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Sports Article
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Lehman and Swenk Lead GMU Hockey
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
Michaela Swenk Kathryn Lehman

            Kathryn Lehman and Michaela Swenk stuck close during their freshman season at Gwynedd Mercy University. "We weren't sure what we were going through," Lehman said.

            Though they both assimilated to college life, both nursing majors remain close friends, according to Lehman.

            "We're constantly in each other's rooms," she said.

            This season, their familiarity has paid dividends for the Griffins' field hockey team.

            Lehman and Swenk, a pair of sophomores and 2017 graduates of Upper Perkiomen High School, helped lead the team to the championship game of the Atlantic East Conference Championship.

            The duo's fitness strength, and leadership abilities has impressed GMU head coach Laura-Ann Lane.

            "They are doing all I expected and more," Lane said. "They have made us a tough team to beat." 

            According to the coach, Lehman and Swenk played a pivotal role in the team's solid defense. Through five conference games, including a 7-0 victory over Neumann University in a conference semifinal playoff game on Oct. 31, the unit has allowed just 11 shots and no goals.

            "They came to the team with a connection that can't be tough," Lee said. "They have helped make us a tough team to beat."

            Lehman and Swenk have started all 19 games this season for GMU (13-6), which lost 2-1 to Wesley College in the conference title game on Saturday, Nov. 3. Despite the loss, the team earned an at-large bid in the NCAA Division III Tournament, and was scheduled to face Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

            Last season, Swenk missed the Griffins' appearance in the NCAA tournament – a 5-3 loss at Trinity College – with an ankle injury.

"To be able to participate in the game will be amazing," Swenk said. "It was an awesome experience just being there to watch the game. It felt like the big leagues.

            Their greatest impact together on the field has come during the Griffins' penalty corners. Lehman serves as the inserter, while Swenk is one of the main shooters.

            Swenk, a midfielder from Green Lane, scored three of her five goals during consecutive victories over Lebanon Valley (2-1 on Oct. 27) and Neumann. Lehman, a defender from Pennsburg, registered three assists in their playoff opener four days later. Swenk scored twice in the victory.

            "It definitely gives us an edge knowing each other," said Swenk, who has scored five goals and posted two assists in 19 games this season. "It's nice having a friend with me."

According to Lane, the familiarity between Lehman and Swenk provides continuity the opposition can't stop.

            "Kathryn knows how to put the ball on Michaela's stick," the coach said.

            According to Swenk, Lehman served as the inserter on an indoor travel league on which the two played. "It gave her an edge at that spot," Swenk said of Lehman.

            Lehman and Swenk, who both attended Marlborough Elementary, have played together since seventh grade. Lehman, who has scored four games and registered six assists this season, says she knows what Swenk is doing on the field before she acts.

            Lee expressed excitement about recruiting two players from the same team. According to the coach, she initially targeted Lehman and discovered Swenk.

            "There are a few other players in the pipeline," said Lee, who initially recruited Brooke Oliver, a 2012 graduate of Upper Perkiomen, to the college.






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