BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Stonehill College freshman Alexandria Sylvia of Brockton an instant hit"

BY Jim Fenton

EASTON – She was a successful athlete at Brockton High School, participating in three sports before graduating last June.

Alexandria Sylvia was an Enterprise All-Scholastic three times in field hockey and once in softball as a center fielder in addition to being a member of the boys ice hockey team.

Now, three months into her college career, Sylvia is continuing to have success.

The Stonehill College forward has been named to the Northeast-10 Conference all-rookie team in field hockey after helping the fifth-ranked Skyhawks advance to the semifinal round of the NCAA Division 2 tournament.

Sylvia is Stonehill's third-leading scorer with 10 goals and 21 points and will be facing LIU Post on Thursday afternoon in Louisville, Ky., with a chance to advance to Saturday's national championship game.

"It was kind of over the Thanksgiving break when I sat down and was like, 'This is actually happening. We're going to Louisville to play in the Final Four,''' said Sylvia, whose team is 17-3 and won the NE-10 tournament title. "It's amazing for us as a team.

"Honestly, I don't usually think of what I accomplish. I like to think of the big team picture, but it's exciting to know I have been able to help the team.''

Sylvia, who was Brockton's leading scorer all four years and a three-time captain, was accepted at Stonehill in the honors program last winter before she was recruited for field hockey.

Coach Shelly Morris had heard about Sylvia through a friend and former Northeastern University teammate, Kelly McGowan, who was Sylvia's club team coach at Extreme Field Hockey in Canton.

"She said, 'You should kind of take a look at this kid,''' said Morris. "I saw her at a tournament in Florida last February and said, 'Wow, she can play.'

"She has natural ability and has those ice hockey moves. Being a natural athlete, she just kind of picked up everything. She's a great learner, a smart kid and picked up the game really easily.''

Sylvia scored a goal in her first collegiate game against Merrimack College on Sept. 5 and was a regular on the field for all 20 games.

"I was not expecting anything like this,'' said Sylvia. "I was expecting to maybe get into a couple of games and practicing and improving so that I could make an impact in the years to come.

"It is a completely different step. The team is very strong and competitive and it's a huge step up, but a step I wanted to take and it's very exciting.''

Sylvia, who had two goals each against Southern New Hampshire and Southern Connecticut and scored the game-winning goal against LIU Post on Oct. 17, credits her teammates for helping her quickly make the jump from high school to Division 2.

"The team made it very easy to transition,'' said Sylvia. "The older girls accepted the freshmen right away and always encouraged us. It was very easy to transition and the team now is absolutely amazing.

"I honestly do think my success is because of the team I came on to and my teammates. The whole team just supports each other.''

Morris has been impressed with what Sylvia has been able to accomplish right away.

"You never know how kids are going to transition to college and the speed of the game, but she was seamless,'' said Morris. "She has done a great job.

"I knew she'd get some time this year, but I wasn't thinking she'd be one of our leading scorers and on the all-rookie team. She's the first go-to player off the bench and has given us some great contributions.''

Jim Fenton may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JFenton_ent.