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Friendship and field hockey provides suite memories

By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor

 

Sure, we've heard the stories of athletes coming together as roommates and creating lifelong bonds worthy of Hollywood cinematic gold. This however, is one of them; this is better.

 "We're like a mini family within a family," stated junior forward Meg Leusch of her roommates. "Because I consider our team to be our family."

Within the gates of Colonial square, a tight-knit group of Hofstra University field hockey stars share a small space, but have a big impact on their squad.

Leusch, who shares a room with junior defender Kerry Kiddoo and is suitemates with senior goalkeeper Amanda Heyde and forward Genna Kovar basically spend every minute of every day together. 

"Well, I would say 15 hours," said Heyde. "I may be exaggerating, but I'm close."

Though suites are traditionally made up of four people, there is a fifth member of this dynamic bunch in the form of sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn De Turo who actually does not live in the same room. 

"I just tell everyone that I'm the fifth roommate," said De Turo with a smile. "I love it here."

"She sleeps on the futon," said Kovar. "We've tried to tell her to get swipe access to our building, but there's no way we can get that done but we did bring all her school books with her and we're going to put her name on the door."

"I swear I think she has a key because I'll be in the room and she'll just pop up out of nowhere," said Heyde.

This group became close comrades through the sport they love, though it was not in their favorite time of year. 

"Spring is like death," said Kovar jokingly. "You're with your team every second of every day, 24/7 but you don't play in any games."

"We would all hang out after practice and it became an everyday thing," said Leusch. 

"We all just kind of got close," said Kiddoo. 

Despite having different personalities each player has been able to co-exist. 

"Genna is very hyper a lot of the time and is very hyper, a lot of energy and that keeps us riled up," said Heyde. "I'm 50/50. Sometimes I'm laid back and the other 50 percent I'm hyper just like Genna. Kerry is a mix of me and Genna and Meg is just completely different. We know not to wake up Meg because she likes her sleep and when she first wakes up in the morning don't talk to her for a little bit but once she's awake the four of us kind of feed off of each other."

"A typical day is wake up, go to class, practice, practice, practice and then hang out," said Leusch. 

With spending so much time together, the bond between teammates has moved its way onto the field for the benefit of the Pride. 

"This definitely translates onto the field," said Kiddoo. "You know each other's playing styles when we're playing with them or doing drills. D.T. [De Turo] will be in goal telling me what to do and you get used to stuff like that. That adds to the team chemistry not just with our friendship but with the team overall."

There are even depth chart battles with field hockey's fab five as Heyde the starting goalkeeper and De Turo compete for playing time.

"Everyone has their own styles," said De Turo. "And even though everyone has their own styles we learn from each other no matter what it is. I've picked up positive things." 

"I feel like she's learned a lot," said Heyde. "I always tell her if she needs anything, though we're competing for the same spot, ask me because I'll be gone in a year and I'll try to build her up and help her as much as I can. I think hanging out with her more has definitely helped."

Despite the seriousness of competition, there are always times for jokes with this happy bunch. 

"In practice, we'll have competitions on who can hit D.T. or Heyde in the face," said Kovar. "First person to hit the goalie in the mask first wins."

"If I'm playing forward and she [Kiddoo] is playing defense in a scrimmage and we're near each other, we'll just chat it up," said Leusch. 

Once the sticks are put away and the cleats are hung up, field hockey does not affect this friendship. 

"What we do on the field, us five, we don't bring it here to the room," said Kiddoo. "If it's on the field, you leave it there, you don't bring it back here and it's never an issue.

There is also a love for reality television and house music.

"We have Sunday dinners Jersey Shore style," said Kovar. 

"Even though we've yet to cook," added Kiddoo.

It was then a barrage of quotes from the reality show, with each player being designated a character.

"I'm Ronnie," said De Turo. 

"Heyde is Sami Sweetheart," said Kovar. "Because she and D.T. fight just like them."

"I'm J-Woww," said Leusch. 

"And then we have Snooki," stated Kovar referring to Kiddoo. "And I'm D.J. Pauly D!" 

Despite the abundance of smiles and laughter, there is one thing that has the possibility of dividing this suite.

"Nintendo 64 plays a pretty big role in our lives," said Heyde. "We all say that Kerry cheats because she wins all the time at Mario Kart. She doesn't really cheat, she's just really good but we all just get pissed off because we are really competitive." 

"Kerry is a cheater," said Kovar with arms folded. "She uses Bowser and she cheats. But now we have the Wii set up and in Just Dance, we played ten times and Kerry only won once."

"I'm a Mario Kart ninja," said Kiddoo. "Genna is the Wii ninja and Meg is really good at 007 Goldeneye." 

"I'm just all over the place," said De Turo. "I'll win everything every once in a while."

Despite the potential clash of titans on the video game circuit, it is obvious that there is a mutual respect and love between these teammates. 

"It's so nice to have people that we are so close with," said Leusch. "These are my best friends." 

"If there's a problem we are always going to be there for each other," added Kovar. 

"Being from North Carolina, it's so nice to have people that I'm this close with being so far away from home," said Kiddoo. "I love home and I miss it so it's just nice to have comfort."

Hofstra fans can take comfort in knowing that the relationship between these suitemates are working to put the Pride on the field hockey map as well as making friendships that will truly stand the test of time.

From left to right (Joe Pantorno/The Chronicle)

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