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Prep Field Hockey Preview: Stick in hand, Rigg comfortable on any surface

YELLOW JACKETS COUNT

ON ICE-HOCKEY-PLAYING

FORWARD/MIDFIELDER

BY JUSTIN RICE

James Monroe sophomore Miranda Rigg is at home on the ice.

Jackets field hockey coach Jamie Tierney hopes she can become just as comfortable on the grass.

“She’s not afraid to get out there and do her thing,” Tierney said. “Just being athletic like she is, she’s been able to pick it up so quickly.”

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Rigg is a returning starter for James Monroe this fall. She’ll play forward and in the midfield, where Tierney hopes to exploit her speed. It’s a different dynamic for Rigg, who spends as much time as she can in pads and skates playing ice hockey.

Many of her weekends are spent driving—a 15-hour trip—or flying to Missouri, where she plays with the 14U St. Louis Lady Blues AAA team. She also earned a spot at the 2012 National Camp, a weeklong clinic coached by members of the U.S. national team.

Field hockey is actually the third form of the sport Rigg has played.

“I was at Ashland Skateland and saw some girls playing roller hockey,” said Rigg, who was introduced to that sport when she was 6.

Roller hockey progressed into ice hockey. She practices in Prince William County when she’s not darting across the country to play with her team.

Field hockey didn’t enter the picture until her eighth-grade year at Caroline.

“My friend talked me into trying out,” she said.

The skills required are different—in field hockey, a player can use only one side of the stick, and the ball can’t touch a player’s feet.

Still, Rigg’s athletic ability made the transition easy.

“She’s just a natural athlete,” Tierney said. “She’s good at everything. With her ice hockey background, she was able to start later [at field hockey] than most kids and jump into a starting role.”

Rigg saw lots of turf time last fall for James Monroe, and played with the High Voltage club team during the indoor and outdoor travel seasons.

She’s learning the differences between the two sports, and showing she can adapt.

“I think the ice hockey skills helps with the quick wrist stuff,” Tierney said, “but there are little things you get away with with ice hockey, where in field hockey you have to move your body and the ball a little more.”

James Monroe has had a succession of fast, athletic scoring forwards over the last decade, and Tierney hopes Rigg can fill that role again.

As for Rigg, she’s learning to like field hockey, too. Her coach said she has been a good teammate and enjoys working with the Jackets.

And Rigg thinks the team is taking steps forward, too.

“I think our team has really progressed and we’re still getting better,” she said. “And my stick skills have really improved.”

Still, the call of the ice is strong with the sophomore. She hopes college hockey—preferably on the ice, but maybe on the field—is in her future.

“Possibly,” she said. “If there’s a chance, I’ll jump at it.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/08/22/prep-field-hockey-preview-stick-in-hand-rigg-comfortable-on-any-surface/