Greenfield’s Hubbard Belmont Abbey bound

  • Greenfield High School senior Ashley Hubbard signs a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for Belmont Abbey College, on Wednesday at the school’s library in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield High School senior Ashley Hubbard signs a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for Belmont Abbey College Wednesday at the school’s library in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield High School senior Ashley Hubbard signs a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for Belmont Abbey College, on Wednesday at the school’s library in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield High School senior Ashley Hubbard signs a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for Belmont Abbey College, on Wednesday at the school’s library in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield High School senior Ashley Hubbard signs a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for Belmont Abbey College, on Wednesday at the school’s library in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

Recorder Staff
Published: 4/11/2018 11:38:36 PM

GREENFIELD — When Ashley Hubbard paid a December visit to Belmont (N.C.) Abbey College, she immediately fell in love with the campus of the private liberal arts Catholic school. One other thing stood out to the Greenfield High School senior field hockey player as well.

“It was 70 degrees and everyone was in shorts,” Hubbard said with a laugh.

She will be enjoying the mild December weather this coming winter after she signed a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for the Division II college Wednesday afternoon while surrounded by parents Dawn and Ken Hubbard, coaches and friends in the GHS library. Hubbard will receive a partial athletic scholarship.

“It’s definitely been my goal ever since I started playing in seventh grade,” Hubbard said. “I’ve been working hard ever since to make it happen.”

The journey to this point has not been the same that many college-bound athletes take. Hubbard lives in Northfield and attended Pioneer Valley Regional School through the end of her sophomore season. While at Pioneer, Hubbard was a star forward for the Panthers, but after her sophomore season, she transferred to Greenfield, where she stepped into a program bursting with offensive talent. That prompted Greenfield coach Erin Thayer to move Hubbard back to defense, which was not an easy transition for several reasons, including the lack of prestige that goes along with playing defense.

“At first it was really hard. I was used to being in the spotlight on offense,” Hubbard said. “I learned a lot about being a team player and I think it was a great lesson.”

Field hockey was not the only hurdle that Hubbard faced. She also enrolled in several Advanced-Placement courses, something that Hubbard said was a big challenge as well. Thayer was also aware.

“She came here facing challenges academically and athletically,” Thayer said. “She made it her purpose to succeed. This is what she wanted. She wanted to play at a higher level and she is one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached.”

Hubbard said that Greenfield goalie Samantha Smith, who switched positions herself at one point by taking over as the Green Wave goalie as an eighth grader, was a big help in making the transition. As she became more comfortable playing defense, she realized the benefits.

“Once I started doing it, I realized I had the opportunity to play everywhere on the field,” Hubbard said.

It was that versatility that helped catch the eye of Belmont Abbey coach Bronwen Gainsford when Hubbard was competing at a Recruiting Showcase at Brown University in December. Hubbard, who also plays field hockey for Lynn Hoeppner of Element Athletics, as well as the Futures Program overseen by Hoeppner, said that shortly after the showcase, she received an email from Gainsford.

“She said that I saw the entire field well, and my passes highlighted well,” said Hubbard, who played both defense and midfield at the showcase. “She also liked that I was able to play both offense and defense.”

Hubbard heads to a Belmont Abbey program that is in its third year of existence and plays in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Last season, the Crusaders went 7-11 overall and narrowly missed qualifying for the ECAC Tournament. Hubbard said she hopes to be part of the first team from the school to make the tournament.

She will major in psychology and hopes to be a sports psychologist after she graduates.


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