The field hockey team hopes the results of the Invitational Tournament held at Geasey Field this weekend are a good indication of how the rest of its season will unfold. The Owls (3-1) won both games, beating Penn, 4-2, Saturday and Lock Haven, 3-2, in overtime Sunday. Coach Amanda Janney said she was pleased with the team’s play.
“They’re really playing as a team – great team effort and they are getting better every game,” Janney said. “Everyone is contributing.”
The Owls’ 13-7 record last season was the program’s best since 1991. They return all but one player from that squad, as well as a handful of new talent. The Owls were picked to finish first in the Atlantic Ten Conference in a preseason coaches poll. Senior midfielder Ashley Bird, who scored the game-winning goal Sunday, said the team is ready to take on the challenge.”In the past, we were always the team to beat,” Bird said.
“We always felt that way. We’re a team and everyone fits in.”Senior midfielder Leanne Vogelsong said the team is anticipating winning the A-10, after falling in the conference tournament in each of the last four seasons.
“We were looking to do that last year, so we’re really excited and confident about this season,” she said. “We’ve had a positive preseason. We can see that now.”
The Owls were chosen ahead of five-time champion Richmond. They 19dropped two games to the Spiders last season, each a 2-1 overtime loss. The latter came in the A-10 tournament semifinals, ending the Owls’ season.
Janney said the Owls have a good blend of talent to compete with Richmond
“We have youth and experience,” she said. “[Richmond] will be a good challenge for us.” The Owls also added a few new members to the coaching staff. Janney said first-year assistant coach Beth Riley
has already proved herself an asset.
“The new coaching staff is raising the bar this season,” Janney said. “They are really going to help.”
A few players have already noticed a positive change.
“Everyone is contributing-returning and new players and coaches,” Vogelsong said. “They are more flexible with our positions, putting players in different spots on the field. We’re adjusting and it’s working.”
Bird said the team has been working
on its passing skills and has seen improvement with each game.
Janney said the team is becoming less dependent on one type of attack. She said it is becoming more balanced and the team is experimenting with different
“Ideally, we’d like to be undefeated,
but we’re going out playing the best,” Bird said. “We are working for the wins this season.”
The Owls next game will be played on Friday at Albany.
Melissa DiPento can be reached at email@example.com.