Scoring three goals in a span of seven minutes to win its season opener 4–1 Saturday against SUNY-Morrisville, the field hockey team demonstrated how its offense will change the style of play this season.
The Bombers are focused on developing two specific areas of the game — the shooting circle and corner scoring opportunities.
The shooting circle is located inside the 25-yard line, 16 yards from the goal, and all goals must be scored from inside this arc. The way the Bombers’ new formation is set up — with five forwards on the starting line — more offensive players are in the circle, ultimately creating more goals for the team.
Head Coach Tracey Houk said just getting more people up the field will create scoring opportunities.
“One thing we’re doing is loading our attack, and so the support in the circle is much greater,” Houk said. “We have more people in the circle. We’re in better position to get rebounds.”
Though the team looks a little different on the field this season, the goal on offense is always the same — cross the 25-yard line, enter the circle and take the shot. Senior forward Katie Brown said the team is driven to get the ball upfield.
“You can’t do anything without getting the ball in the circle,” Brown said. “You can’t score from outside. We really, really push it in there. We’re all working on holding our positions so we don’t swarm the ball.”
Inside the circle, the Bombers are working on getting shots off as fast as possible.
“We’re really focusing on hard, quick, accurate shots,” Brown said. “If you can’t take a shot, force the corner. If you can’t do one you have to do the other.”
An attacking corner is awarded when the defense fouls an offensive player in the area past the 25-yard line. The defending team has five players and the rest of the players are sent behind the 50-yard line, giving the attacking team the advantage. Corners are a vital piece in the Blue and Gold’s offensive game plan, and the team is working on properly executing every opportunity, sophomore forward Amanda Rissmeyer said.
“We practice our corners all the time,” Rissmeyer said. “It’s really good because everyone understands the actual plays and the calls.”
The athletes get to practice early to work on corner plays and practice doesn’t end until Houk is satisfied with the corner plays for the day.
The squad practices different drills that are geared toward better shooting techniques, Houk said.
“One thing that we are focusing on … is getting the ball into the circle as quickly as possible and not playing with it,” Houk said. “Then, as soon as we’re in the circle, taking the shot as quickly as possible.”
While the offense has started to show what its capable of by outshooting Morrisville 19–6, possession, speed and playing as a unit are essential to the team’s circle play, Brown said.
“With the new formation it’s a lot about getting the ball up there and following your pass and being supportive,” Brown said. “It’s just whatever you can do to get that ball in the net. We lay our bodies out for it.”