‘It’s what we want to achieve every single year,’ York College coach Katie Fost reflects on the Spartans best season in program history

York College field hockey had a breakthrough season in 2022.

The Spartans, which were finalists in the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth game, ended a pattern of losing in the semifinal round. For the past four out of five years, York fell short. But not this year.

“It’s exciting,” York College head coach Katie Fost said.

What’s it like to see progress?

“(The athletes) are seeing the program get better and they wanted to get past the wall that we’ve never been able to do before, which was the conference semifinal game,” Fost said. “That was the goal of the season. Breakthrough the semifinal game and get to (the championship).”

York made it to the semifinals in 2017, 2018, and 2019, as a member of the Capital Athletic Conference. The Spartans lost to Salisbury in 2017 and 2019, and to Christopher Newport in 2018. York joined the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth in 2020 but games were suspended due to COVID.

The saga continued in 2021, when the Spartans, while having an overall good season, lost 1-0 in overtime to Widener in the MACC semifinal.

“2021 – we had an excellent year,” Fost said. “Probably one of the best for the program, but then didn’t make it through that semifinal game. And, then there’s the story of this year.”

The story: the Spartans made their first appearance in the MACC final game. They were seeded second in the conference and beat No. 3 Alvernia 2-1. The win advanced York to play Messiah, where the Spartans fell to the top-ranked team 2-0.

But York’s season continued to set a precedent as the team entered the NCAA tournament. It was another first in program history or the “icing on the cake,” as Fost called it.

York hosted and won the first round 4-2 against DeSales. But in the second round, the Spartans dropped the game 1-0 to top-seeded Salisbury.

“It’s really exciting to reach things that the program has never accomplished, but we’re hungry for more, and so we’re staying humble,” Fost said. “We know it’s not always going to be that way.”

The 2022 team’s mantra was simple: work hard, have fun, win.

“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Fost said. “We go out to the field. We know what we want to accomplish so we know when to have fun and when to work hard. We’re going to keep things lighthearted but always at the front of our mind is that win.”

As far as next season, Fost doesn’t feel pressure to make it back to the NCAA tournament. It’s an “expectation.”

“It’s what we want to achieve every single year,” she said.

In Fost’s opinion, her squad’s most difficult game was when they played Salisbury. But, not the game they played against them in the NCAA tournament.

“I would say our most difficult game was our Salisbury game midway through the season,” Fost said, referring to the contest on Oct. 5. The Spartans lost 1-0 to the Sea Gulls on the road.

“It taught us that we needed to change how we needed to outlet the ball in the defensive 25,” she continued. “And once we could figure that out, we were able to be a bit more effective in that part of the game. It was challenging because we couldn’t get the ball out of our defending 25 for 15 minutes. But then we learned from it.”

The Spartan’s final record in 2022 was 16-6, which is the most wins in a single season since Fost became the program’s head coach in 2017.

“I don’t think there was a secret,” she said about her coaching. “I think the girls just balled in and we worked extremely hard.”

Though if there was a secret, it would be “within our recruiting,” Fost added. “Just who we’re bringing to York and making sure they have the capabilities we need to get to the next level.”

York has a well-rounded, 23-player roster with seven seniors, six juniors, six sophomores, and four freshmen. Eight athletes were recognized as 2022 All-MAC Conference standouts. Five players – junior forward Katie Martino, sophomore midfielder Riley Buschert, senior midfielder Mya Gerena, junior defender Sara Pique, and sophomore goalie Belle Fields – all earned first team honors.

One player – freshman forward Kat Knox – made the second team, and the remaining two platers – senior forward Hannah Huffman and sophomore defender Libby Wild – were both honorable mentions. In addition, Fost earned the conference’s Coach of the Year.

Senior defender Jeannine DeMarzo was then named to the 2022 MACC Fall All-Sportsmanship Team.

Gerena also represented York College at the NFHCA Senior All-Star game and was also selected for the NFHCA 2022 All-Region team for Region 5, along with Buschert and Pique. Fields and Martino were named to the second team.

Fost’s hopes for next season are aligned with what her 2022 team accomplished.

“I hope that we get back to the NCAA (tournament) obviously,” Fost said. “That’s that expectation. And I hope that we just stay focused on what continues to lead our program in the right direction. So, making sure that we never lose sight of our culture, which is the first and foremost thing that creates success for us, and then that mentality of working hard, having fun, having that balance but being competitive and driven to win.”

Thank you for reading FAN. Reach us at femaleathletenews@gmail.com to share a story or to advertise your business.

Share the Post:

Related Posts