For most sports, the goalkeeper plays a crucial role in almost all of the team and game dynamics. The goalie can essentially make or break a team. Luckily for the Geneseo field hockey team, they had senior Dayna Mercer in goal.
Having started in all but two games over the course of her entire career as a Knight, Mercer has achieved many impressive accomplishments. After being the first Geneseo goalkeeper to break the 400-save mark with her 474 saves, Mercer has undoubtedly earned herself the title of the Geneseo field hockey program’s all-time leader for saves.
After devoting so much of herself to the sport and to her team, Mercer explained that the emotional difficultly associated with the end of her career has come to an end.
“I really will miss the community; I’ll miss my players on the field. I know I’ve complained about practice, but being able to play at practice with people who are your best friends is one of the best things,” Mercer said. “It’s so much fun and, even in games when you’re in high stress situations, you’re doing it with your best friends so you know that you’ll be supported the whole time. And especially regarding my defense, I had a really close connection with them. [Junior] Liz Doherty, [junior] Maria Premo, [senior] Elena Hingston—they make me look so much better than I am.”
One of Mercer’s best attributes is that she is extremely modest in regards to her field hockey skills. When discussing her numerous accolades, one wouldn’t be able to tell that she has as many records as she does.
Mercer explained that Geneseo was everything that she was looking for academically and the fact that it was a Division III school made it easy for her to continue her field hockey career. It was a great choice for her coming out of high school.
“It was almost as if Geneseo was a perfect fit and it just so happened that the field hockey program here was good and that I fit in well with the program,” Mercer said. “It kind of just happened … I wasn’t necessarily looking to play in college, it just fell into place. I knew that I wanted to continue field hockey in college, but I wasn’t sure if it would be through club or varsity.”
Little did she know that she was about to become one of the top goalies that the Geneseo field hockey program had ever seen. Mercer’s positive attitude and love of the game are part of what make it possible for her to have such a powerful impact. Committed individuals like Mercer are the kinds of athletes who really give the program character; leading others to follow in her humility and emphasis on teamwork.
“I came in as a freshmen goalie just expecting to be on the team and make friends. I didn’t really think that it would become such an important aspect in my life,” Mercer said. “I had no idea what it was going to entail—going into college playing a Division III sport—especially with how much time and responsibility it takes up, but I can say that I’m glad that I went through it.”
While the Geneseo athletic community will be left with Mercer’s accomplishments, Mercer will take away a multitude of life experiences and lessons that have helped shape her into the focused and collaborative individual that she will continue to be in her journeys beyond Geneseo.