The Shippensburg University field hockey team made everyone proud when it brought home the NCAA Division II National Championship.
The road to winning the championship three years in a row will be tough for the Raiders, but it is a challenge that they will face head-on.
One of the challenges that the Raiders will have is that the team has gotten a lot younger this season. SU will need a couple of players to step up and replace the production lost when last year’s batch of seniors, headlined by Emily Barnard (44 points in her senior season), graduated.
One of the players who will become a leader of the team is sophomore Jazmin Petrantonio. As a freshman, she finished second on the team in points (36) and goals scored (12). It was a remarkable year for Petrantonio, and one that she hopes to exceed this season.
One of the reasons for the Raiders’ success has been the consistent play by goalkeeper Ally Mooney. Last season, Mooney finished near the top of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in both goals against average (1.45) and save percentage (77.4).
The Strous Memorial Field Hockey Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Amanda Strous, who was a beloved member of the SU field hockey team as both a player and an assistant coach over the past 10 years. The scholarship was introduced in 2017, when Brooke Sheibley was honored in a special ceremony.
The scholarship, something special to the SU field hockey team, is being awarded this year to Mooney. In addition to receiving the scholarship, Mooney will have the honor of wearing Strous’ No. 22 jersey throughout this season.
Mooney, in an interview courtesy of SU Sports Information, described what she is going to take away from her years being coached by Strous.
“Amanda taught me to stay true to who I am and to always play with strong enthusiasm towards the game,” Mooney said. “One thing she taught me that has stuck with me was visualization, and to picture myself doing well. I now use this trick before every game, and I think of her every single time.”
The Raiders, in light of the success they have achieved in recent seasons, are ranked at the top of the 2018 PSAC Field Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Rivals Millersville University, East Stroudsburg University and West Chester University follow SU in the rankings, each of them receiving at least one first-place vote. West Chester defeated SU in the PSAC semifinals last year and SU took down East Stroudsburg on the way to the national championship.
The Raiders will begin their national championship defense on Sept. 1 against Limestone. The game will be played at a neutral site in Lexington, Virginia.