How a senior-year club switch allowed SJ Quigley became a ‘complete’ field hockey player

first_imgTwelve balls formed a large circle behind the end line and SJ Quigley kicked one toward the penalty corner insertion hash. It was Oct. 12, less than an hour before Syracuse faced No. 1 North Carolina, and rain poured onto J.S. Coyne Stadium.Quigley paced back three steps. Her Syracuse rain jacket crinkled as she shrugged her shoulders and leaned back. Tess Queen waited at the top of the shooting circle, her stick flat on the ground. Quigley moved forward into her insertion rhythm — first step, second step, drop stick, third step, sweep — and sent the ball toward Queen, who stopped it as Claire Cooke knocked the ball into the cage.This was her new specialization, perfected through hundreds of pre-practice reps and game action, her new role in field hockey’s vital set piece.Two years ago, Quigley hadn’t ever inserted a ball.She wasn’t a “complete” field hockey player then, her club team head coach Brian Hope said. A switch to Hope’s program — X-Calibur — from Quigley’s former team WC Eagles, during her senior year of high school was unusual but necessary. The WC Eagles’ rigid, regimented program focused on sound technique, but Quigley was burnt out, Hope said. After switching, she no longer prioritized only skills, instead focusing on creativity and freedom on the pitch, which allowed Quigley to eventually pick up the insertion role at SU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It was a skill that the team needed somebody to be,” SU assistant coach Katie Gerzabek said, “And I think that she really grabbed onto that role on the corner to master it.”She’s gravitated from a non-factor to staple on Syracuse’s penalty corners this season, inserting 52 of the Orange’s 59 corners this season. As No. 14 Syracuse (8-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) aims for a return to the NCAA tournament after missing it last year, Quigley’s penalty corner role has made her indispensable.Before Quigley inherited that position from Carolin Hoffmann this season, she faced her mother, Josie, at their kitchen island in Villanova, Pennsylvania two years ago, and pleaded for help. The choice to switch club teams before her senior year of high school had clogged Quigley’s mind for months.Field hockey was her primary sport since she was 10 years old. Even before then, Josie inched her daughter toward the sport she played in college. Quigley started using her mother’s field hockey stick even before elementary school — “Put this in your hand, try my stick,” her mother would say.The pair hit balls into a lacrosse net in their backyard after school, fine-tuning the sport’s basics. Josie said that the easiest way to progress in field hockey is always about playing free and loving the game. Mind clogs lead to stumbles and choppy ball movement.“That’s what you have to do, just play. Don’t overthink what you’re doing,” Josie said.Quigley was taught the details of a deceptive sweep and the motions for a powerful reverse hit, but her time with WC was “mentally draining,” Adele Williams, Quigley’s high school coach, said.In games, she’d receive the ball, then hesitate. She’d double-pump when a passing lane opened and turn the ball over. She had the talent — she committed to SU as a sophomore — but lacked trust in herself.“She realized that she was overthinking,” Josie said. “Every time she got on the field, she wanted to be more relaxed in the decision-making.”Quigley and Josie went to a workout with Hope, who not only offered an immediate, spot but also preached freedom on the field. Quigley could use the techniques taught by WC, or experiment with her own, Hope said. After thinking the decision over for months, Quigley joined late in the summer of her senior year.“The biggest thing was just giving her permission to play and not worry about making mistakes,” Hope said.That decision came full-circle during the 2017 National Indoor Tournament at the Richmond Convention Center. Quigley, lined up at right back, intercepted a pass in the first minute of her first matchup against WC after switching, and took off down the sideline. She weaved through a first defender. Then, a second.Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorQuigley lifted a shot past the WC goalie and into the cage. She immediately sprinted toward the sideline and embraced Hope, while Josie smiled in the stands. “Maybe this was the right thing to do,” she thought.Two years later, Quigley has become the two-way player Syracuse has always needed her to be. She’s combined the skills she learned at WC with the freedom Hope helped instill in her while providing versatility to SU. As Quigley raced down the right sideline early in the third quarter during a Sept. 22 game against Colgate, she received a pass from Cooke in stride.Quigley closed in on Colgate goalie Anna Unger, bent her knees and elevated a shot into the cage for her first goal since the season-opener against Vermont. Two frames earlier, Quigley aligned the ball at the Raiders’ penalty corner insertion hash and paced three steps back.In 2019, Quigley has started all 12 games, surpassing her six from 2018 and has helped fill gaping holes in Syracuse’s defense by switching to the backline from forward. In that time, she also picked up inserting penalty corners — an aspect she had never been a part of before SU. Her first attempts flew over defender’s sticks or sailed wide of awaiting stoppers, Gerzabek said. That couldn’t happen in games.“I was not very good at it,” Quigley said.Quigley spends her pre-practice time on the new specialization. It took nine years to uncover, yet only months to master the movements — first step, second step, drop stick, third step, sweep.That routine has helped her repeat it with extreme precision. Balls need to roll onto Queen’s fast enough for a shot before the defense closes in, but smooth enough to avoid a misplay. She’s led a penalty corner unit that has converted on 17.3% of its attempts.Already leading 1-0 at Colgate on Sept. 22, Quigley executed her even strides and swept the ball toward Laura Graziosi. The primary pass began a set that evaded the Raider defense and ended with a Charlotte de Vries goal, bouncing off defenders and sticks in the process. Quigley thrust her arms in the air and sprinted toward the Orange huddle. This was what she had worked for.“Having many skill sets in your back pocket so you can be the person that the coach can go to always makes you a valuable player,” Josie said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 13, 2019 at 11:12 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrewlast_img read more

LeBron James on helping Lakers recruit free agents: ‘It’s very critical to me and my future’

first_img Juwan Howard new betting favorite to become next Lakers coach James told Bleacher Report he “will be as active” as he needs to be to help the team improve.James said: Related News That’s why I came here. I came here to win. And obviously, we need to get better, as far as our personnel. We have an opportunity to get better. And there’s a lot of talent out there, and a lot of guys that can help our franchise. So, I’ll be as active as I need to be for us to get better and go from there.James signed a four-year, $153.3 million contract with Los Angeles in July and it began the season with a 20-14 record. But, James missed the next 17 games after straining his groin Dec. 25 and the team never recovered.The Lakers were officially eliminated from playoff contention in late March, which will snap James’ streak of eight consecutive finals appearances. He last missed the postseason in 2005.James said he’s positive “the franchise will be great” in the near future.“It (adding another star) is very critical to me and my future,” James told Bleacher Report. “”Obviously, the franchise is going to live forever. But for me personally, it’s very critical, because I want to compete, and I want to compete now.”The Lakers shut down James last weekend to help him fully recover from the injury. He’ll finish his first season in Los Angeles averaging 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in 55 appearances. Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee discuss Lakers missing playoffscenter_img LeBron James plans to help the Lakers recruit free agents.Los Angeles will have max salary cap space in the offseason and multiple top-level players — including Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson — could be available. “Of course, I would love to still play, but I’ve always listened to the ones I trust, no matter if I always agreed with them or not,” James told The Athletic recently about being shut down. “They’re looking out for my best interest, and that’s the way it is.”The Lakers will enter their matchup Thursday against the Warriors with a 35-43 record. They have four regular-season games remaining.last_img read more