After missing her entire senior season with the Yale field hockey team due to a torn ACL, former Bulldog captain Kiwi Comizio ’18 has extended her career at Villanova University, where she’s using her last year of eligibility while working toward a one-year master’s degree in finance.
When Comizio tore her ACL playing lacrosse for the Bulldogs during the spring of her junior year, it was clear that she wouldn’t play another field hockey game for Yale. At the season’s end, head coach Pam Stuper suggested that the New Jersey native look into graduate school programs where she could play one more year.
“We love having her,” Villanova head coach Joanie Milhous said of the team’s first-ever graduate student player. “She adds great experience to our team as well as added leadership. … She is most definitely a player who ‘gets it’ from all perspectives. She understands where coaches are coming from as well as where her teammates are coming from. Her maturity level and accountability have been great attributes that she has added to our team.”
Comizio’s impact on the field hockey team at Yale was immediate. She started all 17 games during her rookie season, displaying strong consistency seldom found in first-year athletes.
After focusing on lacrosse during the second half of the year, the two-sport athlete returned to field hockey and again started in every game sophomore year. In her third season at Yale, Comizio did not skip a beat, keeping her starting spot and leading the Elis in assists.
“Even though she was always really busy with her rehab for her ACL, she was still a huge part of our team off the field,” midfielder Sarah King ’21 said. “The whole team learned from watching Kiwi throughout the season that even when fighting one of your own toughest battles, you can go the extra mile to help and encourage others.”
Her diligence, hard work and leadership skills culminated in her election as team captain for the 2017 season, a position she continued to hold despite her injury.
Now at Villanova, Comizio adds her leadership and dedication to the Wildcat squad. Despite her latecomer status, Comizio has managed to find a family in the Villanova field hockey program.
Wildcat forward Allison Sayia is a former high school teammate of Comizio’s, and both the team members and Milhous have welcomed the former Yalie with open arms. In addition, both of Comizio’s brothers, TJ and Chet, attend Villanova and play lacrosse for the Wildcats.
“Both of my brothers actually go [to Villanova]. One is a senior and one is a freshman,” Comizio said. “I knew they had a good business school. … It just kind of fit all the criteria I had for a fifth year.”
Despite a nearly seamless transition, Comizio pointed to obvious differences in her playing experiences at Yale and Villanova. As the only graduate student on the team, Comizio said she sees a lot less of her teammates outside of practice because their schedules don’t match up with her.
While many of her experiences in New Haven have benefited her in Philadelphia, Comizio said that one of the most important things Yale taught her was time management.
“There are a lot of Ivy League rules about practicing and competition and hours that don’t apply to a school like Villanova, … [so it’s] been interesting to see how that works with fewer restrictions.” Comizio said.
After missing an entire season due to injury, Comizio looks stronger than ever, having played over 50 minutes in all five of Villanova’s games in the 2018 season.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org