Lehigh junior forward Drew Pecora poses on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Pecora spent her sophomore season recovering from a knee surgery and is now the Lehigh field hockey team's lead scorer. (Austin Pierce/B&W Staff)

Dangerous Play: Drew Pecora drives through fall season after injury

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Junior Drew Pecora started playing field hockey in the first grade. After her two older sisters showed an interest in field hockey, Pecora followed suit — a decision that marked the beginning of her career as a forward.

Pecora became serious about field hockey in high school and joined a club team, competing in tournaments across the country. Following her sister’s commitment to play field hockey in college, Pecora decided she wanted to compete at the collegiate level too.

Pecora said it took only one clinic for her to fall for Lehigh. 

“I loved this team and how close everyone was,” Pecora said. “The coaches and the team got along so well, and it was a perfect fit for me. We’re all best friends… (and we) spend all of our time together when we’re not on the field.”

A few weeks before the start of the team’s 2018 preseason campaign, Pecora found out that she would need knee surgery to repair a chondral defect that kept her from running properly. The surgery took her off the field for the following nine months, effectively ending her sophomore season before it even began. 

Although recovering from the surgery was a challenge, Pecora said she tried to make the best of her situation. She said observing games and practices from the sideline may have even helped improve the mental side of her game. 

“I actually think it helped me grow as a player,” Pecora said. “The outside view I got of practice and games grew my hockey IQ and made me smarter on the field.”

Associate coach Taylor Dyer said Pecora’s injury may have been a growth factor and an element partly responsible for her impressive start of this season.

Pecora is currently the lead scorer for the Mountain Hawks, with 11 goals and three assists in 12 games.

“I think it motivated her, having to sit out for a whole season,” Dyer said. “She was really committed to coming with a vengeance. I don’t think we quite expected her to come back having grown so much.”

Pecora attributes her success this season directly to the chemistry she shares with her teammates and said the forwards, midfielders and defenders work extremely well together, which has contributed to the team’s success. 

While her early performances have been crucial to the team, Dyer said Pecora has been just as important to the Mountain Hawks off the field. 

“She has been doing such a nice job upholding the values of our program,” Dyer said. “It feels like we never have to ask her for anything. She bought into this team early and takes it upon herself to make sure everyone else is on the same page. She always performs at a high level and demands a high level from those around her.”

Junior defender Lenke Havas spoke highly of her teammate and roommate of three years, citing her ability and hunger as a goal-scorer. She said Pecora was born to be a forward after watching her play. 

“She makes sure she has a relationship with every person on the team,” Havas said. “Behind the scenes, she is always trying to make sure that people feel comfortable and have someone to talk to. She is so supportive of everyone in this program.”

The Mountain Hawks will resume Patriot League play against rival Lafayette on Friday, Oct. 18, at Ulrich Field.

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