Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 41
 
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
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(Photo Courtesy of Franklin and Marshall Sports Information)

DIPLOMATIC PROTECTION: Franklin and Marshall field hockey senior goalie and tri-captain Sarah Dileo guards the cage in action this season. The former Hun School standout, who didn’t take up the sport until her junior year of high school, has emerged as a key player and leader for the Diplomats.

Dileo Proves to Be Late Bloomer in Field Hockey; As Hun Alum Becomes Star Goalie for F and M

Bill Alden

When Sarah Dileo joined the Hun School field hockey team in 2005 as a junior to fill an opening at goalie, she had no idea what was entailed by that role.

“I had never seen a field hockey game before I came out,” said Dileo, who had played on the soccer team in her first two years at Hun. “I figured being a field hockey goalie must be like soccer. Then they gave me the pads and I said ‘what is this?’”

It didn’t long for Dileo to catch on as she became a star for Hun that fall and was being recruited by college programs the following summer.

“I started playing on a club team, the Spirit Eagles and friends on the team said I should do a recruiting video,” recalled Dileo. “I went to eight or nine camps that summer. I went to the New England Premier Camp which drew a lot of colleges.”

Looking at such schools as Fairfield, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Trinity, Dileo decided to continue her immersion into her new passion at Franklin and Marshall.

After paying her dues over the last three years, Dileo entered this fall as a senior tri-captain and star goalie for the Diplomats.

For Dileo, fighting up the F and M depth chart helped her gain a deeper understanding of the game.

“I had to wait in line; there was a sophomore and a junior in front of me when I came in as a freshman,” said the 5’2 Dileo, who played in one game in each of her first two years on the squad.

“I was able to learn a lot more about the game; I was getting a lot from the practices and being on the sidelines at games. We were pushing the starters everyday at practice.”

As a junior, Dileo finally broke into the starting lineup, getting four starts. “I got in against teams like York, Haverford, and Johns Hopkins; they were big games,” said Dileo, who had a save percentage of 70.4 percent in her 2009 appearances.

“I had a sense of responsibility; you really have to stay composed. I was shaky at the start. I talk a lot on the field and you could hear it in my voice.”

Dileo was taken aback when she was given the responsibility of being one of the team captains this fall.

“I was shocked and gratified that my teammates trusted me enough to vote for me,” said Dileo. “I am really different from the other captains; one is the leading scorer and the other is a top midfielder and they have been impact players from the start. I know what it is like to not play and be frustrated. I can help the younger players hang in there.”

This summer, Dileo made an extra commitment to the team in an effort to help the Diplomats make a big impact this season.

“I lived in Lancaster this summer; six of us were here at all times,” said Dileo. “We got into a routine. We would go to class or work in the morning and then play hockey, go on runs and work out. We were in the season mindset on June 1 rather than August 1.”

The Diplomats seems ahead of the game in the early going as they started the season with five straight wins.

“We were going for it in the beginning; there was no hesitation,” said Dileo, who was named as one of the school’s athletes of the week in mid-September. “Everyone was happy to be back and playing. The first five games were a lot of fun.”

After that fast start, F and M hit a lull, dropping five of its next six contests. “We need to pick it up,” said Dileo, noting that she was dealing with a hamstring injury.

“It is more about not focusing on winning or losing but on having fun and not putting pressure on ourselves. We have a young team; we need to stay positive.”

No matter how the 2010 season ends up for the Diplomats, playing field hockey has been a positive experience for Dileo.

“I have grown up a lot and a lot of it has to do with field hockey,” asserted Dileo, who plans to do an internship after graduation and eventually go to law school.

“I met a lot of different kids; I have branched out. I have become much more composed as an athlete. I am still my harshest critic; I have learned to not be so harsh on myself.”

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