With the Liberty field hockey team just wrapping up its 2016 season at the BIG EAST Championship this past weekend, LibertyFlames.com spotlights Jenny Kurlej in its field hockey focus series.
Kurlej is a freshman forward from Hockessin, Del. She played in all 18 contests in her first year with the Lady Flames.
Tell us your recruiting story and how you came to Liberty. Kurlej: When I was going through my recruiting process, Liberty wasn't really at the top of my list. I went to a small, private Christian school in Delaware. Many of the students that graduated from my high school went on to attend Liberty, so I knew about the school but did not really have much interest at first. I had almost crossed Liberty off my list completely, because I didn't just want to follow in the footsteps of all the other students from my school. This was a prime example in my life of how I may have thought that I had a plan for my life, but God had His own plan that was so much better. During my junior year of high school, I attended a recruiting tournament where coach Murphy saw me play and then emailed me after, inviting me to campus for a visit. We then set up a visit in February of my junior year, and as soon as I stepped on campus and met some of the team, I knew that Liberty was the place for me.
What has been your favorite class so far, and why? Kurlej: My favorite class so far has been Evangelism with Dr. Wheeler. After going to a Christian school for my whole life, I've always had some sort of Bible class but have never had a class like evangelism. Dr. Wheeler is such an amazing professor and man in general who is so genuine in his passion for seeking out the lost and spreading the good news of Jesus. I have learned so much on what it means to be a Christian and our duty to evangelize to the lost world that we are living in.
What has been the biggest difference between college field hockey and high school field hockey? Kurlej: The biggest difference between college field hockey and high school field hockey for me is probably the mental game. In high school, it was very much just going out onto the field and playing. We still did have a game plan and practiced tactical drills, but here in college there is so much more of a mental aspect to the game. We are always watching film, which is something that we never did in high school. We also learn a new press according to each team that we are playing that week. This requires more focus and studying of the material, but it also adds a whole other aspect to the game, makes it that much better, and makes us that more dangerous as a team.
What do your parents do for work? Do you have siblings? If so, how old are they and where are they in school? Kurlej: My dad works for Microsoft as a manager in sales. My sister is 20 years old and is a junior at Mississippi College. My brother is 16 years old and attends Salesianum High School in Wilmington, Delaware.
What was your impression of competing in the BIG EAST Conference in your first year, as well as against several of the top schools in the nation? Kurlej: I have absolutely loved playing in the BIG EAST Conference and playing the top schools in the nation. Before coming to Liberty while I was still in high school, I would live stream and watch teams like UNC, Syracuse, UConn and of course, Liberty. I was so mesmerized with the high level that was college field hockey, so now being on such an amazing team and playing other teams that I have always admired is one of the most surreal things ever. It's also so amazing that here at Liberty, our team has the skill set to play and hang with the top teams in the nation. It is so encouraging and really is a dream come true.
What is your favorite place on Liberty's campus or surrounding area and why? Kurlej: My favorite place on Liberty's campus is probably our field hockey building. We have such amazing facilities that are available to us. I love how our fieldhouse is right next to our dorms, and that we have a team room, locker room and training room all in one spot for our use. I couldn't imagine having better facilities than we have right now.
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