Athletes are often told, “It’s not always about winning or the final score.” Even though sometimes that can be frustrating, it is the truth, and the Geneseo field hockey team is the perfect example of why. While the team puts 100 percent of their effort into every game on the field, they also must put work in off the field. For example, team bonding is very important for the field hockey team, which was stressed during the pre-season.
“We focus on doing team activities … for the team to get to know each other better. There were several nights we had them doing things after our double session practices,” head coach Jess Seren said. Some of those activities included movie nights, ice cream nights and one of the assistant coaches even had the women over to her house.
The Knights also understand the importance of adjustment. Incoming freshmen players must learn how to navigate their own college life, while simultaneously learning this new team’s philosophy and offensive and defensive strategies on the field. One of the biggest adjustments these players need to make is playing under “a coach with a different philosophy and a different style of play,” Seren said. The speed of play is also a lot faster than it is at the high school level, but the structure of having classes then practice later in the afternoon is one similarity for the transitioning players.
“I even think players have more flexibility with their time in college because some of them are done with class at 11 in the morning,” Seren said.
Some players pick these changes up faster than others. Ultimately, through practice and team bonding activities, the Knights will grow as a whole team.
“I think that’s why the team bonding aspect is important—because it gets them more comfortable, and the more comfortable they feel with their teammates around them, the smoother the transition from playing high school to the college game is,” Seren said.
One last adjustment that the team has been working through since last season is the addition of the turf field, and so far there have been nothing but positive reports. The biggest difference, Seren said, is getting to train on a surface and a facility that promotes their stick work and stick skills. It also helps in regard to their home and away schedule, because there were multiple teams who wouldn’t come to Geneseo because of the grass.
In terms of scores, Seren is still confident that the Knights will be a “dangerous” force later this season. “[We’ll] peak at the right time because we’re doing good things out there,” Seren said.
In their game against SUNY Cortland on Friday Sept. 16, the team lost 5-2, but the score line was deceiving. The rest of the statistics were pretty even, as both teams had 10 in-penalty corners and the shots were 13-12, with Cortland only leading Geneseo by one attempt.
“Our record is our record, but it’s not indicative of how we’ve been playing and the growth that we’ve had,” Seren said.
The team knows that their record does not mean everything and that they can continue to work with the success they’ve achieved throughout the season thus far. The Knights look to play two games against conference rivals SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz on Friday Sept. 23 and Saturday Sept. 24, respectively, at home.