The Colgate Raiders and the Patriot League will welcome a new coach to their ranks in April Cornell who returns home to her native central New York roots. Cornell is no coaching rookie as she has spent the last 11 years at Hofstra as an assistant coach and before that was at the University of New Hampshire. On the playing field, defense was her forte as she was team Captain for UConn as she excelled and lauded for her skills. She has hired Ayla Halus who was a Penn State goalie in 2012 and has been coaching that same position at the University of Indiana.
Their skills will be tested in this “reconstruction” of the Colgate Field Hockey program. In recognition of the challenges faced, she saw the need to bring in a huge class for her initial year. Thirteen freshmen will be wearing Colgate colors this fall. They will be replacing four seniors and two others who will not be returning. There are few veteran players who could be called shoo-ins, to start in the first game, and I would expect to see many first year players occupying key roles in September.
The statistics bear out the enormity of her task. Colgate scored a total of 6 goals all last season. In Patriot League games, they scored 2. In the meantime Patriot League opponents lit up the scoreboard for 30 goals against them. It wasn’t because their goalkeeping was all that weak. Returning senior goal keeper Maria Krull had a very respectable 72 pct saves percentage even with the onslaught of shots she endured. She was at 72 pct with 427 shots against her last season season along with 155 penalty corners. However, Cornell has recruited a freshman whose high school statistics merited her goal keeper of the year honors in Illinois. Emma Goldberg will provide very good competition for Krull and at the least, will give the Raiders strong back up strength.
Cornell’s other 12 recruits are a geographically diverse group with homes listed in the midwest to North Carolina and New England. Her hopes are high, as she is introducing her class on the Colgate web site two at a time as of this writing. Given the talents of these coaches and the defensive expertise, I expect to see improved defensive statistics next year.
This will be an extraordinary challenge, but new blood brings new attitudes, systems and personnel. Their Patriot League games are probably the toughest games of the season. The first League game will be in Easton against Lafayette on September 16 at noon. That game will be preceded by Umass Lowell, LIU Brooklyn, Saint Louis, Lock Haven, and St. Francis. There will be two Ivy League games later in season against Cornell and Brown.