DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Kristen Sliman had played field hockey in her freshman year at Brewster High School, but retired her stick to concentrate on playing softball. She enjoyed field hockey, but softball was Slimans first love.
This changed in the summer of 2010 when Sliman brought the stick out of retirement to try out for the new Mercy College field hockey team. Sliman, along with her teammates, would be the trailblazers as Mercy debuted field hockey last fall. Mercy and Manhattanville are the only Westchester County colleges to field a team.
The school needed girls to play and I was on the edge about playing, said Sliman, who is majoring in paralegal studies. I decided to play, stuck with it and now I absolutely love it.
Sliman said she loves playing because of coach Kayte Kinsley. A 2010 Adelphi graduate, Kinsley was an excellent field hockey player at Putnam Valley High School (Putnam County), but played soccer in college. While at Adelphi, Kinsley was approached by Pat Kennedy, who was the former Adelphi field hockey coach. Kennedy, who was moving on to Mercy as the athletic director, offered Kinsley a job as the new Mercy field hockey coach.
I was still a senior in college and I was just excited to have an opportunity to go for an interview, Kinsley said. When she offered me the position I thought I would have a year to recruit. Instead, I had four months.
Kinsley recruited in school and fielded a team. By the end of the season, Kinsley finished with 12 players, but the foundation was set in place.
Coach Kinsley is a great coach, Sliman said. Thats why I stuck with it and why I enjoyed it. I think every player that came out for the team was at least 20 times better by the end of the year.
The season was difficult on the girls because the Mercy program was in its infancy and it was playing experienced teams. Despite the tough times, the team was determined.
It was tough because nobody wants or likes to lose, said Sliman, who scored the programs first goal. Coach pushed us. We stuck together, helped each other and worked as hard as we could.
Kinsley was proud of her team because it did not succumb to complacency. Instead, Kinsley watched her players work harder every day in practice.
The girls were improving daily and that improvement was positive and it showed that the program was going in the right direction, Kinsley said.
Kinsley began recruiting the fertile field hockey landscape of New York, including the deep Section 1 talent pool. She brought in 11 freshmen, which adds immediate depth.
We have so many girls this year and everyone has something different to offer to the team, Kinsley said. The new girls have come in and are very good. I am so excited for our first game.
Mercy opens at Manhattanville, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. Kinsley is looking forward to season two, especially with a full team.
I am also very excited about the upcoming season, Kinsley said. The returning players have been training for the season and we have a lot of freshmen who are tough players and add to our skill level.
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