By Ronald Hanaki
Senior forward Melanie Shambaugh from the Field Hockey team capped off an outstanding season with 11 goals and three assists on her way to becoming the third team selection on the All-PSAC team.
Shambaugh said, “The biggest change for me was becoming more mentally focused and consistent.”
Shambaugh recalled a few memorable games from the past season.
“Definitely playing Millersville the first time away,” said Shambaugh. “I scored [the only] two goals.”
“Stonehill was a huge team effort,” said Shambaugh. “We won 8-0.”
ESU faced Millersville for a third time in the PSAC Semifinal game.
“It was a huge team effort to beat Millersville,” said Shambaugh.
In the second meeting between the Warriors and the Marauders, Millersville beat ESU 1-0 in double-overtime at Whitenight Field.
“We knew we should have beaten them at home,” said Shambaugh. “We were always the better team, and we definitely showed that in the semifinal game.”
In the national tournament, Shambaugh helped lead the Warriors to the Final Four, which was played in Kentucky. “It was a huge honor to play in the Final Four tournament,” said Shambaugh.
“I’ve never been to Kentucky, and it was an amazing experience that I was really thankful to have,” stated Shambaugh.
Unfortunately for the team, Shippensburg defeated ESU 2-1 in the national semifinal game.
“Playing it felt like a national championship game,” said Shambaugh.
“We started a little slow, and they [Ship] scored two goals against us,” said Shambaugh.
“We put our hearts out, and we definitely gave all that we had,” said Shambaugh.
“We all came out 110%, and we were attacking until the end of the game,” stated Shambaugh.
Shambaugh started playing field hockey because her two older sisters played. She was a versatile player who played forward in high school and defense on her club team.
She got some looks from Division III schools, but she came to ESU because it was Division II and only two hours away from her home.
“I visited here and loved it,” said Shambaugh. “ESU was my first choice.”
Shambaugh split her time between forward and midfielder in her first three seasons. In fact, she only started one game before her senior season.
But she received more playing time each year, and she continued to work hard and develop as a player until she became a starter at forward for her final season.
“We were so close-knit as a team that I felt less pressure coming into this season, and I had more confidence knowing I was able to do better things,” stated Shambaugh.
Shambaugh excelled playing in the spring games and received a huge confidence boost when her teammates and coaching staff voted to make her one of the team captains.
“It was definitely humbling,” said Shambaugh. “I wasn’t the best player coming into the season, but I had a good relationship with my teammates.”
“Being named captain pushed me to another level,” stated Shambaugh. “I had a responsibility to step up even more than in the past.”
“The high level of play that ESU Field Hockey has is just amazing,” said Shambaugh. “The coaching staff is great here.”
“I can’t complain. I had an amazing four years,” stated Shambaugh.
Now that the her collegiate career is over, the biology major said, “I have a concentration in physical therapy, and I am in the process of applying to graduate schools next year.”
“Eventually, I think I would like to coach high school and middle school,” said Shambaugh.
“I definitely want to stay around the game,” stated Shambaugh. “I love field hockey.”
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