On Oct. 22, the Manhattanville College women’s field hockey team earned a bid into the MAC Freedom Conference tournament by defeating Eastern University 3-2. This was the program’s first Conference tournament berth since 2011. The Valiants moved on to play Kings College in the semi- final matchup. During the regular season, Manhattanville defeated Kings 3-1. However, Kings got the best of the Valiants, shutting them out 3-0 on the Monarch’s home field. The Valiants were far from being the favorite team to make the tournament.
With only one conference win last season, the Valiants were projected to finish last in the MAC Freedom conference for this 2016 season. The team knew that they had an uphill climb to make an impression within the conference. With only 13 eld players, the team entered the season with a chip on their shoulder. Graduate Assistant coach, Daniella Bernasconi, knew that this season was going to be different.
“From working with them in the spring, I could already tell that they wanted this,” said Bernasconi. “The entire team wanted to be there and work hard every day, and that’s what we did.”
The Valiants nished with an overall record of 11-7 (4-3 MAC Freedom) with contributions from multiple players.
Senior captain, Bregje Smits, Bussum, Netherlands, led the team in points this season with 34 points, improving on her previous season’s total of 17. She nished the season with 15 goals, 9 more than the teams next highest scorer.
Smits was joined by junior Melissa Stys, Pequannock, New Jersey, who led the team in assists (16) and nished second to Smits in points with 26. This campaign for a conference berth began back in the spring of 2016. The leadership from upperclassman was a key factor to this team’s success.
“Our main motto is to treat every day like it’s game day,” said Bernasconi.
This resonated with younger players, and acted as the model for the team to emulate all season long.
Freshman Robin Boot, Bedum, Netherlands, made an immediate impact on the program in her first season as a Valiant. Boot registered 6 goals in the season, and was second to her Dutch counterpart, Smits (15) in goals. She also received the MAC Freedom Conference Player of the Week award, after scoring 4 goals over the course of 2 games. Boot will seek to be a key factor in the future success of the program.
Following their playoff loss to Kings, the Valiants entered the ECAC eight team tournament. The Valiants took on #20 Kean University, in Union, New Jersey for their first round of the tournament. The last time the Valiants entered the ECAC was in 2004, where they defeated #15 Montclair State in the first round. They would go on to lose to #13 Lebanon Valley in the next round. Kean defeated Manhattanville 3-1 to end the Valiants’ 2016 season.
The Valiants will look to build on these accomplishments in upcoming years. With such
a young team, they will use this experience to improve the program for the years to come. The team has evolved from the bottom of the conference, to a team who emits the poise to beat anyone. This confidence within the program will look to be instilled in its current, and future players.