To be an impact player in Division I field hockey, an athlete needs certain key qualities. Over the years, Sarah Driscoll’s ’05 die-hard competitive attitude, playmaking skills and refusal to back away from anything — including the turf — have made her into a competitive Ivy League midfielder.
“The girl has more turf burn on her body than the rest of the team combined,” teammate Meredith Howell ’05 said. “It’s only the third week of the season, but her knuckles are already torn up. She’ll walk off the field with blood all over her hands and uniform, but if we’ve won or had a great practice, the pain is meaningless for her.”
Driscoll made the transition from the tennis courts to the field hockey turf during her freshman year of high school because of field hockey’s larger focus on team play. Hailing from Stuart Country Day in New Jersey, Driscoll’s small high school team had trouble competing against larger public schools in New Jersey. Still, her team remained very competitive in its private school league.
Because of her immediate impact on her high school team, Driscoll’s older teammates encouraged her to play for club teams in the area. Playing for the clubs Spirit Eagles and Futures, Driscoll competed in large tournaments. In addition to being noticed by college coaches, Driscoll had the opportunity to play alongside future members of the United States National Field Hockey Team with the club Futures.
A multi-sport athlete, Driscoll knew she wanted to play in the Ivy League where she could play both field hockey and lacrosse. It was Yale field hockey head coach Ainslee Lamb who cemented Driscoll’s decision to play for Yale.
“She’s the type of coach who makes you want to work hard every day. She’s committed to making every person better,” Driscoll said.
During the spring season, Driscoll plays midfielder on the Yale women’s lacrosse team. Women’s lacrosse coach Amanda O’Leary relied on Driscoll last spring to mark the top offensive threat of opposing teams. On April 12, Driscoll’s successfully shutdown Princeton star Theresa Sherry, holding her to just one goal and no assists while helping Yale to a 7-6 win.
Driscoll exemplifies the type of effort that coach Lamb promotes; Lamb has seen the turf burns and knows the type of player she has in Driscoll.
“She has the ability to take a game in to her own hands purely with her desire to win,” Lamb said.
Like Lamb, Driscoll’s teammates are constantly impressed with her ability to lead and coordinate the flow of the game on the field.
“[Driscoll] really understands the game,” back midfielder Meredith Hudson ’05 said. “You have to be smart and have a sense of the game, because when it comes down to it, those are the players who make a difference on the field. Sarah is one of those players.”
Driscoll’s competitiveness is only rivaled by her ability to help her teammates out. Driscoll already has a team high of three assists this season.
“I’d rather give it to one of my forwards to finish it off,” said Driscoll about her assists.
But, when it matters, like when the Bulldogs faced Rhode Island on Sept. 10, Driscoll takes the game into her own hands. Against Rhode Island, both teams were scoreless in a goalie duel. With 21:54 remaining, Driscoll scored past Rhode Island goalkeeper Jennifer Perry, who already had denied Yale offensive standouts Hudson and back midfielder Fran Gardner ’04 earlier that night. Driscoll’s goal was enough for the Bulldogs to eke out the 1-0 victory.
With nearly two full field hockey seasons ahead of her, the second team All-Ivy pick last autumn looks poised to continue her success. Already, Driscoll has proven herself as one of Yale’s top go-to players in this young 2003 season.
“[Driscoll] has played with the composure and leadership of a veteran player, and I am confident that she will continue to impact this program,” Lamb said.