Field hockey got its start at Bridgewater College as an intramural sport for female students in the fall semester of 1927. At the time, games were played on the land between Broad Street and Dinkel Avenue, which used to be the old athletic field. Intercollegiate competitions began in 1947 during the fall semester. They lost their first game against the University of Lynchburg (then Lynchburg College) but won two of their three games with Roanoke College.
From 1949-63, the team competed against eleven colleges with a win rate of 66% (outside of games that ended in ties). They typically competed against the University of Lynchburg, James Madison University (then Madison College), Mary Baldwin University, Roanoke College, and Sweet Briar College. The team had undefeated seasons in 1962, 1953, and 1955. Members of the team made it into all-star teams in Virginia throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1963, Yvonne E. Kauffman and Barbara J. Purkey played at the national hockey tournament in New York.
From 1964-1980, the team played against 26 colleges from seven states. They typically played against Eastern Mennonite University, Frostburg State University, University of Lynchburg, James Madison University, Randolph-Macon College, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, and the College of William and Mary. They won 58.4% of their games during this time (outside of games ending in ties) and in 1965, they won all eight games that they played. The field hockey team took part in the Blue Ridge Field Hockey Association tournament. Some team members were also selected to play at the Southeastern Region tournaments and national tournaments. They placed second in the Virginia state championship in 1979, and first in 1980. From 1964-80, Professor Laura S. Mapp was coach of the field hockey team. Mapp was also president of the Blue Ridge Field Hockey Association and vice chairman of the Southeastern Region Hockey Association in 1964.
By Meghann Burgess, Special Collections Intern, 2021