The field hockey team had a rocky start to their season last weekend, losing 6-2 to Fairfield University, and then falling 7-1 against Hofstra University. With many new additions to the team, coupled with a small number of upperclassmen, both the players and coach acknowledge that there will be growing pains as the season progresses.
Fairfield came out strong in the first half, tallying four goals before the break. For the Raiders, junior attack Whitney Jones found the back of the cage in the second half with an assist from senior captain Jessica Gardiner. First–year midfielder Stina Ladd made her debut and did not disappoint, bringing the score to 4-2.
Gardiner feels that the team’s loss of seniors will not necessarily hold them back this year.
“The first-years did an amazing job integrating themselves and have all challenged themselves to be the best versions of themselves at practice,” Gardiner said.
“It makes practice so much more enjoyable when you are out there with some of your best friends,” Gardiner said.
Hofstra also secured a huge lead in their matchup against Colgate. Raiders Head Coach Cathy Foto sees both losses as an opportunity to grow. She feels that as the season progresses, the players will grow more comfortable with each other on the field and show their experience and talent.
“Despite the scores from the weekend we had some great stretches of game play,” Foto said. “We need to work on the mental letdowns that can be game changing in a negative way.”
The slow start is not discouraging Gardiner either. With three years of experience behind her, she knows that a successful season can arise from positive attitudes and perseverance.
“I am looking forward to seeing us evolve. Being that we are very young, we have a lot to learn. Once concepts start to click we sync with one another on the field, I know we can make it back to the Patriot League Tournament,” Gardiner said.
Coach Foto shares a similar mindset to Gardiner. One of her main goals is to get the team to learn how to stay organized and keep their focus for the full 70 minutes.
“Our strengths are working hard no matter what is happening and no matter what the score is. Our work rate is strong so now we need to improve our efficiency offensively and defensively. Getting organized and staying organized comes with experience so every game we get a little smarter,” Coach Foto remarked.
The team continues their season on September 5 at 12 p.m. against Bryant. The Raiders closely beat out the Bulldogs last season 2-1, but then went on to lose five straight games. Although Bryant will be a tough opponent, the Raiders need to capitalize and get a major win in order to set the tone for the rest of the season.