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An In-season Reflection on Overcoming Challenges and Early Disappointments

By: Andrew Smith

The field hockey team entered the fall season with very high expectations. They reached the NE10 (Northeast 10) Championship game last season, and are poised to make another long playoff run. However, the beginning of the season has begun. They have suffered tough losses against out-of-conference opponents. Even so, the team has made a recent turnaround and has begun a winning streak.

Senior marketing major Giana McKeough commented on the difficult start to the season and what she learned from the losses. “We started off our season with some really tough non-conference competition. While we didn't get the outcomes we wanted, it was a great opportunity for learning and growth,” she said.

Mckeough carrying the ball upfield during a match.

The team responded by winning their first conference game with a score of 9-0. McKeough credited the remarkable win to the hard work and dedication by all the players on the team. “I am very proud of this team for putting in the work every day. In August, we started with two weeks of preseason, practicing from 6:00 to 8:00 in the morning and coming back for a second session in the afternoon.”

McKeough added, “I am also very proud of my team for playing through such a tough schedule that past few weeks. It wasn't easy, but as a team we kept our heads high and used our losses to get better rather than shut down.”

Graduate student Bianca Bachisin commented on the tremendous victory against their first conference opponent of the season. “I believe a key moment during this season was our successful game against Southern Connecticut State University. After a difficult start to the season against four PSAC (Pennsylvania Athletic State Conference) teams, beginning conference play with a big team win boosted our spirit and confidence. Not only were we able to score nine goals, but during the game we put into action many skills and concepts we have been working hard on during practice.”

Minicozzi preparing to play defense against an opponent.

Even through their bumpy start, the goal was always set from the beginning. Senior nursing major Morgan Minicozzi explained what her expectation was from opening week. “I expect us to still make it to the NE10 championship game, but this year we’re hoping to bring home the title for our conference. I also expect us to go even a little further in NCAAs as long as we are focused and consistent with our play this season.”

Minicozzi also added about her reflection on the early season struggles. “After our losses to PSAC teams it really knocked us into shape and made us prepared for our NE10 conference play. There’s a lot of adaptations to the press/formation we play in, corner shots and overall ways of attacking each play that we are adjusting to. PSAC teams are great competition to learn from, and I can proudly say that although we lost to them they definitely taught us a lot as a team. We broke down several hours of film to understand the changes we had to make and it is paying off.”

Minicozzi continued, “Even though we are in a new environment with a larger roster and new coaching staff, we are all supporting each other and giving each other feedback when necessary to help the overall team do a better job this season.”

Last season, field hockey lost in the NE10 Championship to Assumption University. They played them in a rematch on October 11. Sadly, the team suffered a tough loss to Assumption with a score of 2-1.

Bachisin reflected, “As a team we move on from this experience with our heads held high. Through watching game film and reflecting upon the loss, it has provided us with many learning opportunities that we hope to improve upon for future games.”

Minicozzi added, “It was definitely one of the toughest losses we've had since last year. Our returners were viewing this as our `redemption' game since we lost to them 3-2 in the NE10 championship. We were holding our ground the entire game, and unfortunately the score doesn't reflect how hard the team had worked and fought that game. We have learned a lot from their skill level and have identified areas of improvement for future NE10 games, and we hope that when we play them again the result is different.”

Field Hockey during their 9-0 defeat of Southern Connecticut State University

Sophomore sport management major Jillian Riche, in her second season, reflected on the potential of the team and how they have overcome the difficulties. “The team has adapted a lot throughout the season with a new coach staff, new formation and getting lots of new girls. We have lots of talent and from our first scrimmage to our most recent game I can say we have made lots of improvements and look so much better as a team.”

The field hockey team has been able to respond to a rocky and challenging start and have begun to display their full potential. Their main goal is still to win the NE10 Conference and with the way they are playing they are on track to achieve this.

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