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Archive for January 9, 2022

Jan. 9, 2022 — A worthy winner

I didn’t want to let too much time go by before mentioning the fact that last week, Jill Bolton was named the winner of the Honda Award for field hockey. Bolton, a senior at Liberty University, helped the Flames all the way to the NCAA Division I final before bowing to Northwestern.

With the win, she broke a two-year hold on the award by U.S. national teamer Erin Matson, and a three-year hold on the award by the University of North Carolina (Ashley Hoffman had won the award in 2018).

Bolton prepped at Landsdale Christopher Dock (Pa.), one of only a handful of Mennonite schools in the U.S. which have field hockey as a varsity sport. Dock also graduated Jesse Gey, who made the 2008 Olympic team and earned 99 caps with Team USA.

Jill Bolton was a player who you couldn’t take your eyes off of either as a player or as a spectator. You never knew what kind of brilliance she could conjure up through her stick or through her quickness. She scored a number of important goals throughout the 2021 postseason, but she came up with a lot of subtle plays which either took away opposing possessions or created penalty corner chances.

Her graduation leaves a void in Lynchburg that will be hard to replace, especially given how she helped lift Liberty into the national spotlight in 2021.