She’s played for her high school. She’s played for her college. Now, she’s playing for her country.
Wyoming Area graduate Serra Degnan participated in the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Championship, held at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster this past week.
This is the first time a Wyoming Area athlete competed in the championships.
Degnan, a sophomore at Syracuse University, played on the U21 team at the National Championships. The U21 team is made up of athletes under 21, playing mostly teams much older.
Degnan’s team finished in third place, which she thought was amazing. But it was much more than the scoreboard for her. She was representing her country.
“It was a really honoring experience,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to get there without (Syracuse head field hockey coach) Ange Bradley. She introduced me to it. It was just such an exhilarating experience. With the help from the coach and teammates it made it all possible.”
The USA Field Hockey Women’s National Championship annually brings together the most elite athletes in the country, including top collegiate players, current National Team members and members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
Athletes train at High Performance sites throughout the country in the hopes of being named to the Women’s National Championship squad for their region. The eight regional squads then faced off for the prestigious national championship.
Degnan didn’t score a goal in the National Championships, but she did help her team to a 3-1 shootout win against USA Blue after the two teams played to a 4-4 draw.
“We played a lot of older players and most had already graduated,” she said. “We were strictly girls under 21. It was an amazing experience to compete against the top athletes on the National Team and the Olympic Team.”
As a freshman at Syracuse last fall, Degnan played in 20 games, while starting 16. She scored four goals. Her said her experience thus far playing for Syracuse has been nothing short of fantastic. The moment she’ll take away most is scoring that first goal.
It was against Princeton, the defending national champions. After being shut out the game before against Boston College, Degnan knew she had to contribute more. She did. She found the cage twice for her first two collegiate goals.
“It is a memory that I will never forget,” she said. “I needed to get a goal that game. Your first collegiate goal, there is nothing like it. You wouldn’t trade it for the world. You could almost start crying.”
Syracuse made it to the ACC semifinals before falling to the University of North Carolina, 1-0.
Despite a 21-4 shot advantage in the first round of the NCAA tournament, No. 2-ranked nationally Syracuse suffered a 2-1 upset at the hands of No. 20 Michigan State. The Orange concluded its season with a 16-4 record.
“My freshman year was awesome,” she said. “Just being able to have the opportunity to train was just unbelievable. The overall atmosphere was something I’ll never forget.”
Degnan is the daughter of Louis and Mary Lou Degnan. She’ll continue her collegiate career at Syracuse this fall, where she is studying Exercise Science. In the future, her goals remain constant: graduate and see where field hockey takes her. If things work out, maybe we’ll be seeing her on the U.S. National Team.
“My dream is to play field hockey at the next level,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason. Hopefully that’s the end result.”