Field hockey wins over-time thriller

The women's field hockey team began its season last week with a win and a loss, coming off of a record-breaking year in 2009.

During the 2009 season, the team posted a school record of 11 wins. They also finished 5-1 in the SUNYAC conference. This record placed the team second in the conference overall; the sole loss was to SUNY Cortland.

The Knights will be looking to avenge that loss on Friday, Oct. 1 at Cortland, a game sure be one of the most important of the season. The Red Dragons are currently ranked fifth in the country for Division III, and are probably the biggest roadblock for the Knights' conference championship hopes. According to head coach Jessica Seren, the conference championship is the team's foremost goal this season.

The Knights kicked off this year's season with two away games at the University of Rochester and Hamilton College. The game at Rochester provided a thrilling 2-1 victory in overtime, but the Knights quickly came back down to earth after suffering their first loss to Hamilton, 4-2.

In an e-mail, Seren said that she has "been pleased overall with [the team's] performance in [its] first two games this season." Seren also said that she has been especially happy with the way the returning players and first year players have interacted with one another.

The freshmen on the team have asserted their presence, scoring three of the team's four goals this season. First year forwards Kayla DeAngelis and Katie Farley were the heroes of the Knights' dramatic overtime victory over Rochester, adding a goal apiece. Seniors Rianna Travers, Michelle Milkovich, Stephanie Maisonet and sophomore Katie Gallo are also players to watch this season - each were All-Conference selections last year.

The Knights still have a lot to improve upon, but it is early in the season. According to Seren, one of the team's greatest downfalls has been its inability to consistently maintain a high level of performance. "We need to work on […] being able to execute our style of play more consistently," she said. This inconsistency was evident in the Hamilton game, when the team outshot its opponents but was outscored 4-2.

Still, Seren said she is optimistic about the upcoming season. She said her goal is to finish at the top of the conference and improve upon last season's 11 wins.

"With the caliber of players we have returning in addition to our very talented incoming freshman class, we feel these are two very obtainable goals for us that we will continue to work hard at achieving," Seren said.

The Knights will continue on their road to the SUNYAC title next Tuesday at Houghton College. The Knights return home Sept. 17 and 18 against conference foes SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz.