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Hirsch embraces leadership role for Bobcats
Transferring from one Division I soccer program to another is never an easy task. Coaches typically don’t treat you as the prized, highly sought after product on the recruiting market that you once were during high school.
It’s a new scene, a new atmosphere, a new brand of play out on the field. It could present the challenge of having to start over, having to prove oneself again, and having to adjust to a new coaching staff.
But for Quinnipiac senior Jen Hirsch, a transfer by way of the University of Hartford, none of this ended up dictating her play. Hirsch, a holding force on defense, has been a safeguard for the Bobcats.
Playing with a tenacity and pitch-savvy that’s rare for a team using youth as a charm, Hirsch has emerged as a leader this season.
“Players need to step into their roles when other players leave,” Hirsch said. “They need to take on leadership roles and use their experience to help the program.”
With the departure of five seniors at the end of last year, and a new class of young, talented players, namely freshman go-to scorers Susan Donovan and Amber Sidoti, Hirsch was flushed into a leadership role.
She has become a natural leader, directing traffic for a potent Bobcat defense and chasing around the field like a promoter for Sobe Adrenaline Rush.
Last season, Hirsch left an early impression against SUNY-Albany, when she netted the game-winner to lift the Bobcats to a 1-0 triumph. Hirsch concluded the season with two goals and two assists. This year, she’s managed to contribute on the offensive end as well, providing a timely goal and assist for the Bobcats, who wrapped up their season at 9-6-2.
Though Hirsch has started every game since stepping onto the campus at QU, she didn’t expect the transition to be so smooth.
“One of the biggest transitions (at first) was trying to step into a role that I already had at Hartford,” she said. She admits it was a process “being a starter and everything, to then having to prove myself again.”
With an opportunity to play for a new team also came a more prestigious education program (Hirsch is a Physical Therapy major).
Hirsch says she was excited as the Bobcats got off to a sizzling start, winning six of their first eight games.
“I think we started off really well because we had a lot of adrenaline going into it,” she said.
“We had a lot of new players, so it clicked and we all just wanted to win, and got into the habit of winning.”
She couldn’t stress how important it was that the Bobcats brought their ‘A’ game this past weekend, as they played a crucial contest against CCSU. “I think we realize that we have to leave everything out on the field, there’s really not going to be any excuses for anything. We have to go out there, be ready to play, and hopefully come away with the win.”
Unfortunately, the ‘Cats were dealt a 2-0 loss by the Blue Devils, which put an end to a very successful 2006 season.