Field Hockey Team Hopes for Repeat of Last Year’s Success
By Jamie Alicea
Kean’s women’s field hockey team is looking to continue where they left off last season, where they posted a 15-5 record, the second best season the program has had in its history. The Cougars started off this season strong, going on a three-game winning streak. The last two games has seen the Cougars struggle though, as they recorded a hard fought loss to Stevens Institute of Technology and a heart-breaking overtime loss to Vassar College.
“We switched to a new system last game and it was more defensively because we felt like we were giving up too many goals,” said Leslie LaFronz, head coach of the team. “Because we’re so high powered, I felt like we’re better off having a better defense, not giving up goals because we have a better chance of capitalizing in less opportunities.”
Their losses this season don’t appear to have anything to do with a lack of offense, as the Cougars have shown flashes of a very high-powered offensive system, averaging about five goals a game. From the outside looking in, the Cougars might look like they’re in a rebuilding stage, considering their loss of six seniors and the fact that five new freshman are currently starting this year, but LaFronz and her team believe differently.
“This team is very highly skilled,” she said. “We have a very high-powered offense. We have speed and we are going to take some lumps, but as the season progresses if we can come away with a winning season with five starting freshman and only one senior that’s the beginning of a program.”
No one believes more in the coach’s words than senior captain Stephanie Rios. “I eat, sleep, and breathe field hockey,” Rios said. “It’s changed me by boosting my confidence and my passion- working as a team, representing my team by not acting a fool in class, becoming a woman and being empowered.”
Although the Cougars are currently 3-2, they believe they have a program that’s up for the challenge and ready to post double-digitwinning season.
“It means something to be an athlete at Kean University. All of the athletes support each other… understand each other…there’s a lot of interaction between the coaches. We cross train and I think we realize here that it’s not about a stick or a ball; it’s about family,” said LaFronz.
The Cougars are readying up for a double header this weekend as they go on the road to face Thomas College, then head to Maine to play St. Josephs College of Maine.