By Gavin Menu
When it came time for Kasey Gilbride to choose between playing field hockey at the University of Richmond or the University of Massachusetts, she simply went with her heart.
“UMASS was closer to home, but I felt like Richmond was more like home,” Gilbride said on Tuesday. “It is a lot like Pierson in that the whole athletic community is very close.”
Gilbride, who is in her junior year at Pierson, verbally agreed to attend Richmond last week and will receive an athletic scholarship that her father, Kevin, described as a “very nice four year package.” Gilbride was also recruited by a number of other schools, Kevin said, but ultimately the decision came down to her top two, Richmond and UMASS.
“UMASS actually offered an even better package, but Richmond is a beautiful school, a beautiful campus,” Kevin Gilbride said. “The week before she made her decision was tough because she had other schools making offers. But it was a really nice family experience they gave us at Richmond, and it made for an easy decision.”
Gilbride will now enter her senior year in the fall free to focus on academics and leading Pierson to what she hopes will be a Suffolk County title and beyond in field hockey. The Whalers lost to Southampton in the county final last year at which point Gilbride, a three-sport athlete, moved onto basketball season. She will also captain the softball team this spring.
“I am very proud of Kasey’s hard work and determination to be at the top of her game,” Pierson head field hockey coach Shannon Judge said this week. “She has put in an insurmountable amount of time into improving and next season will be a joy to watch.”
Gilbride plays field hockey year-round and competes with travel teams in the summer. Last year she worked her way through the Future’s Elite Program, which is the Olympic pipeline, and was chosen as a member of the Under-17 National Team.
“That’s how you get better,” Gilbride said, “playing with girls who are better than you.”
Judge said other players at Richmond will benefit as well.
“Kasey has always been a dominant opponent and go-to player, even as an 8th grader,” said Judge, who called Gilbride one of the best players on Long Island. “She will excel and showcase her skills at the Division I level, making those who surround her better players.”