Interview by Stephin McCloskey
Millersville Field Hockey has been arguably the most successful D2 Field Hockey team in the PSAC over the last decade, especially between 2014-2019. In that span they won a D2 National Championship and accumulated a record of 97-30. The Marauders have since been trying to recuperate after losing many key playmakers to graduation and COVID years.
With the pandemic all but behind us, I decided to catch up with the Head Coach of the Marauders. Shelly Behrens is excited about the future of the Field Hockey program, and believes the team is ready for another championship appearance. Behrens also spoke about what she looks for in individuals looking to join the Marauders one day.
SM: What has been behind Millersville Field Hockey’s success over the last 8-9 years? It seems the team is always in it to win it.
SB: That is a great question – I think it is a culmination of several things. It is important to me that we always have the right people here at Millersville representing our program. I truly think we have the right best people that want to be here.
If you look back, I will say it is a huge credit to the 2012 & 2013 teams – we did things with them that completely revamped our program. Then from covid on I think I made some intentional player development choices that have really created a better relationship with the players and coaches. To be consistently in the top 4 of the PSAC and in the mix for NCAA selection when only 3 go in our Region for the past 11 years is a testament to the players and their ability to elevate our program.
SM: As a coach what do you look for when recruiting individuals?
SB: I look for many things. Athleticism and Hockey IQ matter, Some things stick out right away, but truly it is seeing in them their growth potential as well. I am always looking for that “IT” factor too – and hard to put into words, but when they have “IT” I am a fan. I changed my whole recruiting class around our current freshman here. There were several kids that just had that “IT” factor. So, I went with them, and I could not be more pleased with their current contributions on field and off. It is a class to look out for for sure.
SM: Millersville Field Hockey has sent waves through the local high school teams with Penn Manor being at the top of that list going 11-4. Do you think Millersville success has impacted the local field hockey community?
SB: I think yes and no. We have benefited for sure from the local teams. Sometimes we are too close for some, but then when they want to transfer, they reach out and we have had some great local transfers, some on the team now. I think we do benefit from the connections in the LL & Mid Penn league especially, but that ripple effect has truly gone throughout the state. I feel as if when I first arrived the local fh coaches and kids looked past Millersville and now we are a part of the conversation with Division I and II programs.
SM: Finally, what are you most looking forward to this coming season?
SB: As any other season is always the challenges – the challenges of creating a new team to compete and elevating our play and continuing to build a program that is successful and competing for a championship. We don’t just want to chase a championship; we want to catch it and go from there! We were a goal away, trust me that is in my and the returners heads!