On the field, the field hockey team puts forth winning performances comprised of the efforts of many different individuals. Contributions range from freshmen to seniors all working collectively as one to get a victory every game.
One player that has stood out this season is sophomore Amber Haslett.
The forward leads the team in goals and is second in shots taken. Last year she only had six goals in 19 games played. It was not the season she wanted, but it propelled her to be the player she is, helping the team be as successful as it can be.
“This year I really stepped up my confidence and worked hard all summer to really prepare for this season,” Haslett said. “Preparation is everything, and everything I did from the second the season ended last year to the second we stepped back on the field this year really helped my overall game play and physical being.”
The Red Hawks are looking to become New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Champions once again after failing to accomplish the feat since the 2013 season. Senior captains Arielle Galgano and Megan Roeloffs, along with fellow senior team members Danielle Butrice and Camille Maimone, won the NJAC Championship during their freshman season in 2013.
Reinforcements from all grade levels have appeared this season, but it’s quite apparent the young talent on this team has played a significant role in their early success, and Haslett is leading the charge.
“I want to make a statement for our team to other teams to show that the Montclair State University field hockey team is out to play, and we are hungry for the NJAC Championship,” Haslett said.
There are 10 freshmen this year and seven sophomores. Players such as freshman Kelly Watson and sophomore Alexis Ambrosio have also provided that underclassmen spark for the team. Nevertheless, the majority of the leadership comes down from the seasoned, veteran upperclassmen players.
“The upperclassmen are really good role models, and they have made me a better player altogether because, when we go against each other in practice, they always try their hardest, which makes me really have to work hard to be a better player as well,” Haslett said.
One of the players that works the hardest in practice is junior Kaitlyn Struss, who has continued her stellar run with the Red Hawks. Struss is also a captain on the team and is looked upon as arguably the deadliest attacking player on the team. So far this season, she’s scored six goals, placing her second in scoring within the team. Her 55 shots are the most shots out of anyone else on the team this season. When she’s not scoring, she’s making plays for others.
“I make myself a constant threat for the full 70 minutes of the game,” Struss said. “When I get the ball in our attacking circle, I make sure I create a play that will benefit the team.”
Her culture of hard work has trickled down to the younger players, and they have left an impact on Struss as well.
“The underclassmen have helped me amongst the years because every day I compete against them on the field in practice, and if they did not go 100 percent in every rep in every drill, it would not push me and I would not get better,” Struss said. “I want to be better every day of every month of every year.”
As a captain, Struss is committed to setting prime examples of good values to all her teammates.
“I strive to make smart decisions on and off the field that will show my teammates what it means to be a part of Montclair State field hockey,” Struss said. “As a captain I support them, I push them, and I teach them everything I know that has helped me over the years.”
Haslett and Struss complement each other well. The team genuinely likes to play together. They want to constantly improve day-in and day-out and are entirely committed to winning an NJAC title. When the mixture of great talent unites with outstanding chemistry, anything is possible.