Massey Women's gold - talking success with Kelly Carline

We reflect with Kelly Carline on Massey's recent success at the UTSNZ National Hockey Championships.

Pictured: The Massey Women's Hockey team celebrating their first National Tertiary title. Front row, from left - Saffron Cribb, Lara Williams (C), Kelly Carline, Lucy Collin. Back row, from left - Chris Sharrock (Manager), Erica Gattsche, Renee Allan, Bridget Sabich, Anna McLean, and Rebecca Anthony.

Kelly, how good is gold? You must be feeling pretty chuffed. Can you run us through the feeling of taking home the gold medal?

It was amazing to take home the gold. We went into the match as underdogs having lost to Auckland 3-2 in the lead up to the final so we had so much more to play for. It felt awesome to be the first Massey team to take home the shield, so that made the moment all the more surreal.  

Not only did you win, but you won the final in style (6-1). What was the key to such a clinical final performance?

Mindset was really important for us leading into the final. We knew that Auckland had beaten us the day before, but as a team we decided not to be defeated and came out firing. We attacked right from the start and put a few goals in the net early which placed a lot of pressure on Auckland. I think our decision making was key right to the very last whistle. We controlled the game, moved the ball really well and because we were up early we didn’t have any pressure to score.

Lara Williams had a blinder to score 5 goals herself in the final – how was that to watch?

Lara definitely performed in the final and in all the pool games - she was an asset to our team and ended up coming away with top goal scorer of the tournament, which was well deserved. Lara gave our team a lot of confidence by taking her chances when she had them - making her a real threat to the Auckland team. It was exciting to see her in action, she always created opportunities when she had the ball which is tough for any team to come up against. 

How did you find the 5-a-side format? Does it change much tactically for you as a keeper?

I was fortunate enough to be heading into the tournament with some experience with five-a-side hockey. For me, as a keeper, I have to play a much more attacking role than I would normally play in a full field game, just because of the limited number of players and the size of the turf. This meant being active out of my goal and getting to the ball before the opposition strikers. One of the more challenging aspects of the five-a-side format are the boards behind the goal – they are essentially another player if used and executed right. As a keeper I had to be aware of the opposition bouncing the ball off of the boards around me, which kept me on my toes. 

This was your first University tournament playing with some girls you barely know and haven’t had the opportunity to train with – how did you find the whole experience?

I loved the experience. The tournament itself was really cool to be a part of and the 5-a-side format made for a fun few days. It was really cool to come together with a bunch of girls I didn’t know by playing a sport that we all love. For us, we seemed to all get along right from the very start which I believe was key to our success. It was amazing winning, but meeting new friends and the experience as a whole really made the tournament for me.

This is only a small part of the hockey season for you. Do you have any other exciting opportunities/tournaments coming up before the end of the season?

Currently I am training for the National Hockey League tournament in September which is a week-long tournament with the best hockey players each region has to offer, which is really exciting. I also have a potential selection for the New Zealand U21 team, who will be competing in a Trans-Tasman tour in Australia at the end of the year. 

Are you excited for the opportunities the new turf at Massey will provide hockey players like yourself?

I am very excited for the new Massey turf. It will allow players like myself a really accessible training space, which is awesome for the development of players around the area. Currently my club trainings are held at the Manawatu Twin Turfs and because of limited space we don’t get to train until 8pm so another facility will really free up turf time. It will also be great to have a turf right on campus where I am studying, making it easy to slot in training in the middle of the day.

You are obviously a promising prospect in the hockey world – what are your ambitions outside of hockey?

Outside of hockey I’d love to become a teacher; I think teaching is really flexible and it would be cool to be able to pursue hockey and work at the same time.

Kelly Carline is a member of the Massey Academy of Sport, and is currently in her first year of study working towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology.