The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Field Hockey Reflects on an Up-And-Down Season

Colgate Athletics / Mary Grygier

With their season coming to a close, the Colgate University field hockey team is now looking to establish itself in the offseason, building on their successes and implementing key changes for the future. Field hockeys season ended with a 0-4 loss against Wake Forest on Oct. 29, leaving the Raiders with a 3-14 record on the season. While the result is not what the team was looking for, multiple occasions throughout the season proved to both players and coaches that work in the offseason will allow this team to become a serious Patriot League contender next year.

Despite their record, the Raiders remained competitive throughout the entire season, with most losses coming at a slim margin of one or two goals. The had their biggest game of the season on Sept. 16 against American University. Facing off against their first Patriot League opponent of the season, the team put together a stellar defensive performance and ended up barely losing, with a score of 1-2. American would later go on to become the undisputed Patriot League champions, remaining undefeated in conference play. The game represented the incredible potential of this Raiders squad.

Sophomore midfielder Grace Schmelzinger described her emotions after the game, praising her team’s ability to make it a real competition.

“Going into that American game we were hungry; we did not want to lose. It was our first Patriot League game, we were at home [and] none of us [wanted to] lose against American. They ended up winning the Patriot League and it ended up being a 2-1 game, so we were in it the whole time against a dominant team,” Schmelzinger said. 

Despite missing the Patriot League tournament this year, the Raiders look forward to their next season as they continue to progress on and off the field. Senior midfielder Ella Murphy described the massive improvements made within the team’s culture this season that she knows will translate to success on the field. 

“There’s really no differentiation between grades, which is nice to see, and it builds really nice team culture as we go forward and build on our season,” Murphy said.

Murphy also noted that this team structure will be important in the offseason this spring, as the senior class moves out and only the first-year through the junior classes will continue to practice.

Speaking more about some of the team-wide improvements that have been implemented, Schmelzinger explained that the addition of strength and conditioning coach Bre Eldridge has helped with team discipline.

“Having that kind of regimented and focus on the details carried over into literally every other aspect of practices and games, so that was a huge improvement on last year,” Schmelzinger said.

The Raiders season was characterized by the team standing up in the face of adversity. Sophomore goalie Claire van Kempen mentioned how proud she was of the team’s ability to rise to the challenges they faced.

“At one point, we had both of our captains out and we had a lot of our starting players get injured. Everyone just kind of stepped up to new roles and assumed new positions that they didn’t necessarily train for, so that was really good,” van Kempen said.

Though rocky at times, the Colgate field hockey team has a lot of reason to be proud of their season. The team has addressed the year as a solid rebuilding effort. More regimented actions on and off the field have the Raiders hopeful to improve as they look to next season. Their Oct. 29 game against ACC powerhouse Wake Forest University was part of a larger effort the team has made to better prepare themselves for conference play by facing tougher out-of-conference opponents. Offseason honors, such as Murphy receiving All-Patriot League First Team Honors, demonstrate the type of talent that the team fosters — something that will surely bring about success moving forward. Following the 2023 season, the team is optimistic about the prospect of a bright future, facilitated by the building blocks it has laid for itself over the past year.

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