Lauren Bacho | Photo Editor
Lina Trucco, senior goalkeeper for the Ohio University field hockey team, poses for a portrait on Pruitt Field on August 25, 2015. Trucco will be playing for her first time since coming to Ohio University as a freshman.
Three years on Ohio and Lina Trucco has seen about 93 minutes inside the cage.
Now she’s the Bobcats’ last line of defense in the 2015 field hockey season.
“It’s definitely a different mindset believing that you’re going to play,” Trucco said. “Every game is important, and you have to know how you can contribute to the team on or off the bench.”
Trucco was a nationally recruited field hockey player coming out of Lake Forest High School in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and received multiple offers from various colleges in the Great Lakes region including Vermont, Siena, Kent State and Central Michigan.
Trucco said she had her pick of the bunch — and she picked Ohio.
“I chose Ohio University mostly because of the team and atmosphere,” Trucco said. “I get a sense of support all around.”
The support Trucco craved during her recruiting process can be seen in teammate Clarissa Leickly.
Leickly has developed a close relationship with Trucco over the years, as the two were both recruited to Athens by coach Neil Macmillan in the fall of 2012.
“She’s already stepped into this role, and has done a great job,” Leickly said. “She’s a leader on our team, she communicates well and is an attacking goalie.”
Trucco came into Ohio’s program knowing she wouldn’t see significant time since she was behind former goalie Brittany Walker.
Yet, the amount of in-game experience Trucco has gained during her first three seasons is just a number.
“I think stepping into a leadership role is a big deal on and off the field,” Trucco said.
Trucco, a redshirt junior, expects to see more playing time this season. She mentioned that being a redshirt requires a different mindset than being an automatic starter. Ohio was solid with Walker in the cage last year, as the Bobcats tallied 78 saves and allowed 2.41 goals per game.
Even with Walker’s departure, Macmillan said he believes in Trucco’s ability to anchor the defense.
“(Trucco) played last year, which leads to her contributing with the experience she has gained,” Macmillan said.
As Trucco prepares for her new role, she said Ohio will have a solid season stemming from the team’s work during the summer.
The Bobcats went 6-11 last season and since then have worked on their communication in the back in order to heighten and maintain their valiant defensive play.
In the postseason, Ohio upset No. 1 seeded Central Michigan in the semi-final round before losing to Kent State, 2-0, in the MAC Championship.
Now, Trucco and the Bobcats are seeking more.
“Over the preseason, we have worked on our skills, as well as mentally preparing for a big season,” Trucco said. “A big part has been a lot of the girls getting ready, which I think has made for a successful preseason.”
But as she throws on her pads and embarks on her first season as a starter, Trucco is reminded of how far she has come since joining the Bobcats.
Three years later, Trucco is finally at the top of the depth chart.
“I think with a positive mentality, a strong leadership role and supporting my teammates, I can help the team be successful this season,” Trucco said.