LOWELL, Mass. — Former Old Town High School three-sport standout Sarah Wilcox has capped a brilliant field hockey career at UMass Lowell by being named an NCAA Division II first team All-American for the second straight year.
Wilcox, a defender who was pushed up into a midfield role this year, had five goals and a team-high 14 assists to lead the River Hawks to their fourth straight NCAA Division II championship game appearance.
The River Hawks lost in the final to West Chester 5-0 on Sunday.
Wilcox was the team’s fourth-leading overall scorer. The team finished up at 19-4.
“She had a fantastic year,” said UMass Lowell coach Shannon Hlebichuk. “There’s no question she saved her best year for her senior year. What really elevated her game was she became a two-way player. We pushed her up so she could be more involved in the attack and she really helped us. She had more confidence in her teammates this year and that helped her become such a dominant player.
“She left an impact on this program that will be felt for many years to come,” added Hlebichuk. “There’s no question she will be missed.”
“I was surprised. I feel very honored,” said Wilcox about her All-American status.
She agreed with Hlebichuk that this was her best season.
“Everything I learned my first three years added up and, fortunately, I was able to get more involved in the offense,” said Wilcox, who is a nursing student.
Wilcox, one of the co-captains, said the team had an “awesome year” especially considering the fact it was a young team and the injury bug took a toll.
“I was so proud of this team,” said Wilcox who helped lead them to the national championship her sophomore year.
She has nothing but praise for Hlebichuk.
“I sent my [high school] video out to everyone and she was the only one [who took a chance on me],” said Wilcox. “I am so grateful that she found me. When I met with her, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It turned out to be awesome.”
Hlebichuk said she knew she had someone special when Wilcox showed up to her first practice.
“She was supposed to bring in her medical form but she didn’t have it so she couldn’t practice,” recalled Hlebichuk. “So I told her to pick up some trash along the field. There were a few paper cups at the 50-yard line and that’s all I wanted her to do.
“But when practice was over, she had not only picked up the paper cups, she had walked the entire length of the field and the track and cleaned up the entire area,” quippd Hlebichuk. “From that moment on, I said to myself ‘I like this kid.’”