Williams Coach & Olympic Team Make Field Hockey Hall of Fame

By Dick QuinnWilliams Sports Info
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Chris Mason

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College head women's lacrosse and assistant field hockey coach Chris Mason and her 1984 U.S. Olympic field hockey team members will make some more history this Saturday in Pennsylvania when they are inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame.

The USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame is located on the campus of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa..

The 1984 team is the lone U.S. field hockey team to medal in Olympic play, winning the bronze medal in Los Angeles.

Mason, a standout at Penn State and with the U. S. National team, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989 as an individual, but now she is going in as a member of the first team to be enshrined.

"It's been 30 years but it will be fun to get back together with all of my teammates," said Mason. "It was a tough accomplishment to medal in 1984 because field hockey is a bigger sport in many of the countries we competed against than here in the U.S."

One of Mason's U.S. teammates was Eph standout Leslie Milne, a 1979 graduate, who is currently an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the Emergency Services Department.

Mason had to take a leave from her coaching duties at Williams to participate in the 1984 Games, but after the U.S. had boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow, denying her and her teammates their first Olympic experience, the U.S. team was bound and determined to play. The U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games because Russia had invaded Afghanistan.

The toughness of the 1984 team's accomplishment can be seen in how they had to go about securing the bronze medal.

Holland won the gold medal, Germany, the silver; but Holland defeated Australia 2-0 in the final round robin game that tied the Aussies with the Americans, so a shoot-out was needed to determine the bronze medal.

The shootout was scheduled to take place shortly after the Dutch topped the Aussies. Mason and her teammates were at the game between Holland and Australia and they scrambled to get their gear on and get in some practice shots.

"It was very nerve-wracking trying to focus on the practice penalty shots because we just wanted to go do the shootout and win," Mason remembers.

Mason was selected by the U.S. staff to take the penalty shots along with four other team members. Each player would take two shots.

All 10 of the U.S. shots resulted in goals and all 10 Aussie shots were on target, but American goalie Gwen Cheeseman stopped five, giving the U.S. the win, 10-5, and the first bronze medal in Olympic field hockey for the U.S.

Mason is the longest serving women's head coach at Williams having coached in the Purple Valley for 31 years. She has been both the head coach of field hockey and women's lacrosse for the Ephs and currently is assisting in field hockey and is the women's lacrosse head coach.

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