EMU sophomore Brandy Troutman (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield) came into the beginning of her second year excited for what the field hockey season had in store. Brandy’s summer goal was to go into the season in better shape than the year before.
“Mentality, I focused on being a better me and just better for my entire team,” Brandy explained. “Even though I did not want to go to the gym or track everyday, I ended up focusing on the end game.”
Little did she know that her world was going to completely change on the second day of preseason, when she received the devastating news that her mother unexpectedly passed away. Despite the tragic start, Brandy found a way to play an integral role for her team.
She became the anchor of Eastern Mennonite University’s defensive unit, and led the ODAC with 17 defensive saves. Not only did she lead the conference, Brandy tied for the most defensive saves in all of NCAA D-III field hockey, and also broke EMU’s program record which had been 10. Offensively, she added four goals and three assists.
“My mom raised me and my sisters to leave everything out on the field and she would know if we did not try our hardest. It was all in honor of my mom,” Brandy said.
She described how losing her mom was the hardest and most painful thing she has gone through, yet deciding to continue playing because that was what her mom would want. For Brandy, continuing the season meant hard work, dedication, and motivation.
“During every game, I heard my mom's voice telling me to do my best, to try my hardest, and to leave everything out on the field,” she said. “My determination definitely came from knowing that my mom was always watching me. I knew I was making her proud.”
With a young team and a small roster, the Royals had to persevere and overcome many obstacles. That ultimately grew the team closer together.
For Brandy, the team’s support got her through some of her toughest times.
“I wanted to stay a family throughout the season no matter what was thrown at us,” she said. “I really could not have done any of this without the support of my family, friends, teammates, coaches, and especially my mom.”
Brandy’s ability to bring the ball forward as well as getting into scoring as part of corners made her a two-way threat for opponents. At the end of the season, the ODAC's coaches noted her abilities by voting her to the All-ODAC Second Team.
Coach Stick (Ashley Kishorn) believes one of Brandy’s greatest strengths this season came through her leadership.
“When Brandy carries the ball up the field and jukes out the opponent,” said Coach Stick, “you can hear the crowd cheer and our bench get fired up because she makes the game exciting!”
Brandy started all 18 games this season and stuck out as a difference maker on both ends of the field.
“Even though we did not come out with the record we wanted, we played every game as hard as we could,” the sophomore explained. “I felt like my coaches and entire team supported me more than ever throughout the season. I cannot thank them enough and I am so excited for next season.”
Though her season has ended for now, Brandy still continues to be a true inspiration for those around her.
--- Bri Miller, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern