After losing the first five games of the season, the Hawks bounced back by winning four of the next five matches. However, those would be their final wins of the 2014 season.
After a 3-2 loss to the La Salle Explorers on Nov. 2, the field hockey team finished its season with an overall record of 4-14 and a 1-5 record in the Patriot League. The team lost its final eight matches.
This season wraps up the careers of three seniors who, along with the rest of the team, have put countless hours of hard work into the season: Abby Sprinkel, Natalie Tacka and Steph Fratoni. The team will lose a great deal of experience in its lineup, as each of the seniors saw a steady increase in playing time from their freshman to senior years.
However, the midfielder/defender Fratoni has a positive attitude toward the conclusion of her career.
“I think this season, our team improved our play from previous years,” she said. “However, our goal was to make the Patriot League tournament, and we fell short of that (…) but we are optimistic about next season.”
Fratoni said that one of the team’s greatest struggles this season was with consistency.
“We were capable of competing and beating the top teams in our league, but we did not play our best every game,” she said. “I think everyone on the team recognized this and knows that, if they can play their best consistently, they will be a huge threat in the Patriot League.”
Fratoni has confidence in young players like sophomore forward Gabby Tofig. Tofig sparked the team for its first win on the season against Towson. She scored two goals, one of which gave Lehigh an overtime victory.
“The main goal was to win games and get to the Patriot League tournament,” Tofig said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t end the season the way we had wanted, but we had a lot of positives, too. The team started to really play well toward the end of the season, and we had a better record than the season before.”
Tofig led the charge for the Mountain Hawks during their three-game winning streak in the middle of the season. She found the back of the cage twice in a 4-2 victory against the Sacred Heart Pioneers and was one of two student-athletes in the program to take home All-Patriot League honors.
“I love playing field hockey, so I can’t wait to get back out and play again,” Tofig said. “I am looking forward to seeing how the team progresses and see how far we can go. I know the team is very dedicated and talented, and unfortunately, our record didn’t show that this year. I look forward to beating Lafayette, making it to the Patriot League tournament and hopefully getting a Patriot League championship ring.”
A championship ring would certainly be a wonderful reward for the Hawks, but a much-anticipated off-season will come before anything else.
Coach Stacey Eversley and the field hockey team have seen their record improve over the last two years, a clear move in the right direction. As the players hand in their jerseys and head into the off-season, the locker room will be filled with positivity and plenty of energy.
“We learned that we need to finish and capitalize on our opportunities, as well as continue to play our game together for 70 minutes,” Eversley said. “The future for LUFH is very bright. We graduate one starter, so we have had a young team for the past few years. The team is hardworking, energetic and positive about the future. If they are willing to put in the work in the off-season, they could have a very successful fall.”