Field Hockey Didn’t Get The Result They Wanted, But Rallied to Make Playoffs

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Published December 9, 2022
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The Montclarion
The team had four seniors this season, including Lauren Pickul, who had 115 saves. Trevor Giesberg | The Montclarion

The Montclair State University’s women’s field hockey season has officially concluded. Like every season, The Red Hawks were excited and eager to get on the field and play with high levels of skill and enthusiasm while winning as many games as possible.

The Red Hawks, as the No. 4 seed, lost in the semifinals round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament, but the fact that they were seeded so high after the start of their season is more than impressive and a huge accomplishment.

The field hockey team had a shaky start, but they rallied back to play in the postseason. Trevor Giesberg | The Montclarion

The field hockey team had a shaky start, but they rallied back to play in the postseason.
Trevor Giesberg | The Montclarion

The Red Hawks kicked off their season on Sept. 1. Their opponent, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), managed to outscore them by 3-1 despite a goal from sophomore forward/midfielder Tori Sutera and seven saves from senior goalkeeper Lauren Pickul.

Although playing with their best foot forward, the Red Hawks did not have much more luck throughout the next game three games to start the season. They ended up being outscored by their opponents by a margin of 7-1 while being shut out in two of those games.

Sophomore defender Kylie Compton explained how the team was able to stay positive during this rough start.

“We all were just kind of like, okay, this isn’t Montclair State field hockey,” Compton said. “This isn’t what we do, we kind of went to practice and really focused on a lot of basic skills and gelling together, working together and just kind of like turning the intensity up at practices. And just working harder to achieve those goals of winning games.”

The Red Hawks did eventually turn it around.

After starting with a record of 0-4, the season began to turn in the right direction for the Red Hawks during their fifth game of the season.

The Red Hawks exploded for a dominant shut-out victory against Vassar College by a final score of 4-0. Sutera was able to add two goals. Junior forward/midfielder Carlie Van Tassel and sophomore midfielder/forward Gab Maisto each contributed a goal while also being their firsts of the season. This well-played victory proved to be the Red Hawks’ first big win of the season.

After the impressive win against Vassar, Montclair State went on a big winning streak. The Red Hawks won their following five games and soon enough, they were back above .500 with a record of 6-4.

During their streak, Montclair State beat six teams by an impressive margin of 15-3. In fact, three of those games were shut-out wins. The Red Hawks really began to shine including six different players who scored goals including Sutera with three, Van Tassel with five, Maisto with two, junior forward/midfielder Carly Amerman with three, senior forward/midfielder Linsey Champa and Compton.

In addition, Pickul made a total of 31 saves on the goal.

However, the Red Hawks’ winning streak came to an end during their 11th game of the season against Kean University with a final score of 3-2. Despite the loss, Maisto scored two goals for Montclair State.

In total, 38 goals were saved by three different goalkeepers including Pickul, sophomore Sedona Scully and sophomore Paige Santos.

At the conclusion of the regular season, Montclair State had a record of 10-8.

During the NJAC tournament, The Red Hawks gained the No. 4 seed. They were set to square off against Rowan University who had a final regular season record of 17-1. Thus, they were seeded as the No. 1. Montclair State played as hard as they could but eventually fell to Rowan with a final score of 6-1. However, Maisto scored the lone Red Hawk goal of the game while Pickul made 12 saves.

Despite the loss, the Red Hawks have nothing to be ashamed of while having an overall great season with each and every player playing exceptional field hockey and leaving everything they have out on the field every game.

Van Tassel, Pickul and Compton all made the NFHCA All-Region IV Team as well as the all-NJAC team along with Maisto.

Head coach Eileen O'Reilly (middle) harped on how preseason preparation and fitness improvements are important for the team, Trevor Giesberg | The Montclarion

Head coach Eileen O'Reilly (middle) harped on how preseason preparation and fitness improvements are important for the team.
Trevor Giesberg | The Montclarion

Head coach Eileen O’Reilly relayed her message to the team at the season’s conclusion.

“We’ve spent the past few weeks doing end-of-season meetings with each of the members of the team,” O’Reilly said. “And taking their feedback and giving them some feedback. And really my message has been that we need to focus on our team goals throughout the off-season. And so many of the girls from the team mentioned in their meetings that preparation for preseason and improving fitness is absolutely something that can make a difference for us. We’ve already started our offseason lifting and conditioning program with our strength coach and just spent time together and connecting as a group.”

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