NEWARK, Del. - Old Dominion's women's lacrosse program lured Phoenixville's Karen Hayde from the northeast section of the country to the warmer climates of Virginia.
Hayde is a sophomore for the Monarchs and is the lone goalkeeper on the Old Dominion roster this season. She also some playing time last year as a freshman for the Division I program.
Hayde and other student-athletes who venture away from home still always like to come back home when they can to play in front of and visit with family members and friends from their roots.
The Monarchs paid a visit to Newark, Del., last Friday, April 12, to tangle with the Blue Hens at Delaware Stadium. Old Dominion had a 5-4 halftime edge, but Delaware rallied for an 8-7 victory in a CAA contest. Delaware upped its record to 8-5 overall, 2-2 CAA. Old Dominion fell to 3-11 overall and 1-3 in the circuit.
Hayde made eight saves in the fray. Old Dominion's head coach is Heather Holt, a 1995 Old Dominion graduate who is in her second season at the helm and 14th overall.
The Monarchs have another former Pioneer Athletic Conference player on the roster in junior attack Emily Austerberry from Boyertown.
Delaware has freshman defender Devyn Heidelbaugh from Boyertown and freshman midfielder Alison Karwoski from Great Valley.
'It's been a lot of these in the last couple minutes,' said Hayde. 'It's tough. But we'll put it together. I know we will.
'In games like these, one-goal games, teams hold the ball and possess the ball. They did it really well, and we weren't able to get it back. We came out hard.'
Without a backup this season, Hayde knows she has to play every minute of every game. She has prepared herself mentally and physicall for the pressure and rigors of that daily grind.
'It is a lot of pressure, but I love it,' said Hayde. 'I play the whole game.
'It is nice to come up north. We have a lot of girls from Pennsylvania and New York so we have a big fan section.'
Hayde has had to adjust to the faster-paced game in making the transition from scholastic lacrosse to the collegiate game.
'You have to be ready all the time,' said Hayde. 'The attackers are way faster and shoot way harder than high school. They place shots to you have to be everywhere.'
Hayde and the rest of the goalies attempt to cut off the angles on shots from the left and right sides of the net.
'It is positioning to make saves, get a tip, an interception or something,' said Hayde.
Austerberry was also glad to make a trip homeward.
'Our parents always come out to the games,' said Austerberry. 'The weather is a little colder up here, but it is not bad.'
Austerberry and Heidelbaugh are part of the great continuous tradition of girls lacrosse that coach Pam Wernersbach puts on the field at Boyertown every year. The Monarchs hope to add more PAC-10 recruits and from wherever possible to help bolster the program.
'It is always good to have a mixture of high school competition,' said Austerberry. 'We are a small family. You play with and against people you played in high school.
'It is always nice seeing familiar faces, especially coming back up north. We've had a rough season, but we always keep positive and looking forward. We will work with coach Heather (Holt) and we have some freshmen coming in who are very strong. Everyone is looking toward next year. They'll have that experience.'