When Shippensburg University midfielder Jazmin Petrantonio first arrived at SU, she had no idea what she was getting herself into.
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, — the country’s capital city — Petrantonio has burst onto the United States scene in just one season as a member of the Raiders. Her first breakout performance came on Sept. 12, in a game where she registered a Division II single-game record six assists against Millersville University.
“I think it was like a completely different game. It was crazy. I ended the game and I didn’t realize I had six assists,” Petrantonio said after the game. “I think that everything I do in this game, not just against Millersville but against every team, I owe to my teammates. I didn’t score six goals, I just had the six passes. If I don’t have a teammate to score the goal there is no assist.”
It is that amazing ability to find the open teammate, as well as a rocket of a shot that emulates an Alexander Ovechkin slap shot, that has, to nobody’s surprise, turned Petrantonio into one of the more dominant midfielders in the nation during SU’s run to the 2017 NCAA Championship Game.
“It’s crazy,” Petrantonio said. “It’s different [from Argentina], but I love everything here.”
That love for the game sure has shown on the field, as Petrantonio’s play has been outstanding all season.
She is second in all of Division II field hockey with an average of 0.65 assists per game, while sitting fourth-overall in total assists with 11. Petrantonio has also added a valuable scoring touch for Shippensburg with 11 goals, good enough for second on the team.
Her phenomenal play resulted in her earning an All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) honor as a first-team selection, while also being named the 2017 PSAC Freshman of the Year.
“Everything happens so fast. I think it’s been a great year,” Petrantonio said. “The awards are in large part because of my teammates because it’s a team sport. I couldn’t achieve the things I have without my teammates or my coaches.”
Her play has risen to an even higher level in the 2017 postseason, as Petrantonio put home SU’s first goal of its NCAA Semifinal matchup against Stonehill College, adding another on a penalty stroke in the 58th minute in the 6-1 victory.
On Friday, it was Petrantonio once again burying the first goal at the 17-minute mark. SU never trailed and defeated East Stroudsburg University to advance to its second-straight national championship.
“After that first goal, I felt like we could do it,” Petrantonio said. “We knew since the beginning [of the game] that if we could make it [to the tournament], we could do this together. We knew one goal wouldn’t be enough but we play hard all the time, for 70 minutes.”
Petrantonio first decided on Shippensburg after meeting SU head coach Tara Zollinger at an international recruitment tryout. Zollinger told Petrantonio that she wanted to be a Raider, and she bought in immediately.
“Coach Zollinger is part of a company that recruits athletes, and I ended up in a tryout and I don’t know how I ended up there,” Petranotonio said. “The first time I met Tara was in May, and she told me that I really wanted to play in Shippensburg and that’s how it started. It was pretty crazy because it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life.”
After scoring her 11th goal of the season in the NCAA Semifinal, it has been all about enjoying the moment with her teammates, as the team will play tomorrow in its second-consecutive championship, looking to defeat LIU-Post for a second-straight year.
“Everything happens so fast and I’m trying to enjoy the moment and enjoy every day,” Petrantonio said. “Sometimes things happen so fast, and after the next game our season is over. I’m trying to enjoy the moment and stay focused at the same time.”
With SU’s extraordinary family atmosphere, while Petrantonio is at the very least a 16-hour flight from her home country, Jazmin feels right at home as a member of the Raiders.
“I am part of this huge family and have the support of all my teammates. Sometimes, I don’t even think about how I miss my family because I have my real family here,” she said.
The Raiders will battle the Pioneers of LIU-Post tomorrow at 11 a.m. for the 2017 title.