The home field advantage is undeniable. Being comfortable on and familiar with the field can make all the difference performance, not to mention the crowd there to support the athletes and cheer them on. But home field advantage is also a luxury—something every team wants, but not all teams have.
For years, the Northeastern University women's field hockey team lacked a facility of their own and had to borrow space and time from fields owned by Wentworth Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Brown University, and even University of New Hampshire. Finally, Northeastern decided to redesign the Solomon Track Facility at their campus in Dedham, Massachusetts, adding a brand new AstroTurf field within the track.
The new AstroTurf facility in Dedham is state-of-the-art. Its extra absorbent base layer retains water, which helps the ball grip to the turf, enhancing ball control for the players. The field also boasts of a watering system with a 10,000 gallon tank and sophisticated irrigation heads that provide full field coverage beyond the playing surface. This caliber of turf facility is used by all the top ranked teams in the country, including Princeton, who won the National Championship in 2012.
But here's the kicker: the field is portable. Considering Northeastern's plans to install a field hockey field closer to its main campus in the future, Sasaki developed not only an innovative field hockey surface, but also one that can be uprooted and placed elsewhere with relative ease. The AstroTurf can be unstitched and rolled up to be transported, while the Brock underpad that the turf sits atop can be taken apart in a puzzle-like fashion and moved to a new facility.
With a talented roster that finished twelfth in the nation last year and a new dedicated facility to practice and play, Northeastern will continue its tradition as one of the best field hockey programs in the country and become a top-tier national squad this season. We're proud to have helped them attain their own home field, and will be cheering them on!