A breakout season for sophomore forward and midfielder Tori Sutera is officially underway.
As a freshman, Sutera scored just three goals which is impressive considering she spent the year, like most freshmen, fighting for a role and learning what field hockey is like at the collegiate level.
Through 10 games in 2022, the young forward already has four goals and two assists and has helped jolt the Red Hawks into their six-game winning streak.
For Sutera, the biggest difference between this year and last has been her confidence.
“Last year I was a little unsure of myself and I would get down on myself a lot but this year I’ve realized that the little mistakes don’t matter and if I push past them, then I can do great things,” Sutera said. “So that and then also, my teammates lifting me up, my coaches lifting me up has been a big help too.”
The growth has been exponential, which is a credit to Sutera’s strong work ethic, and the head coach of the field hockey team, Eileen O’Reilly, agrees.
“When I think about [Sutera], it’s her work ethic and honestly how much she’s grown from her role last year where she played some, she wasn’t starting but she rotated in, to where she’s at now,” O’Reilly said. “And I think back to her growth and confidence last spring and just how much she has believed in herself more. Truthfully, I don’t even think we’ve reached nearly her potential, which is really exciting.”
What Sutera brings to the team is rare. Her ability to attack the outside while using her speed to cut the ball in along with being a tough one v. one defender makes her very valuable.
O’Reilly believes her style of play is a great example for the rest of the team and that it helps set up scoring opportunities.
“I think that she has really led by example with, even though she’s a forward, she plays really good one v. one defense and when you think about field hockey, the closer that we can win the ball to the circle where we’re trying to score, the easier it’s going to be to score,” O’Reilly said. “So when you have forwards like [Sutera] who are really good one v. one defenders, it sets up a lot of good scoring opportunities.”
It’s safe to say that Sutera has found her role with the team and home at Montclair State University. She knew at first glance during a visit back in 2021 on a cold Sunday in Feb.
“Out of all the tours I did, when I came to Montclair [State] it felt like the best fit for me,” Sutera said. “[It had] the most home-y feel and I had the best connection with the players I got to meet and the coaches. Yeah so, when I came to Montclair [State], I think that’s when I knew, and then when I looked into the programs for education, they matched with my interests.”
Because Sutera was such a highly rated recruit, she had her fair choice of schools. When word got around that Sutera was coming to Montclair State, many coaches made it known to O’Reilly about how they felt.
“When the girls commit, they put it on Instagram or these recruiting services put it on Instagram,” O’Reilly said. “And when the word was out that [Sutera] committed to Montclair State, several coaches reached out to me like ‘You got [Sutera] to go to Montclair State, we really wanted her.’”
It goes to show how talented of a player Sutera was coming out of high school and the Red Hawks are lucky to have her.
“I was psyched that I got her on campus because I wasn’t sure,” O’Reilly said. “You know she’s from South Jersey, sometimes it’s hard to get those girls to come up here but it worked out and I’m thrilled, we’re really lucky to have her.”
As of now, things are flying high for Sutera and there is still a lot of time and room for growth.
A big motivator for Sutera is hearing O’Reilly talk about past Red Hawks and she wants to one day be one of the players known to future teams.
“Hearing coach [O’Reilly] talk about the players on the team before my time pushes me a lot because I want to be one of those players that she talks about when I leave,” Sutera said. “There’s actually another Tori that was on the team before me that coach talks about and how much she improved throughout her four years here and I would love to be the next Tori that she talks about.”