RADNOR >> If Holy Child School at Rosemont had ice hockey when Lauren Curran was a student there, who knows what path her athletic career would have taken.
The school, though, does not sponsor the sport, so the ice’s loss became the field’s gain.
A friend suggested that Curran give field hockey a try when Curran was in the fourth grade. She did, and it did not take long for the Media resident and junior at Notre Dame to fall in love with the sport.
“In the summer, if I don’t have field hockey that day, I’ll come up here to Notre Dame or go to a field and hit balls,” Curran said. “I love doing that. People ask me if that gets boring, but it doesn’t. I love it that much.”
Switching sports proved to be good training for Curran as she entered her third season with the Irish. A midfielder for most of her career, Notre Dame coach Adele Williams asked Curran to make the move to forward following the graduation of Quinn Maguire, the 2016 Daily Times Player of the Year, and All-Delco forward Mary Kate Neff.
Like the switch from ice to field hockey, the move from midfield to forward took some doing.
“I played a little forward last year, but not a lot,” Curran said. “It was a big transition for me because at midfield I would look to set up my teammates. I was the one making the passes, trying to get the ball. As a forward, I had to learn how to receive the ball. My teammates did a great job of setting me up. I wouldn’t have all the goals I had without them. It worked very well.”
Yes it did.
Although she went scoreless in the opener, it did not take Curran long to find the back of the cage. She tallied twice in the second game of the season, a 9-0 win over West Chester East, and kept on scoring.
Curran poured in 39 goals and handed out 11 assists to pace the Irish to their second straight Inter-Ac League title and PAISAA championship.
For those accomplishments, Curran is the 2017 Daily Times Field Hockey Player of the Year.
Joining her on the team are Notre Dame teammates Sarah Jane Quigley, Tina D’Anjolell and Mia Leonhardt; Carly Brosious from Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast; Lauren Devletian, Gianna Pantaleo and Maddie Rehak of Episcopal Academy; Haverford High’s Sydney Corcoran and Caroline Boornazian; and Strath Haven’s Katie Capalbo and Kay Walker.
Quigley, D’Anjolell, Brosious Capalbo and Walker are the only seniors. Corcoran, Devletian, Pantaleo and Rehak are juniors, Boornazian and Leonhardt are sophomores. The All-Delco team is selected in consultation with county coaches.
Growing up, Curran did not have to look hard for competition. She’s a triplet, stuck in the middle between her older brother, Frances, and younger brother, Andrew. Her brothers go to Malvern Prep. Frances is on the swim team and Andrew is a member of the golf squad. With no other siblings, the triplets did everything together and remain close to this day. It’s why Lauren wears No. 33. She wanted 3, but D’Anjolell already had that number.
“I’ve always worn No. 3 or a number with three in it,” Curran said.
As youngsters, ice hockey was the sport of choice mainly because their mother, Sue, played the game on the amateur level until her children were old enough to join a team. Naturally, Sue Curran became her children’s coach.
“We were 1 or 2 when we learned to skate,” Lauren said. “ We used to go with our mom all the time. It was natural to us.”
Moving to field hockey, though, was not. Like a lot of first-time players, Curran had to learn how to handle the ball without using the backside of the stick, which is OK on the ice, but a no-no on the field. It took a little time for Curran to overcome the habit to use the back of stick, but she had such good hands and stick skills from hockey that she was able to pick up the concept quickly.
Those skills, which she honed over the years playing at the high school, club and national level, made it easy for Williams to move Curran to the forward line.
“She’s a defense’s nightmare,” Williams said. “She has outstanding stick work, excellent speed and one of the most powerful shots I’ve ever seen.”
Curran just had to become a little more selfish, which wasn’t easy.
“I was so used to giving that selfless pass,” Curran said. “I had to learn how to take the initiative to make the play, dribble around a defender and shoot instead of looking to pass. I have to create scoring opportunities and finish.
“I have a better understanding of when I have to shoot and when my team needs a goal. I know that if I have an open shot I have to take it.”
One decision Curran does not have to make is where to go to college. She committed to Boston College long ago, where she plans to enroll in the pre-med program. Curran also considered Northwestern, Harvard, Georgetown and Villanova.
“The other schools were great, but I just fell in love with BC when I got there,” Curran said. “I just knew it was the right fit for me. The girls were really nice to me and the coaches made me feel at home. “I still have to get by SATs and keep my grades up, but I know where I’m going and that’s such a relief. A lot of my friends are just starting to look at schools. I’m so happy that I have that decision out of the way.”