NIU field hockey player keeps goals in forefront

By Chris Sigley

If all goes well for Colleen Preston this season, she could be an All-American goalie and could play field hockey in the Olympics.

“Colleen is heads and tails above the rest of the keepers I’ve had,” said Laurie Bell, NIU field hockey coach. “She has great athletic ability and personal drive. I don’t have to motivate her, she’s motivated totally on her own.”

Preston is in her third year of eligibility at NIU. In 1984 she had 129 saves and 34 goals scored in her nine matches, and in 1985 she had 187 saves and 36 goals scored in 13 matches.

Following an injury in the 1986 season opener in which she made 22 saves and gave up five goals, she was red-shirted. But Preston is back in full force this season with a total of 75 saves and six goals scored against and has led the Huskies to a 2-2-1 record.

“Colleen is recognized by the other coaches as a great keeper,” Bell said. “But she is not given the recognition that she deserves because our program is not one of national caliber yet.”

Preston realizes it will take dedication and hard work to get what she wants.

“I’m optimistic about it (receiving All-America honors),” Preston said. “I have the skills; I just need more experience. It’s in my grasp; I just have to work for it.”

Preston attends field hockey camps during the summer. Players attend camps on a basis of selection, and she has been selected to all but the biggest one, A-Camp. Once she attends the A-Camp, her next step is the Olympics.

Preston has been involved with field hockey for five years, starting her career at Red Line High School in Pennsylvania. Field hockey has kept her interest mainly because of the challenge of the game.

“I love the challenge of rejecting the ball,” Preston said. “You’re the last resort as a goalie. If the team wins you feel like you did your job.”

Preston is studying criminal justice and plans to go into the FBI or Secret Service.

As for her field hockey life, she said, “If I don’t make A-Camp or All-American Honorable Mention, I’ll get on with my life and realize hockey’s over.”