ACCIDENTAL BEGINNINGS: Sophomore Alexa Hoover started playing field hockey by accident. When she was 4 years old, her mom tried to sign her up for soccer at the local YMCA, but registration was full. Her mom, a former high school field hockey player, signed Hoover up for that sport instead. “I ended up sticking with that and never played soccer in my life,” Hoover says.
MULTIPLE HONORS: What was soccer’s loss has been field hockey’s gain, as Hoover has distinguished herself on Penn’s team. During the 2014-15 season, she was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and this school year, Hoover was first team All-Ivy, first-team Eastern College Athletic Conference, first-team National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Region, and second-team NFHCA All-America—Penn’s first All-America since 2003 and just the 11th in program history. Hoover also set Penn’s record for goals (27) and points (63) in a season, finishing second nationally in goals per game (1.69) and points per game (3.94). Hoover admits she’s still pinching herself about the All-America honors. “It’s kind of surreal. I still don’t think it’s fully hit me yet,” she says. “It’s awesome that I can represent Penn that way.”
EASY TO SPOT: On the field, Hoover wears a distinct neon green headband. This trademark piece of clothing dates back to high school, when she was playing in the USA Field Hockey regional tournament and hoping to be noticed and selected to play in the national championship. “At this point, I can’t play a game without it,” Hoover says.
A NATURAL FIT: For the Collegeville, Pa., native, Penn was a natural fit. She recalls attending her first college field hockey game at Penn at age 7 and says she told her parents then that she wanted to go to Penn when she was older. Hoover also knew Assistant Coach Katelyn O’Brien and Head Coach Colleen Fink from teams in middle and high school. “I just felt very comfortable with Penn,” Hoover says. “I felt like I was at home when I was here.”
‘ONLY’ A GAME: Hoover may be a fierce competitor, but knows that she plays her best when she remembers to have fun. “Everyone keeps telling me the day I broke the goals-in-a-game record, I had the biggest smile on my face,” she says. “They said they’ve never seen me happier playing on the field.”
FAMILY LEGACY: Hoover’s younger sister, a sophomore in high school, also plays field hockey. “Right after I left, she took my spot at center-forward and my number,” she says. “It was one Hoover out, one Hoover in.”
EYES ON THE TITLE: Hoover has her sights set on the Ivy League title in the fall. “I’m really looking for the Ivy ring,” she says.