Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 33
 
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

RECOVERY SPEED: Kelly Bruvik, left, races up the field during her senior season in 2006 with the Stuart Country Day field hockey program. Recovering from a serious knee injury in 2007, Bruvik has emerged as a standout for the Bucknell University field hockey team. This week, Bruvik is in preseason camp for her junior season with the Bison. Last fall, Bruvik notched seven goals and an assist to help Bucknell go 11-8 and make the Patriot League championship game.

Stuart Alum Bruvik Recovers From Knee Injury, Emerges as Standout for Bucknell Field Hockey

Bill Alden

It is tough enough for an athlete to make an impact in a freshman season at the college level but Kelly Bruvik faced an additional hurdle when she started her field hockey career for Bucknell University in 2007.

The former Stuart Country Day School standout suffered a serious injury to her right knee that spring in a lacrosse game and wasn’t close to full speed when she showed up at Bucknell.

“I had no cartilage left; they showed me pictures of the surgery and there was nothing left,” said Bruvik.

“They drilled it eight times so it would bleed and the new cartilage is supposed to grow back. There was no weight bearing for two months so my muscles completely atrophied. The first time I ran was the mile test the first day of preseason and it took me like nine minutes.”

Understandably, Bruvik got off to a slow start, not playing in the first two games and then assuming a reserve role the rest of the fall and scoring one goal.

In the team’s spring training, Bruvik made up for lost time. “That spring, I felt completely back,” recalled Bruvik.

“I felt I was playing as well as I have played during that spring. I was completely healed. All you do in January and February is run and I was in shape from that. I think after the spring everyone meshed. I knew my role. I realized I could play and be successful versus the fall when I felt like I was playing catchup.”

In the fall of 2008, the fully mended Bruvik showed she could excel at the college level, starting every game and scoring seven goals to help Bucknell go 11-8 and make the Patriot League championship game.

As Bruvik starts her junior season, the center forward feels that she and her classmates have to carry a big share of the scoring load this fall.

“We graduated eight seniors; my class started out with six and the four of us who have stayed have had a big impact on the program,” said Bruvik, who scored three goals in a 7-1 win over Siena and notched the game-winner with 87 seconds left in a 2-1 win over Lehigh.

“The other three girls have started and played since freshman year. I think for my class, we have to put the ball in. We scored 51 goals last season and graduated 31 of them.”

Bruvik’s class has also adjusted to a coaching change as current Bucknell head coach Jeremy Cook took the helm in the summer of 2008. “It was tough on our class because we were basically freshmen twice,” explained Bruvik.

“We got used to one system and then Jeremy came in and it was like we were trying out all over again. The preseason was a lot of learning.”

Once again, the spring off-season work proved crucial for Bruvik. “I think spring is huge in college field hockey, you are playing without your seniors and you are preparing for the fall,” said Bruvik.

“In the spring, we are allowed four tournaments. We went to Cornell and we hosted a tournament. We played at Penn State and actually beat them.”

Bruvik knows it is going to be tough for Bucknell to get to the top of the heap of the Patriot League, which has been dominated by American University.

“I think in the finals last year, we were up 2-1 at the half,” said Bruvik, reflecting on Bucknell’s 5-2 loss to American which has won six Patriot crowns in a row.

“We played one of our best games of the year. The Patriot League is so competitive. We don’t have Army and Navy in field hockey so it is a smaller league (six teams). Only four teams go to the tournament so those third or fourth spots could be anyone.”

Bruvik has been playing a little catch up again this summer as she gets ready for her junior campaign.

“I was abroad in Ireland earlier in the summer so I have had to kick it into gear,” said Bruvik, who was in the Emerald Isle for a psychology project.

“Doing a lot of fitness stuff has been a big thing. For hockey, I play with the Spirit Eagles, my club team.”

On and off the field, Bruvik has been getting a kick out of her college experience.

“You get to explore different things that you can’t in high school,” said Bruvik, a double major in psychology and environmental studies who has been twice named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.

“I love the fall; we travel every other weekend. We are going to different places.”

And now that Bruvik is back at full speed, she should help Bucknell go places this fall.

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