After making the grueling bus ride from Shippensburg University to Easton, Massachusetts on Wednesday, the Shippensburg University field hockey team settled in Thursday, preparing for a Millersville University opponent they know too well.
The Marauders of Millersville University ended the Raiders’ hopes of winning a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship on Nov. 6, knocking off SU 2–1.
Before the team gets its shot at redemption however, it was able to enjoy the extra events provided by the NCAA in addition to the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships being hosted in Easton, Massachusetts.
On Friday, the team visited Parkview Elementary School in North Easton, Massachusetts to talk to second graders to discuss the school’s constitution. The school’s constitution was written by students, and encourages having a good attitude, keeping others safe and the idea that “manners matter.”
“I thought it was a great experience,” senior forward Cassie Rawa said. “Obviously going into it we were very tired, but we were more than willing to give back.”
Rawa expressed it was fun talking to children, who did not seem to fully understand the sport she plays.
“They didn’t really know what field hockey was,” Rawa said, laughing. “They asked us if we did cross-country. But they were amazing. It was like they were looking up to us. They hadn’t really experienced college athletes and it was just a great environment.”
After the visit at Parkview Elementary School, the team had its first practice in Massachusetts. The team then prepared for the NCAA banquet, that was held at the NFL home to the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium. The players got to enjoy a banquet that featured all four teams, a fine dining experience and a guest speaker who was injured in the Boston Marathon Bombings on April 13, 2013. The team also got to walk on the field at Gillette Stadium.
“It was absolutely breathtaking,” Rawa said of the banquet. “I am not a football fan, but being there I was astounded by everything, and just taking it in. The environment, the way the NCAA set everything up, the same with Stonehill, the food there as well, it was such a great experience. I am so blessed to have had that experience.”
“We had a really cool guest speaker,” SU defender Suzanne Muller said. “This woman who lost her leg during the Boston Marathon spoke to us about adversity and how it could help us, with her going through that with the stages of getting a new leg.”
Along with the team attending the banquet, SU’s Madison Scarr was awarded the NCAA Elite 90 Award, an award that is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships. Scarr is an accounting major who holds a 4.0. She is SU’s third winner of the prestigious award.
The Elite 90 was an award founded by the NCAA, which recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the height of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while being among the highest of academic standard.
The Raiders, eager to avenge their loss to Millersville in the PSAC Championship game, will battle the Marauders one final time at Stonehill College. The game is set to begin at 2 p.m.