Senior Kelsey Troyer (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) marked her name down in EMU history last week.
In Friday’s 3-1 win over Wesley, the field hockey goalie made 11 saves, which pushed her career total to 392 for a new program record for career saves, surpassing a 23-year-old mark of 389 held by Jen Kooker.
“It feels strange,” Kelsey said. “But, it’s really exciting that I have the record and it’s something that I’m hoping I’ll hold for a while. We still have 13 games left and it was held for 23 years, so I’m hoping to save it for a while. It’s pretty exciting.”
What is also exciting for Kelsey is that for the first time in her long career as a field hockey player, she is receiving goalie-specific coaching.
“For the past three years there hasn’t been a goalie coach at all,” Kelsey explained, “so it’s just been me. Typically there’s another goalie but we’re just kind of hanging out at the goals by ourselves doing our own thing and nobody really knows what to tell us to help us.”
This year graduate assistant Anna Cooke, a former goalie herself, has been working more closely with Kelsey.
“She’s an awesome coach,” Kelsey said. “She has done research to know how to coach and then specifically once she knew how I would respond to her coaching, she would change it and adapt to me specifically. So it's been really helpful to have her there.”
Kelsey is a senior elementary education major, so her preseason schedule was packed tight. She is student teaching in the spring, but had to go do her opening school experience before the current fall semester.
“So preseason was really interesting,” she explained. “I was only at like one practice a day so it was kind of stressful because I didn’t really know what was going on with the team because I was just never around.”
However, when she was able to be there, she felt good about the work they were doing.
“We had a lot of good solid practices and team bonding things that I was a part of and they were really good.”
Once preseason ended, Kelsey was able to find more balance in her schedule.
“Now that the school year’s started I’m definitely actually into it and it just feels like any other year,” she said. “And it’s much better. The first week was just crazy. My coach was really helpful in making sure all the schedules did work out, and if I did miss a practice it was okay.”
Head coach Ashley Kishorn said her goalie has had a unique challenge at EMU, but her growth has been evident.
“Kelsey plays a large role on our team,” Coach Kishorn explained, “due to injuries she is our only goalkeeper this season. This puts her in a tough position, it means she has to come out every day ready to perform. Throughout my two seasons working with Kelsey, it has been fun to watch her settle into the cage and build confidence to support her defense and make big saves. She continues to improve with every game, we are excited to see what the rest of the season holds for her.”
Kelsey’s field hockey career spans over a decade, beginning in third grade. Her third grade teacher had a passion for hockey and ran an after-school club for third through fifth graders.
“Once a week we would get together afterwards and just play field hockey and she would do little drills with us little third graders running around and trying to like, do stuff,” Kelsey said, laughing.
But even before that, Kelsey couldn’t wait to get involved with the sport.
“I was so excited to get into it, I wanted to do it in second grade because a couple of my friends could but I couldn’t yet and so I was excited to get into that and it just kept going and building up from there.”
Now, years later, she is still playing.
“I keep coming back because I don’t know what I would do without it, like it would just be so boring - my afternoons would be free!” she laughed. “What does that even look like?? I just don’t even know!”
Kelsey and her team are enjoying their early-season success, with a 6-1 start that was the best for the program in a decade.
“We’re all kind of amazed at how the season has gone,” she said, “we’re just very happy with how it’s gone.”
They hope to continue this streak throughout their season and make it into ODAC Tournament for the first time since Kelsey has been at EMU.
“I think another one of our goals is to just continue to play as a team,” she added, “because we have one or two players who have played together for a couple years now. So that’s one of our goals, to have people work together and play together more.”
Stay tuned for the rest of the season, as EMU’s team opens up ODAC competition this weekend and Kelsey’s record for career saves climbs to unreachable heights.
-- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern