimond is a communicators major, and she has already interned with the Manchester Monarchs — an affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings — and CBS News. She’s undecided about what she’s doing after college, but would like a job in sports public relations or broadcasting, and may attend grad school.

Another legacy Guimond will leave is a fundraising event she started with teammate Megan Sullivan. On Oct. 13 against Southern Connecticut State, the Hawks will be doing their “Corners for the Cure” fundraiser. Different sponsors will donate $30 for every offensive penalty corner St. Anselm has in that game, and $40 if the Hawks score on a corner.

St. Anselm did the same thing last year, and raised over $10,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation created to fight breast cancer. The field hockey program won the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Award of Excellence, which is given to only 20 programs across the NCAA’s three divisions.

“She created a whole advertising campaign,” King said. “She was the brains behind it.”

“By the grace of God, that was our highest-corner game of the season,” Guimond said. “Usually, we average five corners a game. That game, we had like 13.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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