Hampsch’s Ability Leads to a Scholarship At Duke University

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Hopedale’s Field Hockey Goalie
Photo by Steve Bassignani
Issue Date: 
November, 2018
Article Body: 

Piper Hampsch is a stunning example of what can happen when an athlete relies on hard work, commitment, devotion and passion.
The Hopedale High junior goalie, who’s been playing varsity field hockey for five seasons, has been a Dual Valley League all-star, her team’s MVP and a two-time captain. She’s also been involved in tournament play for four years and that number could be five if the Blue Raiders qualify this season.
But, the big plus in Hampsch’s career came after her first visit to Duke University during her freshman year of high school — she was awarded a full scholarship to play for the Blue Devils.
Forget about Hopedale being a small town or its high school’s teams being overshadowed by larger squads. Hampsch’s future will be in Division 1 and it’ll include a trip to Durham, N.C., where she’ll be linked to one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s premier universities.
“It’s all very exciting,’’ said Hampsch, who also plays basketball and softball for the Blue Raiders. “Playing for Duke is a challenge I’m looking forward to and willing to accept. What role I’ll play there has yet to be determined but being named a captain halfway through my sophomore year has been great preparation for what’s to come.’’
The seeds for Hampsch’s scholarship offer were planted at age 12 when she was introduced to field hockey by her three older sisters. She started on Hopedale’s varsity as a seventh-grader, and since that time she’s played every game and has never left the field for a minute during a five-year span. She also has committed time to competing at the club level and was selected to play for the U.S. Junior National Indoor team.
A polished and poised player, Hampsch gets high marks from Hopedale coach Lauren Bouchard, who’s in her first year at the Blue Raiders’ helm.
“Piper has good knowledge of the game,’’ Bouchard noted. “Her communication skills are excellent and she’s a great teacher who commands respect. The voice of our defense, she explains to defenders why they should go right or left. She’s very encouraging and wants our team to succeed.’’
Hampsch’s strengths in goal are significant and they’ve helped Hopedale compile a 5-3-2 record, numbers that put the Blue Raiders close to a playoff berth. Through 10 games, Hampsch had a goals-against average of 0.70 and four shutouts. She’s got a high field hockey IQ, she’s quick, instinctive, mentally tough, and aggressive.
Playing in goal can be pressure-laden, and success in that venue doesn’t always arrive quickly. Hampsch dealt with those issues early on in her ascension as an elite net-minder.
“I like being a goalie because you can determine the outcome of a game,’’ she said. “I felt pressure as a seventh-grader but I developed mental toughness. Being in goal helps you to see the entire field and that sharpens your awareness. Where I’ll need to improve once I get to college is dealing with the speed of the game. It’ll be faster at that level and I’ll need to improve my instincts, footwork and decision-making.’’
Hampsch is acutely aware of what it takes to be a success in goal. She says it’s all about getting into position for rebound shots. “Many goalies make the initial save but it’s second and third attempts that can cause problems,’’ Hampsch noted. “The key is to get into position for rebounds. Field awareness helps with the second and third shots.’’
Hampsch’s best games include a quarterfinal matchup against Auburn in tourney play as an eighth-grader and Hopedale’s season-opener this year against Lunenburg.
“We lost to Auburn in a game that went to overtime, then to penalty corners,’’ Hampsch recalled. “We were still playing during the fourth penalty corner. It was very exhausting. Auburn won the game on a shot that was re-directed. But, we hung in against an incredible opponent. Tying a strong Lunenburg team this season was a plus because we’re a young squad with only two seniors. I was pleased to make some key saves and stop several break-aways.’’
A fan of her new coach, Hampsch labels Bouchard “a quality motivator whose energy helps younger players develop.’’ And, the veteran goalie is also bullish on several players — like senior co-captain Taylor Goldstein, junior midfielder Rowena Murphy and sophomores Gianna Derienzo (forward) and Julia English (defender).
“Taylor is still recovering from a torn ACL,’’ Hampsch said. “Hopefully she’ll return. Her aggressive style makes her a big contributor on offense. Rowena, Gianna and Julia all do a good job controlling their areas. They’re strong and instinctive.’’
An honor student, Hampsch is also treasurer of her class and a member of the drama club. There wasn’t much drama, however, when she was excelling in showcase tournaments with her club team and also in the Futures Program. Those high levels of competition enabled Duke coach Pam Bustin to see Hampsch play. And, after her club coach (Chris Pothier) was notified of Duke’s interest, Hampsch visited the university and eventually received a scholarship.
A decision that has yet to be made is whether Hampsch will get involved with a process called “gray-shirting.’’ Unlike red-shirting where a college player opts to sit out a year and use that eligibility later, gray-shirting involves leaving high school a semester early, taking classes in college during that time and also playing and practicing during the winter and spring before classes begin in September.
“It’s all about being more prepared to start as a college freshman,’’ Hampsch said. “I’m mulling it but it would be difficult to leave high school early. My top thrills in athletics are the memories of winning games and celebrating with teammates. I’d miss the spirit and camaraderie.’’
Calling her parents (Bob and Lori) and sisters (Riley, Audra and Claire) role models for their support and encouragement, Hampsch will continue to rely on a competitive philosophy that focuses on reaching her potential and developing her skills. “If that occurs, then winning will follow,’’ Hampsch emphasized. “And, valuable life lessons can be learned from competing, like overcoming adversity, becoming a leader and developing an internal drive.’’
Hampsch had to deal with a dose of adversity as a sophomore when she suffered a fractured fibula playing indoor field hockey. No surgery was need and her left leg healed in 15 weeks.
Piper Hampsch is a results-oriented individual who seems to pile up achievements rapidly. She recovered quickly from her injury, became a captain as a sophomore, was a DVC all-star as a freshman and sophomore, became her team’s MVP as a sophomore and received a full scholarship during her freshman year.
Her coach calls her “special.’’ That’s because of her hard work, commitment, devotion and passion.