Senior Spotlight: EHT's Erin Hogan proved her toughness in both field hockey and lacrosseBy DAVE O’SULLIVAN
In the German language, the word zahigkeit translates to “toughness.” Recent Egg Harbor Township High School graduate Erin Hogan probably knows that, since she is contemplating a minor in German to go along with her Environmental Science major at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she will join the Panthers’ field hockey program — an NCAA Division III powerhouse that won the 2015 national championship.
Last summer, Hogan, who also was a standout lacrosse player for the Eagles, broke her left wrist at a field hockey camp at the University of Maryland. The injury would have derailed the senior season of most field hockey players. But Hogan isn’t just any field hockey player. She’s tough as nails, and something as silly as a broken wrist wasn’t going to keep her off the field. She missed a couple of scrimmages, but was in the lineup for the Eagles’ first game under rookie head coach Kristi Troster.
“I fractured my wrist at team camp during the summer at Maryland. I thought I was going to be out for my entire senior season, but I was talking to one of the referees on the sideline and she was like, ‘you know you can just wrap that up and keep playing.’ So I went and talked to my trainer and he gave me this big old wrap thing,” said Hogan, who finished her career with more than 30 goals. “I just went nuts for the rest of the season. I got some funny looks from my teammates, and other teams, especially. It stunk that I had a broken wrist, but at least I got to play my senior season.”
That’s the type of impact player Hogan was during her two-sport career. She could be counted on to be in the lineup, and deliver timely goals and assists for both the field hockey and lacrosse teams.
“She’s very tough, physically, mentally. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, she’ll get out there and play hard for you. As a coaching staff we were wondering what’s going to happen when she’s gone, but she’s set kids up around her, which is cool,” said EHT lacrosse coach Franklin Williams. “Being unselfish on the field and off the field was good for her because she made the team around her better. She helped set this program up for years to come because she had the ability to get the best out of girls around her. She was fun to watch, and fun to coach.”
Hogan scored her 100th goal in lacrosse during her junior season and always has had the ability to score, but she was even more valuable setting up her teammates, as is evidenced by her more than 100 combined assists in both sports. That unselfishness came to define her career at EHT.
“At the beginning of this year I had the girls write down some goals they had, and one of Erin’s goals was to get her 100th assist this year. And I wrote down some corny little sayings to get them toward their goals, and for Erin, I wrote down on her goal sheet that if she would drive to goal more often she would get more assists because the defense would crash harder on her. It’s something I tried to preach to her,” Williams said. “Two years ago, when we had that really nice run, we had a game against Millville where Erin had eight goals. After the game, she was disappointed in herself. She was mad that she had to score eight goals. I said, ‘that’s the thing, you had to score eight goals. We only won by two and all eight of those goals counted for the good guys.’”
“I was hoping — and I guess everybody hopes they have that standout senior season — I don’t think it was the best season I had, but I was still pretty happy with the way it ended in both sports. For lacrosse, it was more of my goal to get girls on my team to 100 goals. I got my 100th last season, so I wanted to be there for them more than any individual goal. For field hockey, I just went out there and had as much fun as I could. I just love the sport,” Hogan said. “It’s always been more about the team for me. I feel like I really helped the team out as much as I could. My freshman year we won the CAL title (in field hockey) and I played in some games. It was amazing to watch the team dynamic that year, and just to grow up with the other girls and grow into a leadership position was awesome. Mentoring the new girls was great, and I feel like both teams are in good hands with the girls they have coming up.”
Williams said there were times when he had to convince Hogan to be a little less unselfish.
“She had all the natural ability and was very coachable. Sometimes with that natural ability kids have a knack of not listening because they think they know better, but she was always ears up,” he said. “The other girls did have that mentality about her (of being a star), and on the field hockey team as well, but as a player, Erin hated that because she is such a team player. She would get the ball and really quickly try to pass it again.”
Hogan first picked up a field hockey stick as a fourth-grader, more on a whim than anything else. She never figured she would end up playing the sport in college.
“I started out in fourth grade just playing once a week at the fields over by the airport. I really started playing seriously in middle school, and I chose that over soccer when I got into high school and I’ve never looked back since then,” she said. “I figured since I played in middle school I might as well play in high school. Some of the older girls on the team said I should come out and play, and I came out and I loved it. I was scared out of my mind at first, but they whipped me into shape.”
Now that she has graduated, she’s had a few weeks to reflect on just how far she has come since her middle school days.
“I remember going to camp for hockey one summer and I still had the stick I they gave me in middle school. The college coaches from Maryland and Towson were like, ‘yeah, you can’t use that anymore.’ I feel like that’s a representation of how far I’ve come since then,” Hogan said. “Everything about my game has been flipped upside down. My senior year, I got to have Kristi Troster as my coach, and her having the experience of being a college coach definitely helped prepare me for the collegiate level. I’m excited for the fall.”
Despite all the wins, goals, assists and individual accolades, Hogan said what she’ll remember most about her high school sports career is what every athlete dreads — sprints at the end of practice. But she wouldn’t trade the pain and sacrifice for anything, she said.
“The thing that sticks with me the most are the runs I had to do freshman year in field hockey. I don’t think I’ve been more scared or more sick to my stomach when our coach would tell us to get on the end line. God only knows how much we would be running each day,” Hogan said. “But, come the end of the season, we got our CAL (championship) jackets, and it was amazing knowing I helped us get there. I know my high school career in general wouldn’t have been as enjoyable if I wasn’t able to play both sports.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays