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Archive for January 12, 2019

Jan. 12, 2019 — The case for Meredith Sholder

One in a series of posts laying out arguments for the greatest scholastic field hockey player of all time.

Like Haley Schleicher, Meredith Sholder is a second-generation field hockey player. Sholder’s mother, Jane Grim, captained Harvard in the late 1980s with Sharon Landau as a teammate.

Sholder’s career at Emmaus (Pa.) started brightly, with a pair of 40-goal seasons, but the seasons didn’t end the way the Hornets wanted. Indeed, the 2014 season ended with the most lopsided postseason defeat in the team’s history, a 4-0 loss to Palmyra (Pa.).

The second half of Sholder’s career was all about taking leadership, owning results, and never losing to Palmyra again. Sholder had a monstrous junior season, scoring 64 goals and adding 41 assists.

But nothing felt as good beating Palmyra in the state final. She turned in a virtuoso performance on both ends of the pitch. First, it was on defense when she broke up three consecutive shots on a Palmyra corner a few minutes into the second half. Then, in overtime, she was the offense catalyst, flashing to an open space to receive Leah Zellner’s pass at the stroke mark to score a simple tap-in.

Emmaus would have a perfect season in 2016, as she would eventually finish with Pennsylvania state records of 216 goals and 134 assists.

What distinguished Sholder’s play during her time at Emmaus was her quickness and her willingness to use it. Indeed, observers could predict the onset of a goal by noting the way that Sholder would attack open space.

Her ability to read space has served her well at the next level. In 2018, she led North Carolina in assists during the postseason as North Carolina won the Division I national title with a 2-0 win over Maryland in the final.