HARRISON, N.Y. – Amanda DeChent had two goals going into the 2012 Manhattanville College field hockey season.
The junior from Putnam Valley (she played on Putnam Valley’s 2008 Section 1 Class B title team) wanted to raise her level of play and increase her goal total from 13.
She accomplished both and had a record-setting year, scoring a program-record 30 goals and making 13 assists.
DeChent was selected the Freedom Conference field hockey player of the year and was named to the 2012 Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III All-America team.
She was “pretty shocked” when she learned of the awards, DeChent said. “We didn’t make the playoffs, and after I transferred this was only my second year in the conference. I was very happy and it is a great honor.
“Thinking back to the summer," she continued, "I thought I was going to have a good season, but I never expected anything like this. Being named All-American is pretty awesome. The girls on the list are all great players.”
DeChent spent countless hours during the summer working on her shot and stick handling. She said she was getting many shots in her sophomore year, but wanted to improve her accuracy.
“I worked on my placement,” said DeChent, a biology major on a pre-med track. “I would start in front of the goal and go top left corner, keeping my shoulder pointed and my body low. If I didn’t hit my spot, I would stay there. When I did, I would back up and do it again.”
DeChent focused on her off-season work because she broke her hand at the end of her sophomore year. “I spent a large chunk of the summer working individually because of the broken hand,” she said. “I didn’t know how I would play, especially against against a defender, with my hand and wrist movement.”
Once DeChent began scoring goals in bunches, she received added attention in the form of double teams. This led to her becoming a playmaker as teammates found themselves open while the defense focused on her.
DeChent cited her teammates for their major impact on her success, specifically Melissa Goncalves.
“Although she is on the defensive end, Melissa plays a huge role in our offense,” DeChent said. “She has an amazing vision of the field and was able to get me the ball up to the forward line.”
Even though DeChent had an amazing season, she is just as determined to work even more during the offseason.
“I know exactly what I need to work on and improve on, that I struggled with, for next season,” DeChent said. “I am looking forward to our spring season because it will be very important for us to get comfortable playing together since there are a lot of new spots being filled on the field.”