LIVINGSTON, NJ — A year of growth and rebuilding struggles continued on Saturday for the Livingston Field Hockey Team after a 3-0 loss to Columbia dropped the squad to 1-11-1 on the year.

“The girls are coming along, we graduated 13 players last year so we have 13 new starters and were missing a few today,” said Livingston head coach Lila Alfaro. “The younger players they stepped up and did well.”

The Lady Lancers did receive solid contributions from their defense, which Alfaro said has been coming along nicely in 2017. Goaltender Beth Goldberg led the way for Livingston, notching 10 saves in the loss as the senior continues to grow as a leader in the cage. She has more than 115 saves now on the season.

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“She has some nice, hard clears and was definitely back by herself sometimes with some breakaways,” said Alfaro. "She’s working her butt off and trying to be a communicator…she’s coming along, definitely."

The defensive backs for the Livingston unit have gelled nicely in a trial-by-fire setting this season. Led by Mia Bucich, the quartet was able to kill off more than 70 percent of the corners faced in the Columbia game.

Joining Bucich is Emily Schafer, Amanda Weissman, and Briana Melucci as the group continues to be the backbone for the squad.

“Our defense as a whole is completely new,” said Alfaro. “All four of them, it’s their first time really being at the varsity level and playing. They’re trying to communicate better and know where to hit the ball to.”

The key in success for the Lady Lancers team will be how the offense gels for the remainder of the year. A unit that came in scoreless in their previous six games mustered just three shots on goal for the contest.

“As a whole they’re kind of learning how to play together which is something we’ve been trying to do throughout the season,” said Alfaro.

For Alfaro, the goal will be to teach the “X’s and O’s” of the game to a team that generally does not play the sport year round like its SEC counterparts.

Understanding the nuances and skills within the lower third of the field will undoubtedly lead to more balls in the cage and additional confidence for the team as a whole.

“I think it’s just the inexperience of trying to figure out the spacing better [and] trying to be consistent with our passes, but it’s coming along,” said Alfaro.

Livingston will look to continue to improve as the team takes on Westfield on Oct. 18.