MILFORD – Half of Milford High School’s eight senior field hockey players will be taking their respective field hockey careers to the next level of competition.
Seniors Daphne Leighty, Hayden Shockley and Margaret Sollie will be playing field hockey at Division III schools next fall. Kate Melvin will be taking her field hockey career to a Division II school.
In front of family and friends last Friday, March 3, Leighty, Shockley and Sollie made their college decisions official.
Daphne Leighty – Shenandoah University
Daphne visited the school over the summer, before she had even been thinking about playing field hockey in college.
Once she got the opportunity to play there and check out the school’s hockey program, she believed it was “fate.”
“I really liked the team atmosphere,” she said. “When I went there it reminded me a lot of hockey here. Everyone seemed really close and I loved the town too.”
While playing field hockey, Daphne plans to study elementary education and has long-term plans of becoming a teacher and coach.
As for her experience playing with Milford’s field hockey program, Daphne says she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I’d go through another four years if I could, but I’m not allowed to,” Daphne said with a smile.
Hayden Shockley – Montclair State University
“When I visited the campus I thought it was super pretty,” Hayden said of Monclair State’s campus. “They have my major there, and when I met the coach and players they were all very welcoming to me.”
Hayden will be studying nursing while attending Monclair State.
When asked about her Milford teammates, she only had high praise for them.
“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to play with. We’re a family, they’re my sisters and I just loved playing with them.”
While Hayden was also a member of the Bucs’ swim team, it’s always been field hockey for her.
“It’s always been field hockey for me, ever since I was little. It was an easy choice for me,” she said.
Head coach Andrea Fleming McPike has been instrumental in assisting Hayden during the college recruiting process.
“She was really helpful in getting coaches interested in me and sending emails out during recruiting,” she said of her coach.
Margaret Sollie – Neumann University
Margaret, much like Daphne, originally had plans to continue playing soccer.
“It wasn’t always field hockey,” she said. “Soccer was probably my top sport until this year. I love field hockey now. I’ve been playing soccer since I was four years old.”
She hopes to study nursing while attending and playing hockey at Neumann.
“I want to get my masters in nursing from Neumann and then I want to get a minor in sociology,” she said.
During her time playing with Milford’s program, Margaret says her teammates have been great to play alongside.
“They have really helped me grow as a player,” she said. “If I don’t know what to do or need help, they were always there to help me.”
Considering she’s played soccer for much longer than field hockey, Margaret said it was a tough decision between the two sports.
“It was a hard decision. Coach Fleming was a big part of it. She really motivates us and is supportive. She said ‘if you ever make the choice to play field hockey, I’ll help you out with recruiting.’ And she did. She was a huge part of it for us.”
Although Melvin didn’t attend the ceremony in Milford High School’s cafeteria, she will be playing field hockey at LIU Post, a Division II athletic program.
Following the 13-2 campaign this year, coach Fleming is sad to see the senior class leave but is happy to see so many of her players taking it to the next level.
“This group of seniors is such a talented group on and off the field. They’ve really set the precedent of school spirit at Milford,” she said. “Also they’ve brought back the dedication to the field hockey program With the hard work they’ve put in, they’ve set the bar for years to come.”
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at email@example.com.