Mari Kniezewski on Field Hockey’s Hot Start and Season

Sophomore midfielder Mari Kniezewski led Colgate to their first win over Bucknell since 2007, scoring one goal and tallying one assist. The Maroon-News sat down with her to discuss her Patriot League Player of the Week honor and the team’s goals for this season.

Q: When April Cornell joined the team last March, what changed? How has she motivated the team and what does she do differently than your previous coach?

A: April has a deep passion for the game that translates in her dedication to this team. She cares not only about the success of her players on the field, but also as individuals off the field. April took over with the intent to rebuild our program, and all of the hard work towards this goal was shown through our win at Bucknell this weekend. 

Q: What did it mean for you to win Patriot League Player of the Week? 

A: Earning Patriot League honors along with another teammate was an amazing moment. It validated all of my hard work and dedication to this game, and I’m beyond lucky to have such an incredible team that pushes me to be better every day. 

Q: What did it mean to your team to win the program’s first games against Bucknell since 2007?

A: Winning the program’s first game against Bucknell since 2007 was the best feeling we could have asked for. Our strength and perseverance as a team are unmatched, and our mental toughness is what continues to push us past our limits every time we step on the field. 

Q: How is your team building going off this strong start to an unprecedented season?

A: After experiencing such a strong victory, our team is hungry for more. We’re using this drive to challenge each other at practices in order to be the best that we can be for upcoming games this spring.    

Q: What is different about your season during the pandemic? How have your practices changed? How have your games changed? How have you bonded as a team?

A: The pandemic has definitely changed the normalcy surrounding our season. We’ve adjusted to early morning practices for scheduling purposes, and we’re playing a total of six games rather than the 17 games we get in a standard season. Even though this deficit is significant, our team is using each of these six games as an opportunity to leave it all out on the field. We’re excited to have any form of a season, and we’re looking forward to leaving our mark on every game.  

Q: Aside from winning the Patriot League, what do you anticipate could be your greatest accomplishment as a player this season? As a team?

A: Our greatest accomplishments going forward are going to be fueled by our love for the game. If we continue to show up to practice with the same energy we’ve had all spring, I know we’ll achieve more milestones going forward. I’m so proud to be a part of this team, and I wouldn’t want to experience these victories with anyone else.