YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Megan Bozek was discussing field hockey with younger sister Emma last summer when she made a statement.
“I was joking around with Emma that I could be the conference defensive player of the year if I worked really hard,” said Bozek, a Cortlandt Manor resident and University of New Hampshire field hockey player.
Bozek was not completely joking, though. The 2010 Lakeland graduate has been named the America East Conference field hockey defensive player of the year. Bozek, a junior, unseated Boston University’s Jacinda McLeod, who was the 2010 and 2011 conference player of the year.
Not only was Bozek, who captained Lakeland to the 2009 New York State Class B title, honored as the top defensive player, she was named to the America East Conference first team. And, for the second consecutive year, she earned first-team All-Academic honors. Bozek’s award-winning postseason concluded with a third-team All-America selection by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
“I was really excited, especially with Jacinda McLeod back for her senior year, that all of the hard work really paid off,” said Bozek, a Secondary Mathematics Education major.
Bozek, an offensive force during her Lakeland career, showed she did not lose her scoring touch. Bozek finished with 10 goals and four assists this season.
Even though Bozek started her first two years, she was determined to step up her game. She played on an indoor team based in Pennsylvania from April through August. It was a long drive from the UNH campus to Pennsylvania for practice, but Bozek thrived.
“I focused on working on my footwork and channeling,” Bozek said. “I was determined to play as hard as I could.”
Bozek went into pre-season camp and immediately established herself as a top defensive player.
“Last year, I didn’t think I played to my full potential because I was out for a month with a broken hand, then when I returned I played with a cast,” Bozek said. “This year, I tried not to peak too early during the season. Every day I was pushed by my teammates, especially the other defenders, to become that much better.”
While Bozek was honored by her numerous awards, she was most proud of her continued excellence in academics.
“It helps keep me grounded,” said Bozek of her academic excellence. “I am here to do well in school and I want to do well. It is nice to know that I was recognized for all of the time and effort that I put into school, as well as my field hockey ability.”