The field hockey team came out strong with a new formation and was looking to generate more offensive opportunities this season. From the start of the season, the Bombers stressed working on corner plays as one of their best opportunities to score in a game.
The Bombers scored a total of 25 goals through 15 games and recorded 198 shots on goal, many of which were the product of the Blue and Gold’s 116 penalty corners, and finished the season with an overall record of 5–10 overall and 2–4 in Empire 8 conference competition.
The Blue and Gold hit their stride winning three games in a row at Yavits Field in September. The team also picked up Empire 8 conference wins against Utica College and Elmira College in October.
This season the team focused on keeping up the intensity in games. On the field the Bombers would yell “two minutes.” Sophomore midfielder/forward Tracy Rivas, who lead the team in goals scored with seven, said this is a reminder to keep up the intensity and make plays.
“Two minutes is if we score or we get scored on, two minutes is a chance for us to pick up the intensity,” Rivas said. “This is two minutes for us to not let them score. Two minutes for us to score right back at them. It is a chance for us to keep the pressure going, keep the intensity going, keep the focus going.”
This season new Assistant Coach Lindsay Hendricks joined the team from Skidmore College. Hendricks was previously a goalie for SUNY-Oneonta and as the newest member of the Bombers’ coaching staff, emphasized to the goalies that it is important to dive for the ball and take chances in practice.
This season sophomore goalie Kelly Singleton started 13 games, had 139 saves and was named Empire 8 goalie of the week three times. Sophomore goalie Samantha Grassi played in seven games, started two had 20 saves. Taking risks is one of the best ways for the players to become better Hendricks said.
“What I have been really trying to get across to Kelly and Sam is that they have to be willing to try things in practice to have it happen in a game,” she said. “Goalies need to not overthink what they are doing in the cage and to just use their instincts, by taking chances and going big. They have completely responded and neither one of them have played better than they have in the last two weeks.”
The Bombers’ goalies aren’t the only players on the field taking risks. Everyone on the team is looking for opportunities to change the play and they train to take risks in practice and then execute those plays in game situations.
“We want to try to take as many risks in practice as we can,” Rivas said. “We’ll know how to play and what to do and we’ll be more confident when it comes to game time.”
On October 12th the Bombers started to practice on the new turf field behind the new Athletics and Events Center and their final two home games of the season were played at Higgins Field. The turf provided a faster surface for game play and the team was excited about being able to practice on the same kind of surface playoffs would be hosted on, senior defensive back Miz Muzio said.
“We got a little caught up in the race for Empire 8’s and winning,” Muzio said. “Just the general rush of the season because it does go by fast. In order to stay focused and stay composed we needed to go back to the basics at the end of the season.”
The Blue and Gold played Hartwick for their final game this season Saturday, dropping the game 1–0. Looking forward to next season, the Bombers will return a core group of players who stepped up this year to become significant contributors. Sophomore forward Julia Conroy, the second leading goal scorer and junior forward Heather Kozimor, the third leading goal scorer, will return for the Blue and Gold after playing in all 15 games this season. This year’s freshman class also contributed to the team, with midfielder Sam English and forward/midfielder Katie Kennedy played in every game. The Bombers will look to build off of this returning talent as the team takes aim at returning to the Empire 8 playoffs in 2011.