Sophomore forward Gabby Tofig attempts to block a Towson defender's clear during their game on Sunday, Sept. 14. The Mountain Hawks went on to win the game in overtime, 2-1. (Meghan Reilly/ B&W Photo)

Lehigh field hockey star finds path to success


Sophmore Gabby Tofig is a double threat. Tofig has consistently found success as a forward on the field hockey team, firing goals into the back of the net, and as a student, hitting the books and achieving high grades. Excelling at both has led to Tofig being honored by the Patriot League and National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association as a member of their All-Academic team in 2013.

Coming off of a freshman season in which she scored four goals and started 17 out of 18 games for the Mountain Hawks, Tofig has improved significantly during her sophomore campaign. She is the team leader with 14 points and 7 goals, and she’s come through in the clutch for Lehigh with three game-winning goals.

Success hasn’t always come easy for Tofig. One moment that may have changed her life came in middle school.

“I was cut from the soccer team, which was honestly the best thing that ever happened to me,” Tofig said.

She turned a negative into a positive and took up running for the track team after some encouragement from her father. Tofig’s father was a marathon runner, and her mother was a collegiate tennis player. Needless to say, she has some athleticism herself. This athleticism started to show when she was a member of the Council Rock High School North 4×8 relay and distance medley teams that earned a medal at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.

Not only did Tofig take home hardware on the track, but she also racked up a number of field hockey accolades in high school. She was Council Rock North’s third highest scorer and recipient of an All-State honorable mention in her senior season. She was selected to several other league and region all-star teams in her four years in high school.

Despite being able to compete at a Division I track program, Tofig made the difficult choice to play field hockey. In high school many of her races would be on Lehigh’s Goodman Campus.

“Every time I had a race I would pass the field hockey fields and was like ‘those are such nice fields, I would love to play there,’” she said. Athletics weren’t the only incentive for Tofig to come to Lehigh, though.

“I am studying to be a sports engineer so I can work for companies like Riddell, Under Armour or New Balance,” Tofig said. “I think it will combine my love for sports with engineering.” She gives credit to her teammates, especially her fellow engineers, in helping her along with concepts she might not understand.

Tofig seems to have a plan for the future, both on the field and off. Her coach, Stacey Eversley, could describe her with one word: determined. Tofig’s ambition and diligence in perfecting her craft hasn’t gone unnoticed. Eversley said recruiting this ambitious student-athlete was an easy decision because of her natural speed and stamina, as well as her hard work ethic.

Eversley also said Tofig’s aggressive play makes her an offensive threat at all times. Opposing defenses have to be aware of her ability to score. Senior captain Steph Fratoni echoed Eversley’s praise.

“Gabby gives nothing less than 110 percent on the field as well as in the classroom,” Fratoni said. “She is constantly trying to better herself and her teammates. When we are not at practice, Gabby is always seen doing work in the library. If a teammate needs help improving their fitness, Gabby will volunteer to go on runs with them. When a teammate is struggling in a class that Gabby has already taken, she will offer them help.”

Fratoni also said that Tofig’s ability to be a finisher on the offensive end of the field has generated many scoring opportunities for the Mountain Hawks.

Tofig receives credit for several of Lehigh’s successes, but she is quick to give credit where she believes it is due. She said her high school, club and college coaches have made her into the player she is today. Her teammates challenge her every day in practice, and that has led to improvements in her game. Tofig also said that she has a deep appreciation for all that her parents have done.

“They are unconditionally supportive,” Tofig said. “Even if I have a bad game, I know my mom will tell me that I have tomorrow and should go for a run to shake it off, and my dad will make a joke that gets me out of any mood I am in. They are the reason I am where I am today.” With the support of her coaches, teammates, and parents, Tofig believes she is set up for a bright future.

Fratoni had wise words for her younger teammate.

“I’d like to tell Gabby and the other underclassmen to really cherish every moment and appreciate your teammates,” Fratoni said. “Make the most of every opportunity you have because four years really do go by way too fast.”

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