WEST CHESTER >> When Bailey Quinn was piling up huge numbers while playing field hockey at Phoenixville Area High School, Division I play at the collegiate level seemed so appetizing and desirable.
All her hard work led to a senior year that included a single-season Phantom record of 46 goals that ranked Quinn second in the nation back in 2014 after being ranked No. 1 most of the season. Quinn also finished her career at Phoenixville with the career record of 103 goals. The Phantoms, anchored by a strong senior class, advanced to the PIAA state tournament in Class AAA in 2014 under veteran head coach John Tornetta.
Quinn was recruited heavily by Division I colleges, especially those along the East Coast, but she also weighed Division II schools as well. She wound up settling on Division I Old Dominion University in Virginia.
The freshman year turned out OK for Quinn as she gained experience playing at the elite level in practice and saw some game action later in the campaign. Quinn even wound up scoring a game-winning goal for the Monarchs against Virginia that merited Quinn Rookie of the Week honors.
But when the season was complete, Quinn took look at the big picture. And despite a freshman year that went well in almost every aspect, Quinn decided Old Dominion was not the right fit for her after all.
So Quinn decided to transfer closer to home and is now a starting forward at Division II East Stroudsburg University in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). It is still high-quality field hockey, though, since the Warriors are the defending national champions in Division II.
“It was really too far, the distance,” said Quinn, a 5-foot-4 sophomore, prior to a recent game at West Chester University’s Vonnie Gros Field on Sept. 28. “I wanted my family to see my games. That was the main reason. It was just too far.”
The move has allowed Quinn to be reunited with Taylor “T.J.” Jefferis, her best friend and former teammate at Phoenixville.
Jefferis is playing spring lacrosse at East Stroudsburg. Jefferis enjoyed a banner freshman year with the Warriors, who also set team records with their lofty performances that included a national ranking. Jefferis was also one of the Phoenixville players most responsible for Quinn’s gaudy numbers in field hockey at Phoenixville since plays developed through her, some directly leading to official assists and other goals that Jefferis was still primarily responsible for creating.
But overall, Quinn is much happier with her new college decision and home.
“It’s awesome,” said Quinn. “The team is awesome, and the coaches are so supportive. It might be a little bit different structure-wise, but it is nice.”
Tornetta was one of the spectators on hand to witness West Chester’s 3-1 victory over East Stroudsburg that rainy afternoon.
Sandy Miller is the head field hockey coach at East Stroudsburg. Miller is in her 33rd season at the helm of the Warriors.
“The pressure’s off so much now,” said Quinn. “My senior year I had to score, score. Now the pressure is off. We have an amazing team with players who are just as good. Many of them could have been Division I players. We are more of a team. Everyone’s good.”
Quinn had been to West Chester University previously. It was one of the Division II schools she visited during the recruiting and visitation process while she was still in high school.
“It was one of the top schools I was looking at if DI don’t work out. This was my top DII school.”
She also considered numerous other Pennsylvania colleges as well as UConn and North Carolina.
“I was all over the place,” said Quinn.
Playing at the DII level also reduces travel distance and time. That in turn allows for more time spent on academics. Quinn’s major is early childhood education so East Stroudsburg provides a good opportunity for that curriculum. Quinn is excited about the chance to observe schools in the area, including one at Clarke Summit Elementary School, where her aunt teaches. The elementary school is located just an hour away from the college.
“We have a lot more time for academics,” said Quinn. “In Division I hockey, it is 12-6 all afternoon, and it was hard to balance my field hockey and school in Division I. Here at East Stroudsburg, it is so much easier to manage my time.”
East Stroudsburg is located in a mountainous area of Pennsylvania. The college is situated near other PSAC schools Bloomsburg and Lock Haven.
“We scrimmage Lock Haven, which is really close, in the offseason,” said Quinn. “We scrimmage DI schools to get competitiveness at that level. We look at how we play DI teams in the offseason.”
The state colleges begin their preseason schedules in the middle of August and continue straight through the fall regular season once classes start.
Quinn is wearing uniform number 24 with the Warriors. The school colors include red, white and black. Quinn had a number of touches in the game, making some passes to teammates and also taking some shot attempts.
Bailey has also been selected to play in Italy and will represent East Stroudsburg University field hockey and Team USA during the summer of 2017. The program is run by AISA so Division II and III women are allowed to go by invitation only.
Quinn is trying to raise $4,000 in order to make the trip. She has also started a GoFundMe account on Facebook.
NOTES >> Another area player on the ESU roster is Karly Conway, a 5-6 freshman forward from Collegeville and Spring-Ford Area High School. ... The WCU roster includes freshman Makena Aberle, a 5-7 forward from Spring City and Owen J. Roberts High School; junior Lauren Measel, a 5-0 midfielder/back from Chester Springs and Downingtown East High; freshman forward Caitlin Kelly, a 5-3 forward from Coatesville and Bishop Shanahan High; and senior Giuliana Antignani, a 5-1 midfielder from Garnet Valley High. ... Amy Cohen is in her fifth season as head coach of the Golden Rams. Her assistant coaches are Nicole Fiorilla (WCU, Class of 2012) and Gabby Panasiewicz (WCU, Class of 2013).