Local grads part of historic Mansfield win
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
On Saturday, Sept. 29, three Lackawanna Trail graduates helped the Mansfield University field hockey team make history as they posted at 4-2
victory over Bloomsburg University for the first time in 34 years.
The Bloomsburg Huskies, ranked No. 3 in the nation in NCAA Division 2, were surprised by the tenacity of the Mountaineer team anchored by Trail graduates Kristyn Grunza, Kayla Grunza and Lacey Croasdale.
Croasdale, 19, of Nicholson, said it was an amazing experience to pick up a victory over the Huskies.
“It was amazing,” Croasdale said. “I had just come back from an injury after being out for two games, and to be able to play in that game was awesome.”
Croasdale said the team came into the matchup in Mansfield with a positive attitude.
“We really wanted to make history for our team and for our coach,” Croasdale said. “And we knew they were used to playing on turf, so we had an advantage there.”
Croasdale said the Mountaineers struck early and shut the Huskies down.
“Our whole team stepped it up,” Croasdale said.
Even though the Mountaineers won the historic game, they are still struggling with a playoff berth, so far going 0-5 in their division.
“We want to start winning games in our conference,” Croasdale said. “And hopefully still get into the playoffs.”
Croasdale, a sophomore forward, said her goal each and every time she takes the field for Mansfield is to give it her all.
“I want to keep up the intensity and give it my all for my team,” Croasdale said.
Kayla Grunza, 19, of Nicholson, a sophomore midfielder, said it was exciting to be a part of the victory.
“It was exciting not just for our team, but also for our coaches and all the parents on the sidelines who have been watching us,” Grunza said.
Grunza said the victory over Bloomsburg has only solidified the Mountaineers’ belief that they can win games.
“It showed us that we can beat these big teams,” Grunza said. “And now we need to move forward and get more conference wins.”
Grunza said her main focus is to support the offense and defense of the Mountaineer team.
“I need to support the offense in the circle,” Grunza said. “But also get back and support our defense by making it back to the other end of the field.”
As for having a pair of former teammates on her team, Grunza said it is a great experience.
“Having my sister there with me at midfield is great because she can tell me when I’m not playing to my ability,” Grunza said. “She’s not afraid to say something.”
As for having Croasdale on the team, Grunza said it is valuable because she knows her style of play.
“We played together in high school, and I know how she plays,” Grunza said. “And I know she’s strong with the ball.”
The Mountaineers moved on to play Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, and Grunza said it was an important conference game.
If there’s one thing Grunza will take with her from the Bloomsburg game is remembering catching the Huskies off guard.
“I moved the ball down the field quickly on three quick hits and caught them off guard,” Grunza said. “Then I got the ball into the circle and hit my teammate with a pass for a goal.”