Field hockey opens with four-win hot streak

The Allegheny Women’s Field Hockey team are in the process of making history, as they have gotten off to their hottest start since the beginning of the program, seizing 19 goals and three shutouts en route to a perfect 4-0 start.
“The past couple of games we have three words we use before going in,” Francisco said. “Intention, grit and unit.”
Leading the scoring department for Allegheny is Maya Francisco,’24, who has found the net four times while also picking up a pair of assists in the early going. Her most notable game came against the Washington & Jefferson Presidents, scoring two goals off the bench in a double overtime victory to give the Gators a 4-3 win to start the season. Francisco has been performing with the best of her conference, as her name is on the leaderboard of multiple categories including goals, assists, points and shots on goal.
Francisco gives all the credit to her teammates, as the Gators have come together as one this year, working on communicating and playing as a single unit. Midfielder Kinsley Greenlaw, ’23, echoed that sentiment — especially in regards to the opening game against Washington & Jefferson.
“The energy after that game was amazing because it really felt like we were coming together as a team and that was a full team win,” Greenlaw said.
After defeating the Presidents, the Gators took a weekend trip to Virginia, taking down Meredith College and Ferrum College in a pair of weekend games on Sept. 3 and 4. In those two games, the Gators outscored their opponents 13-0. This past Wednesday, Sept. 7, the Gators won their home opener against Juniata College, 2-0.
It is no question that the defense for the Gators has been just as stellar as the offense. Only giving up three goals over 16 quarters of action, goalkeeper Hallie Reiger,’23, and company have keyed in on what they need to do to find success, and keep the ball out of their own net.
Reiger put countless hours into her craft this summer, living abroad and running through the Italian countryside and mountains, completing arduous altitude workouts. Although the team was apart from each other, they never faltered from the work they knew was necessary thanks to a group chat players would use to message teammates, holding them accountable and keeping them on track for the season. It seems to have paid off, as Reiger and the defense has given up less than a goal a game.
“The defense trusting each other is super important, just playing and working off each other.” Reiger said. “We’re always talking and communicating to each other, so when I do something, when I react to something, they know how I’m going to react.”
The “team first” mantra Head Coach Margaret Maclean implemented this year has hit the hearts of her players, and the team has worked well together to their current standing atop of the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Field hockey is the only team to remain in the NCAC after the college decided to rejoin the Presidents Athletic Conference over the summer. The PAC does not sponsor field hockey.
“Our goal was to win an NCAC Championship,” Greenlaw said. “To have the ability to still do that feels really special.”
Taking a conference championship would be a big step up for the field hockey team which is playing only its third season. The team has already won more games in the last two weeks than it has since 2019. The key? Genuine passion for grabbing a stick and hitting the turf.
“What’s helped us grow is just putting our all and buying into the program, buying into this team itself” Francisco said. “And not just playing for ourselves — I think that’s the most important thing, that we’ve come together and been like, ‘we’re playing for each other, we’re playing for our familie, and we’re playing for the love of the game.’”
The team is looking to extend their winning streak Sunday, Sept. 11, at Kenyon College, with the game time set for noon. Their next home game will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14, against the College of Wooster at Robertson Athletic Complex.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Valerie Lohr as the head coach of the field hockey team. The story has been updated to correct the error.