Shenandoah University Head Field Hockey Coach Ashley Smeltzer-Kraft


I played at a really big Division I
school, Michigan State, and then I went on to be an assistant for five years at a
Division III school after that. I saw the head job open and I was really
excited about it and I just finished my sixth fall here. It’s not a job. I get to
go to work every day and I enjoy every single second of it, so I never feel like
I’m actually working, it’s more just kind of fulfilling my passion and I feel like
what I’m supposed to do in life. You know I think we’re – all the coaches and the
teams – are in this together. We all have a goal and a dream of winning an ODAC
championship and making a run in the NCAA tournament, so we’re supportive, we we are encouraging for one another, we’re
excited to go to one another’s games and to be there and cheering each other on.
The women’s field hockey team is made up currently of 24 amazing young women from
all different states and backgrounds. We have built our culture for the past six
years and we focused really hard on that. We have really strong academics and one
really amazing thing about our team is that we stick to the mission statement
with our department, so we are successful on the field, we have strong academics,
and we work hard in the community and giving back as well. First and foremost, I
want it to be an amazing four-year experience for my players, so if they can
step away from Shenandoah field hockey and be proud of the legacy they’ve left
and and what they’ve contributed to build our program, then I know I’ve done
a really good job. So we’ve worked really hard to establish ourselves and make the
semis every year; fight to make it, you know, get a spot in the finals and then
fight to win that automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. At Shenandoah you have
this amazing opportunity to be successful on the field and off and
you’re supported in numerous ways for both of those things. So academically, we
have professors that are caring, that understand, that are passionate about
what they do, and then, on the field, we have this group of young women that work
at the highest work rate possible to achieve their goals. So we don’t just
have one one of those pieces, we have both pieces that we can offer the
potential student-athletes.

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