The Brown and White spoke with senior field hockey players Sarah Bonthuis, Sophie Leighton, Anna Piecuch and Sydney White about their final season at Lehigh.
Q: What is your favorite memory from being on the Lehigh field hockey team?
Sarah Bonthuis: My favorite memory so far was our trip to Washington D.C. last year for the Patriot League Tournament. I feel like this was extra special because it was the Patriot League Tournament and it was the first time in maybe 30 years that we had made the tournament. Also, being able to go to D.C. after the game to spend some time in the city walking around and just having that time with my teammates was really, really special.
Sophie Leighton: My favorite memory would be our freshman year when we beat Boston University on our last weekend in overtime. It was also one of our teammates’ record-breaking goals for the number of goals in a season and one of our few big wins that year. That was really exciting, and it was our first time ever beating BU in program history.
Anna Piecuch: I would say beating Lafayette in overtime last year with a stroke was pretty awesome. Our graduate student scored, and we all ran onto the field and hugged each other, and it was really sweet. It was also senior night, so it was a big deal. We were tied in the game and then we won in the end and it was really cool.
Sydney White: Senior day last year was pretty amazing. The build-up of celebrating seniors and decorating the locker room and the energy was so good before the game. We were all in such a good mood and we were excited about celebrating the seniors and celebrating all they’ve given to the program and all their hard work. Even if the game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, I know we would have walked away knowing that it was a really special day.
Q: What were the most challenging times on the team?
SB: Obviously, (COVID-19) was a challenging time for everyone, but I feel like, especially being an international student, it was challenging having to balance trying to build relationships with the freshmen that were coming in that year. It was also challenging to keep building relationships with everyone else on the team. While being home, I was six hours ahead of everyone, so being able to talk to everyone was hard.
SL: I think the most challenging stuff was during (COVID-19). We had a spring season and throughout that season we really had to be super diligent about the people who we were coming in contact with. We really weren’t technically allowed to see anyone else who wasn’t on our team, and I think that was something that really showed the level of commitment that we wanted to put into the team. We had to make our entire lives field hockey just to compete in five games, which was very mentally challenging, but we knew if we got through it, making it to a normal season would be much more rewarding and beneficial for us.
AP: Stepping in as first years was challenging since we were tasked with being part of a cultural change that was in the works. We were carrying on a new legacy of a new program in the making. We were working towards having a record that was over .500, working on accountability, giving feedback and a lot of things that were needed to implement change and grow a stronger program. I think over the years we’ve been able to contribute and encourage each other and uplift each other to be the best that we can be.
SW: Challenging times would definitely be getting in ruts of losses, especially my freshman year. It is a struggle to not be surprised by our successes and to constantly have the mindset of ‘yes, we can do this.’
Q: What match-ups this season are you most excited about?
SB: Le-Laf is always one of the best games. It is always an insane game, and it has been for the last three years, so I am definitely looking forward to that one. I am really looking forward to senior day because my parents, grandma and my brother will fly out from the Netherlands, so they will be there to walk me onto the field.
SL: I’m most excited about Lafayette for sure, it’s always a really competitive, exciting game. It’s really fun to see how we match up against them. I’m also excited for American (University). We lost to them last year in our Patriot League semifinal game, and they’ve always been really tough competition, but we were able to come out against them really strong, so I’m excited to see if we can maintain that same competitiveness this year.
AP: I’m excited to play Lafayette again because it is a great rivalry, and I’m excited about more Patriot League play since they are most important to make it to the Patriot League Tournament.
SW: Definitely Lafayette, and this weekend with La Salle University and Wagner College. These two matches are really kind of revenge matches knowing that last year, it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. We know that we can come back stronger and show that we are capable of beating these teams.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
SB: We have an extra year of eligibility, and I do plan on taking that fifth year. I just don’t know where that is going to be yet — it might be at Lehigh, it might be somewhere else, it just depends on what I want to study for my master’s degree. After that, I plan on staying in the United States for a few years to get some work experience.
SL: I am planning on moving to New York City and working in the health and wellness industry.
AP: I am hoping to go to graduate school for psychology, but I am not sure where yet.
SW: I plan to apply to a graduate occupational therapy program, most likely back home in Maryland.