Even after playing one varsity sport in the spring, sophomore Kyleigh Keating wanted more.
After playing lacrosse last year, Keating committed herself over the summer to joining Harvard field hockey. Though Keating played both sports in high school, doing the same at the Division I level is more difficult and time-consuming endeavor.
“It takes an exceptional person and an exceptional athlete to be two-sport athlete at the Division I level … and be a student at Harvard,” said Harvard field hockey coach Sue Caples.
But Caples said she was confident that Keating would be up for the challenge, in large part due to Caples’ awareness of Keating’s level of play in high school.
Three years ago, the field hockey coach eyed Keating and recruited her with the hopes that she would join the Crimson. To Caples disappointment, Keating decided instead to accept an offer from Harvard’s lacrosse team.
After the end of her first lacrosse season, Keating expressed interest in joining the field hockey team and eventually decided to do just that.
“We were thrilled that she decided to join the team,” Caples said. “She’s a tremendous athlete … and has a wonderful personality.”
Although Keating hadn’t picked up a field hockey stick in close to two years, she impressed her coaches before the season even started.
“I was convinced that she had been playing field hockey for the past two years,” Caples said. “She looked like she hadn’t missed a beat.”
From there, she has continued to improve according to her coach.
“She is getting better every day,” Caples said. “It’s just a matter of getting the touches again to get up to speed. Her skills have improved to match her speed and athleticism.”
Soon after the season got underway, Keating had a coming out party against Quinnipiac. While the Crimson lost in a close match, the sophomore sparkled, scoring her first collegiate goal and then following it up with a second score later in the game.
“We needed to be really intense that game and I thrive in situations like that,” Keating said.
Thanks in large part to that breakout performance, Keating is currently second on the team in shot percentage and tied for third in goals.
“She seems to be in the right place and at the right time,” Caples said. “Was I surprised [by her performance]? absolutely not.”