Field hockey looks to start out SUNYAC play strong

The Oswego State field hockey team will travel to Brockport this Friday to face the Golden Eagles, marking the start of conference play in 2015-16 season.

There seems to be no better time for the Lakers to turn their season around as they face a Brockport team that has yet to win a game this year.

While the Lakers themselves have not won this season either, they have been part of some very close, thrilling games.

In fact, the Lakers’ last three games have all been close, including a 3-2 loss in overtime against Nazareth on September 5 and a 2-1 loss on the road against Houghton.

In their last game on Tuesday, Oswego State took another tough loss to Hamilton on their home turf.

The Lakers are 0-4 to start the season, while the Golden Eagles are 0-5. But head coach Brandi Lusk says the fact that her team has gotten off to a rough start makes going into conference play on Friday that much more important.

“We’re off to a little bit of a rocky start,” Lusk said. “So we’re just excited to get into conference play because those are the games that really matter.”

Lusk, now in her ninth season at Oswego State, added that the tough loss to Brockport last year also adds a little extra motivation.

“We are very disappointed in our result against Brockport last year, so the team is very motivated to turn that into a win,” she said.

In that game last season, Brockport came out victorious on Oswego’s home turf in a game which ended in with a shootout by a final score of 2-1.

That game was also marked the start of SUNYAC play, and now the exciting rematch awaits.

However, the Lakers have a big issue going forward that Coach Lusk is well aware of: Injuries and illness.

“Unfortunately, we have some players injured,” she said. “But it’s really a matter of the girls being comfortable with the positions they are in now and be willing to work through this.”

One of the key injuries Lusk is keeping an eye on is that of her starting goal-keeper, Sarita Charap, who will be out for the next month.

Charap, a sophomore, has had a great season thus far in front of net. She has 32 saves in two games this season, including a standout game against Nazareth with a grand total of 20 saves.

Last season, Charap was SUNYAC Rookie of the Year, and was also named first-team All-SUNYAC.

Coach Lusk said she believes backup goalies, senior Grace Lombardi and freshman Alex Theisen are ready for the challenge.

That showed last time out against Hamilton, when Lombardi and Theisen were called upon to split the time in front of net. Lombardi took the bulk of the work load, playing just under 50 minutes, while allowing three goals and saving six. Theisen played the final 20 minutes and saved five herself, while allowing just one goal in a respectable performance for both goal keepers.

Lusk says she does not yet know who will start in front of net on Friday, nor does she know if she will split the time between the two.

Despite the importance of overcoming injuries, strategy will be a major focus for the Lakers as Lusk has implemented a new formation and thinks it will help them from here on out.

“The girls are looking pretty good in our new formation,” she said. “No one has really seen us with this look yet. I think it will help us.”

With new strategies in place and a motivated team, Lusk looks to get the Lakers their first win of the season and of conference play on Friday at 4 p.m. in Brockport.