Women’s field hockey team gets long-awaited temporary facility after protest

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Kayla Baskevitch/Staff

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The women’s field hockey team will be able to practice starting Monday at a temporary facility, the Hearst La Loma Tennis Courts, while its new permanent home, Underhill Field, is readied for the start of this upcoming season, according to a statement released Friday by Cal Athletics.

After being displaced from its previous home at Maxwell Family Field, the team had neither competitive nor practice facilities last season and had to travel to Stanford for its games. According to Kristen Lee, a junior and a defender on the team, Cal Athletics had told the team that the La Loma location would be ready for its first scheduled practice of this season. When that day came and the field was still not ready, the team staged a protest.

Construction intended to make the La Loma location suitable for field hockey was delayed, according to Cal Athletics. The facility itself is only about one-fourth the size of a regulation field.

“I think our whole team is really excited to finally have a space of our own on campus,” Lee said. “And we’re definitely excited to hear the promise that we’ll have a real home facility for our competitive season.”

That home facility, Underhill, is located on College Avenue, between Haste Street and Channing Way. Since the team’s displacement, Underhill was proposed as the its new permanent home, and that decision was confirmed by Friday’s statement from Cal Athletics.

The statement also said Underhill will close for construction near the end of spring semester in order to install the AstroTurf necessary for competition, as well as a system designed to recycle the water used to irrigate the field.

Three members of the team had considered filing a Title IX suit against the campus. Lee, one of those three, said she was grateful the campus now views getting her team a field as “a priority” and added that she hopes it “continues to prioritize gender equality on campus.”

Underhill is expected to reopen before the start of the team’s fall 2015 season, and, according to the statement, it will “continue to serve as a multi-use facility” for intramural and club teams. Meanwhile, Maxwell Family Field, which will reopen March 9, will be the home of the women’s lacrosse team and will also be used for intramural sports.

Contact Logan Goldberg at [email protected].