The sky was a dark shade of gray as a chilly mixture of rain and wind bombarded Montclair State on Oct. 22. The rain pattered against the metal benches and soaked the freshly mowed grass of Sprague Field. People were careful to watch their step, so as not to slip and fall, whilst getting umbrellas out to combat the rain.
The bench area of Sprague Field gave way to several inadvertently-orchestrated rows of umbrellas lined up next to each other. The fans were not going to let the bad weather dampen their excitement for the game, and neither were the players.
In spite of already guaranteeing themselves a spot in this year’s playoffs, the Red Hawks had a lot on the line in their game against the York College Spartans. Not only did Montclair State’s field hockey team have to defend their home undefeated record, they also had to represent their college during two important events going on during that day.
The first of those two events was Senior Day, a day designed to honor the senior athletes at Montclair State. This year, there are four on the field hockey team: Arielle Galgano, Danielle Butrico, Camille Maimone and Megan Roeloffs. In spite of the small number of seniors on the team, Head Coach Eileen O’ Reilly said that a driving force behind the team’s performance was honoring its senior members.
“Today is our senior day and we’re playing for our seniors,” O’ Reilly said. “The seniors on our team have had a great career, and this year is no different.”
The second of the two events was the annual Homecoming Week, an event that promotes school pride and allows both students and alumni to come together to celebrate their beloved college.
When talking about Homecoming, O’Reilly affirmed that the event only drove the field hockey team further to perform to the best of their ability. She talked about how two of the alumni that returned to campus on that day were members of the Montclair State Athletics Hall Of Fame. She explained that the two hall of famers came back to watch the game and support their former team.
“It shows how rich the community is at Montclair,” O’ Reilly said. “To show support on Homecoming shows how supportive the community is.”
The actual game was a competitive back-and-forth between the Red Hawks and the Spartans, leaving Red Hawk Kailey Dalgauer the victim of an injury after she took a bad bump on the field. Dalgauer had to be carried off the field, but the crowd showed their respect by applauding.
The injury did not keep her down, however, as Dalgauer went back into the game about ten minutes later. Maimone explained how Dalgauer’s returning to the game exemplified the commitment level of the whole team.
“The motivating force is each other. We don’t want to lose and we play for each other,” Maimone said. “The injury proved our philosophy right, as she toughed it out and came back into the game.”
The game went into overtime, thanks to a tied score of 2-2, with Red Hawk team member Kaitlyn Struss scoring the winning goal for the team. The Red Hawks managed to successfully defend their home undefeated streak, increasing their home record to 8-0. After the game, there was a celebratory feast in the Panzer Gym. Team members and coaches enjoyed a buffet with their family and friends. The team’s senior members posed for the camera as they held up a cake made in honor of Senior Day.
Even with the celebration, the team was well aware that there was still a long road ahead of them. When discussing how the Red Hawks would keep up their success in the play-offs, Maimone explained that they treat every game as importantly as the previous one.
“You go into every game fired up,” Maimone said. “You don’t look back; you score one goal, you score another one.”