Freshman midfielder Brianna Lennon has become a regular on-field presence for the Ithaca College women’s field hockey team this season.
In 18 regular season games so far, Lennon has registered two goals, tied for fifth most on the team, and three assists, tied for third on the team. She captained her high school team in her senior season and received several accolades, including 2018 Newsday All-Long Island Second Team. She was also invited to compete in the senior all-star game.
Staff writer Andrew Gabriel sat down with Lennon to discuss what brought her to the college and her experience adjusting to Division III field hockey.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Andrew Gabriel: Where did your initial interest in field hockey stem from?
Brianna Lennon: In middle school, my school just got field hockey, and I wasn’t playing any sport in the fall, so I was like, “Why not just try field hockey?” because it was new and all my friends wanted to do it.
AG: When did you figure out that you were good at field hockey?
BL: I still don’t know if I figured it out. We have this thing in field hockey called “Futures,” which is an outside field hockey [team] that’s affiliated with USA Field Hockey, and I made the New York state team as an alternate [sophomore] year. After you get picked for that, you get to play with the best people in New York at Futures. So, after that, I realized I was playing with the best kids in the state, and that’s pretty cool.
AG: When did you decide to come to Ithaca?
BL: I think I committed in January of my senior year. I visited I think in November, and I visited again in December for an overnight, so I met the team in December, and then I just loved it here. The team was so nice. I liked the coaches, and, obviously, the facilities are sick. My gut told me to go to this school. For a week, I was like, “Oh my god, I can’t decide. I can’t decide.” My mom was like, “You know which school you want to go to. You’re just not admitting it to yourself.” I was like, “Yeah, you’re right,” and I just chose this school.
AG: How does the Ithaca team differ from the other teams you played on before?
BL: Definitely the first word that came to mind was “culture.” We have a way of doing everything. We do devotional every day. It’s before every practice and every game. We line up on the line of the field, and someone says something motivational, inspirational or something that meant something to them, and we all hold hands and close our eyes. And then when they’re done, they go “3, 2, 1, let’s go Bombs,” and then we run.
AG: What other aspects make this team unique?
BL: Definitely positivity. I’ve never been on such a positive team. After a game, there’s at least eight people that say, “Great job. You did good today,” at a minimum. There’s always positivity at every play. Every single little thing you do, people notice. And throughout practice, it’s always talking it up, always saying, “Great job. You’ve got it,” every time. In high school, you cheer people on but definitely not to the extent that we do here.
AG: Who have been your biggest supporters on the team?
BL: My friend [freshman midfielder] Arla [Davis] — she’s my best friend here — and sophomore Morgan Mullen. She’s definitely someone I look up to as a player. She transferred from East Stroudsburg University, which was a really strong Division II team, and just the way she plays, I want to play like that. Every time I see her make a play, you can see how determined she is to get the job done. I want to be exactly like that.