After four years of team goals set and achieved, championship games won, senior field hockey player Brittney Cardente received an award based on her performance alone.
The Keene State women’s field hockey team has won the Little East Conference (LEC) for the fourth year in a row, but for Brittney Cardente, that was not the only award she would walk away with in her senior year. She would go on to receive the Most Outstanding Player award for the lady Owls.
Cardente explained what she thinks it takes to be the most outstanding player.She replied, “It’s something that really surprised me. I don’t believe it means [I was], so much, the best player, but I’m so honored to receive that award. From pushing myself all summer and coming in for workouts to stay in shape, the other seniors supporting me along with the team and coaches, that pushed me to take that extra step. My coaches and teammates altogether gave me the inspiration to work harder for my last year and they are truly people I look up to.”
She went onto talk about goals that the team had planned at the beginning of the season. Cardente said, “After winning last year and taking the LEC title, the team decided to plan out some goals for us to have throughout the season. We all talked about trying our best to go undefeated and win the LEC, which we were able to do. When it got close to October, we tried and accomplished going undefeated in October. Next on our list for goals was to win the tournament, which we were fortunate to do.”
When talking about staying undefeated and what factors attributed to that, Cardente replied, “Motivation. I can say definitely for myself, being motivated on and off the field contributed a huge part, particularly because I know this is my last year, but also my last season I’ll compete in here at Keene State. I wanted to keep a positive attitude and give 110 percent no matter the outcome. Another factor to being motivated is never giving up and not letting the team down. At the end of the day, no matter the outcome, I can leave knowing I just gave my all on the field. It’s a mentality I try to keep all the time.”
After winning the LEC title each year she’s been at Keene State, “It’s a feeling that most of us seniors are still soaking in. Our [first] year, we had a group of seniors who guided us and inspired us by setting the tone. Our coaching staff support pushed us more to be better when they told us our class could be the next to take on an LEC championship if we worked hard enough for it. Going undefeated in my first two years and again this year for my senior year, it just showed the team how well something can go when everyone works hard enough for it. It made a huge impact on us for sure and I’m very excited and really don’t have words for this feeling,” Cardente said.
Fellow senior Kayla Renaud has been playing with Cardente for all four years. “Brit is very hardworking and dedicated not only in the classroom but also on the field. She puts her best effort and attitude forward no matter what the situation is,” Renaud said.
She continued, “What she brings to the field is her perseverance, positive attitude, willingness to give it her all, and her love for the sport and this is a good motivator for the team. She also sets a really great example for the underclassmen on our team because she is very involved with her major, within athletics (SAAC), and her jobs that she has on campus during the year.”
Renaud can’t stress her ability to multitask. “She also balances her workload effortlessly due to her willingness, care, and motivation towards work and extracurricular actives. Brit is very dependable as a best friend and also as a peer within the community,” Renaud said.
Another player who has had a fortunate memory of winning the LEC their last season is senior Sami Smith. Smith has been on the team throughout the entirety of her college experience and elaborated on the season she and the team has had. She said, “ It always feels good to win and as we became closer to the end of the season, we ended on a fourteen/fifteen game winning streak and I believe it prepared us for the playoffs. At that point late in the season, the team chemistry really started to show with one another.”
Smith continued on team chemistry by talking about the amount of time the team spends with one another when off the field. She said, “We are together all the time and when people are told we are together all the time, they sometimes don’t understand what we really mean. For myself, I live with five other ladies on the team as my roommates. For other ladies on the team, they also live with other teammates and that really shows the time we spend together off the field. When Smith was asked about the true meaning of assists in the game, Smith said, “It’s a huge factor because that’s all it takes is for a player to see the field and see the opening rather than taking the shot on goal. I have learned an assist is just important as a goal because getting the ball up field and looking for that open person, it can be an opportunity to score.”
Cardente ended and said, “The exhilarating feeling this year for myself was pushing myself all year and giving my all, winning the LEC and the award for most outstanding player.”
For Smith, her exhilarating feeling was “realizing when we got back to Keene from the trip to Pennsylvania and being eliminated in the NCAA tournament…that everything was over and it kinda hit home, but it is something I can always remember.”
Cardente and Smith both expressed their passion for the field hockey program and said, “Going forward, I would love to see the team continue to work hard and continue working with the coaching staff to keep that success. Lastly, for Keene State to keep the recognition of having a successful Division III field hockey program and keep coming back each year to the NCAA tournament and earn an opportunity to go even further than this year.”
Travis Thuotte can be contacted at Tthuotte@kscequinox.com
*Correction made 11/16/16 – Last paragraph: corrected “division three” to “Division III”*