Kean Field Hockey Team finds success with younger team
By: Jonathan Bonilla
In the 2013 season, Kean’s field hockey team finished with the second best season in program history going 15-5. The team knew it was going to have a strong year with six starting seniors, which brought a lot of experience and leadership to the team, according to head coach Leslie LaFronz.
With the absence of any returning seniors, other than Stephanie Rios, the team felt this year was going to be a rebuilding season and brought in 11 freshmen and two transfers. The Cougars finished the 2014 regular season with a winning record of 13-8 and competed in both NJAC and ECAC tournaments despite the challenge of a young new team.
“They needed to learn the new system and we needed them to get the experience of them playing in the collegiate level,” LaFronz said. “To have six starting freshmen coming in and not having played at this level, and to have a winning season and to make both NJAC and ECAC post-season playoffs was tremendous.”
Although the Cougars knew they were going to go through a few struggles in the season, they remained optimistic. They won their first two games against two tough opponents, St. John Fisher College and Susquehanna University, where they didn’t expect the victories, according to LaFronz.
Throughout the season, the Cougars managed to identify themselves as competitive force for the future taking on teams such as no. 1 ranked TCNJ.
“We took on TCNJ 2 to 1 when they’re one of the best teams in the country, but even that loss was a tremendous stride in closing the gap to some of the best programs,” LaFronz said.
Kean faced off against TCNJ again in the NJAC playoffs where they lost again 5-1.
“I don’t think there’s anything we could’ve done differently to prepare for that game,” LaFronz said. “If we played them again maybe it’s a better game, it wasn’t our best game but these girls worked extremely hard.”
The Cougars went on to face Arcadia University in the ECAC quarter final round where they fell 4-1.
With much of the team returning next year, LaFronz will still lead a young team. The team will be a bit more experienced with the help of upperclassmen midfielder Marissa Robinson and forward Chelsea Mann.
Robinson and Mann have also been named to the All-NJAC Field Hockey Team alongside freshman Shauna LaMaina. Another big contribution to the team is LaMaina’s twin sister Krista LaMaina, who was named ECAC player of the week three times this season.