BY Kenneth Ekert
The Sacred Heart University field hockey team is heading to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament for the first time since 2014, after a 6-3 win over Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn on Oct. 19.
“The feeling around the locker room has been pretty exciting, especially since this is everyone’s first experience making it this far in a season,” said sophomore goalie Hailey Power.
Qualifying for the MAAC Tournament was one of the main goals that the team had coming into this season.
“In past years, we have always come so close but have fallen short,” said junior forward Colleen McAninley. “So to qualify this year is just awesome. We are all pretty excited, and it’s great seeing all of our hard work and commitment pay off.”
The team went 6-2 through their first eight games of the season, which included winning four of their final five games in that stretch. Afterwards, they went on a five-game losing streak as conference play was beginning.
“I think for any team, it is hard not to have a bit of a lull at some point in the season,” said senior back Allie Brouhard. “Those five games we lost weren’t ones where we played badly, they were just games where we weren’t finishing in the net and capitalizing on opportunities.”
The team eventually broke their losing streak with a 2-1 conference win over Bryant University on Oct. 12.
“We knew that was going to be a huge game, and we had to make a comeback and a statement to the rest of the conference,” said McAninley.
After the wins over Bryant and LIU Brooklyn, the team lost their final three games of the regular season. Loses to Quinnipiac, 2-0, and 2-1 to both Rider and Columbia respectively.
“As a team, we want our mindset to prove who we are and what we can do because we know we are better when we work together,” said Power.
The team is entering the MAAC Tournament as the number 4 seed, which is the lowest seed. However, the coaches and players haven’t let that faze them.
“We will put ourselves in the best position possible to win the MAAC by putting in 110 percent and using practices leading up to the tournament to smooth out any rough edges we have,” said Power.
The mentality the team has had throughout the course of the season has been to play, “for the teammate next to you.” The players feed off one another’s energy and skills to propel them to victory.
“At this moment, we already have all of the tools we need to win the MAAC Tournament, which are fitness, skill, field hockey IQ and a close-knit group of girls,” said Brouhard.
The MAAC Tournament goes from Nov. 2, through Nov. 4. Sacred Heart will face top-seeded Monmouth at Monmouth University in Long Branch, N.J.