Smyrna grad Hindt looks to build off big year

DOVER — Like a lot of kids, Kaila Hindt wanted to get out and see the world a little bit after high school.

That’s how the former Smyrna High field hockey standout ended up at Lynchburg.

It turned out that one year being away from home was enough for her.

“I wanted to try to branch out, I thought, ‘I can do it,’ be away from my parents,” Hindt said with a smile. “I couldn’t do it, not at all.”

Wesley College coach Tracey Short was more than happy to welcome Hindt back to her home state. Three years later, both sides are happy with their decision.

Hindt had a breakout season last fall as a junior, tallying a team-high 13 goals and seven assists as the Wolverines won the Atlantic East Conference Tournament title in the first-year league.

Five of Hindt’s goals were game-winners as she was named to the all-AEC squad.

“Right away, her speed and her finesse on the field was so important,” said Short. “She was able to out-run a lot of opponents and get herself into position to, if not score, to take the shot.”

Naturally, Hindt is expecting to get more attention from opposing defenses this season. The Wolverines open at Virginia Wesleyan on Aug. 31, playing their first five games on the road.

Hindt, now a senior, started seeing double teams from opposing teams last season.

“At times it can get really frustrating,” she said. “I always talk to the coaches. I’m like, ‘What should I do?’ They’re like, ‘Well, you just can’t let them get in your head.’ My dad tells me that all the time. It’s just a mind thing honestly.

“I mean, they’re going to want to trap you somewhere. So if you avoid those types of situations and areas, it’s a lot easier. Or me, I just kind of fly by them.”

Short agrees that Hindt’s speed is what makes her such a scoring threat. Hindt has collected 18 goals and 11 assists in her two seasons at Wesley.

Hindt has also gotten off a team-best 84 shots in those two years, including 54 last season.

“She’s very fluid on the field,” said Short. “It doesn’t look like she runs, it just looks like she glides along the field.

“The more you score, the more you get defended. She was able to still draw the corners, get the people to her and then dish off. She did a really good job.”

After losing just two seniors to graduation, Short is excited about her squad’s potential this fall. This is her 25th season as Wesley’s head coach.

Among returning players, Jessica Behornar scored four goals last season with Kristen Fuhr, another Smyrna product, adding three. The Wolverines have also picked up some transfers.

“I’m looking forward to some of the new people stepping in and doing some really good things,” said Short. “We’re a little bit older, so that’s always a plus. I’m excited for it.”

“We’re excited,” agreed Hindt. “I think we’re going to be strong. Last year we weren’t sure what these teams (in the AEC) were, what they were about. This year we’re more aware of who they are.

“This year we’re not going to come in comfortable but we’re definitely going to come in swinging again and have more of an idea of what to expect.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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