Athletic teams are preparing to lauch their seasons on a new field.
The Athletic Department website announced the Anderson Field Turf Project was complete in December.
The brand new turf surface will host men and women’s soccer and lacrosse, as well as field hockey. Prior to the completion of the Anderson Field turf, these teams played and practiced on Mangelsdorf Field, which was visibly worn down from years of use.
“It was time for our field to be replaced,” Athletic Director Dave Martin said. “The life expectancy of a turf field is anywhere from 10-13 years.”
The new turf comes from a Tarkett Sports Company known as FieldTurf, which has offices in six of the seven continents. The surface, which now blankets what was once a grass soccer field, is the same surface used at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. MetLife Stadium is the home to not one, but two NFL teams. When the Cougars take the field they will do so on the same surface as the 2012 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.
“FieldTurf has been around for a long time,” Martin said. “They are the biggest turf company in the United States and have supplied a number of division one institutions and NFL facilities.
With new surface comes new playing style. Mangelsdorf Field had a reputation for being very fast and many Misericordia teams used this to their advantage.
“For field hockey, Manglesdorf Field was a much faster turf because it was more of a flat surface. The ball moved fast so we had be quick on our feet during the whole game,” sophomore field hockey and lacrosse player Alison Sacco said. “The new Anderson turf field will be an adjustment in that area because the turf field is not worn in and the grass is higher. There are not a lot of turf beads on it. The ball will travel a little slower but it will also cause us to be quick on our feet due to the ball moving a little slower.”
The field hockey team isn’t the only team to make adjustments before opening their season. The men’s lacrosse team is coming off of their most successful season in school history. Their season is right around the corner and their home opener will be on March 18 against Mount St. Vincent.
The biggest difference the lacrosse team will notice has to do with shooting. Cougars knew there wasn’t much bounce on Mangelsdorf Field, so a bounce shot in the crease wouldn’t usually result in a goal. The new turf is much thicker and will provide much more bounce, evening out the home-field-knowledge advantage of the Cougars over their opponents.
“With Mangelsdorf, there wasn’t much bounce, so our players knew bounce shots weren’t going to bounce,” Misericordia Men’s Lacrosse Coach Jim Ricardo said. “Obviously the appearance is much better and it plays a lot better.
Another difference is the field lining. Lines on Mangelsdorf Field were much harder to see and made it much tougher on opposing teams who weren’t accustomed to the positioning.
“The lines for field hockey and lacrosse are sewn into the turf at Anderson but on Mangelsdorf field they are painted on. It is much easier to see the lines on the new field than it is on Mangelsdorf,” Sacco said. “When teams would come play us on the field we definitely did have a little advantage because we were used to the way the ball moved on the field. Teams wouldn’t realize that the ball moved so fast which made it harder for them to control their passes. I think that we will lose a little bit of an advantage but that will just make us work harder as a team to achieve a win.”
FieldTurf conducted long-term independent studies, which concluded their surface is safer than natural grass. The company addresses this issue on their website.
“FieldTurf leads to less overall time lost to injury, fewer neural injuries, fewer cranial/cervical injuries, and less 3rd degree injuries,” according to the official company website. “In the most critical areas of safety, FieldTurf has proven to be consistently safer than any other turf system and equal to, if not better than, natural grass.”
Plans are also in the works to resurface Mangelsdorf Field with FieldTurf for the university’s inaugural football season. The Cougar football team opens ther season with a non-conference game in Gettysburg and a conference game against Lebanon Valley before the home opener on September 15 against Widener University.