The 2018 New England College Field Hockey team took a major step in the right direction finishing their season with their highest win total since 2012. The season was highlighted by many outstanding individual and team accomplishments. Winning three more games than the year prior, going undefeated in conference play, and finishing with a winning record at home for the first time in eight seasons capped off a season to remember for the Pilgrims.
Following a 0-4 start to the year, the Pilgrims responded by winning 9 of their final 15 games of the season.
“We started off a little slow this season, trying to find what pieces needed to fit where with personnel but once we found the right fit, the team pushed it into gear,” said Head Coach Carly Sweeney.
Sweeney was pleased with the team’s growth this year stating, “the expectation going into any season is to progress to a higher level of execution and skill than in the previous season. The end result of this season was just that.”
The first season in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) was a success for the Pilgrims as they finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record. Despite falling in the conference semifinals to Husson University by a score of 4-0, Sweeney believes the new conference will help get the Field Hockey program back on the right track.
Team captains, Anya Owens and Brittany Tierney, led the team both on and off the field, both earning all NECC team honors. Tierney was the team’s’ leading scorer, posting 20 goals and a total of 46 points. Her season was highlighted when she set a New England College record with a six goal performance on October 2nd against Dean College. Senior Forward, Taylor Daileanes finished the season scoring 14 goals as well as recording two hat tricks along the way, including scoring three goals in a 4-3 win over Regis College on October 10th.
The Pilgrims were also sparked by newcomers to the program, one of the most impactful was freshman, Sophia Castriotta. Castriotta finished second on the team with 16 goals and 38 points. She was also voted to both the all NECC team as well as taking the prestigious NECC Rookie of the Year Award.
Senior Christine McNeil led the Pilgrims as the Goalkeeper this season. She had a personal record of 8-9 in games she started as well as sporting an impressive 3.01 goals against average. McNeil saved over 61% of the shots she faced all season as well as recording two clutch complete game shutouts in conference play.
“Next season we are looking to just grow overall. This includes roster size, skill, knowledge of the game, fitness, team culture, record, etc.” said Coach Sweeney. “I am very enthusiastic about the future of New England College field hockey.”