KU field hockey team eyes PSAC championship
By Kara Armstrong
Breann Craley was in sixth grade when she heard the announcement that would steer the next decade of her life:
Any girls interested in playing field hockey were directed to stay after school for a meeting.
“I went to the office,” she recounted, “and I called my mom and I said ‘I have no clue what field hockey is, but I’m going to stay after school for this.’ They gave us a stick and a ball, and they were slowly teaching us. That was the first day I played, and I never stopped.”
Craley is now in her final field hockey season as a captain of KU’s team. She is currently a fifth-year student, pursuing her master’s in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health and working as a graduate assistant in the honors program.
Her ultimate goal for this team is a lofty one: a PSAC and national championship. They would be the first team to accomplish either feat in KU field hockey history.
Craley’s first experience with KU was during her sophomore year of high school when she played in a tournament at the university. KU’s coach took notice of her playing style. Additionally, one of KU’s players, who was coaching her team that day, gave her a tour of the school. This teammate was convinced KU would be a great fit for Craley. She was right.
“I fell in love with it,” Craley said about KU. “Every time I came back to Kutztown after that, there was always something about it that was so positive and happy, and there was a team atmosphere that no other school had. I had to come here.”
Her collegiate field hockey career started off strong when she played as a freshman, and KU’s team made it to the final four in the national Division II Championships. In the coming years, she remained a force to be reckoned with. In her senior year, she scored the lone goal in a game against East Stroudsburg University which earned KU field hockey its first section championship title.
Although her field hockey career is full of highlights, she says that this year is especially meaningful. “There’s something different about being a fifth-year and seeing how much personal growth I’ve had, and how much other people have grown since I’ve been here. And just knowing this is it. Every day is special for me.”
Craley’s duties also look a little different than past years. As captain, she’s a role model and offers a shoulder for other players to lean on.
“It’s such a great honor to lead this team,” she continued. “They chose me to help them get to the ultimate goal, and it feels special every day.”
A PSAC championship would mean more for KU than just winning; it would be redemption. The team lost the PSAC semifinals last year in a home game. This year, Craley believes they can win and then play their way to the national title. “We have the team to do it this year. We have the skill. We have the talent. We have people who work so hard every day,” she said.
The PSAC field hockey championship will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5, where she and the team hope to make history.