In senior season, SU field hockey’s Befort transitions back to original forward position

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on November 2, 2010 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Maggie Befort doesn’t care what position she plays. She just wants to be on the field. ‘She can go wherever, whenever,’ SU field hockey head coach Ange Bradley said. And that’s why the coach is doing all she can to make sure her star player gets on the field as much as possible. That’s why — with only weeks of eligibility remaining on Befort’s four-year career — Bradley has decided to move SU’s all-time leading scorer from back to forward, a position she hasn’t played since her freshman season. ‘She knows how to find a way with no time on the clock, and she is just a great competitor,’ Bradley said. ‘She likes to shoot, she knows how to press and she can finish. That’s what we need, and that’s what we are looking for.’ For the past two seasons and the first 11 games this year, Befort has lined up as a back in the Orange’s formation. At the start of the season, she was the central hub of Bradley’s defense, the most experienced and well-decorated player on the unit.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text But after the rise of players like sophomore Iona Holloway and freshman Laura Hahnefeldt and the continued development of two experienced defenders in sophomore Amy Kee and junior Nicole Nelson, it became obvious that Befort’s talents weren’t needed as much as they were at the start of the season. On Oct. 10, in a game against Albany, Befort was unexpectedly benched for what Bradley deemed as ‘an internal team matter.’ But five days later, Befort came off the bench against Stanford at forward. Since then, she’s been a fixture at the position. Instead of keeping all five players on defense, Bradley recognized the opportunity she had. Befort is too talented to be on the bench, and with a promising group of defenders in place, a switch could be made. ‘Maggie likes to shoot and score,’ Bradley said. ‘She likes to be in the heat of it, and that’s why she is there.’ As a freshman, Befort had one of the best seasons ever by an SU field hockey player. She registered a total of 35 points with 12 goals and 11 assists in 2007. The 35 points were ninth most by a Syracuse player in a single season. Befort said her experience playing forward as a freshman is something that has benefited her this year and allowed for a seamless transition despite coming so late in the season. ‘I have played against it, I’ve watched it and I understand it,’ Befort said. ‘It’s just kind of getting the chemistry right with the other girls that play forward.’ Befort’s first weekend at forward this season came when the team was on a two-game road trip three weeks ago. She had an assist against Stanford and then became the first SU player to get a hat trick this season in the match against Georgetown. The 10 points brought Befort’s career point total to 120, the most in program history. Befort said she only had to make minor adjustments in the switch back to her old position, and it showed to Bradley in her results. ‘I guess the biggest difference is the amount of risk that you can take,’ Bradley said. ‘As a defender you are typically in a low-risk position, where you take care of the ball. As a forward you take chances and take calculated risks and try to put yourself on the line.’ Even though Befort no longer plays on the defensive side of the ball, she said she is still able to take away from her experiences as an All-Big East defender. One of the things that Befort found difficult was when an opposing player attempted to cross the ball while going at full speed. So she tries to translate some of those defensive experiences into her play on offense. ‘I kind of understand how they want me to play into them, and I understand where they are probably weak,’ Befort said. Bradley said she decided to make the change to make sure she could put the most talent on the field as possible. The Orange has won six straight games, making Bradley’s change look good heading into the Big East tournament. The coaching staff has said all year that it decides who will play where on a game-by-game basis, but when it comes time for postseason play, at least one thing is certain: Befort will be on the field. ‘Maggie is the player on our team that could play goalkeeper, fullback, halfback, midfielder and forward,’ Bradley said. ‘Maggie Befort loves to compete and loves to play for Syracuse.’ [email protected]last_img read more