Very rarely do you get to see greatness unfold before your own eyes.
Often you can realize how transcendently great a player is during her career, but only after her career is over do you truly realize you might never see anything like her again.
Maybe that’s what it will be like with Alexa Hoover.
She is the greatest women’s field hockey player in Penn history.
And it really isn’t close.
Hoover has shattered every possible goals and points record in the book — by a mile. She was the Red and Blue’s first All-American in field hockey since 2003 and only the 11th in program history. She is on pace to finish third all-time in assists, which is unfathomable considering that none of her goal-scoring predecessors were ever close to accomplishing that feat.
“It is the coolest feeling to be able to have that many records to my name,” Hoover said. “To be able to make that much of an impact to our team and our school in general. It is just an amazing feeling.”
Hoover isn’t just the greatest field hockey player of all time, she is one of the greatest athletes in Penn’s decorated history.
Those records and her impact certainly haven’t gone unnoticed.
“I think Alexa has been very much a part of the whole program’s transformation over the last five years,” coach Colleen Fink said, “I think she’ll be remembered for all of the records she set but also her tenacity, her incredible work ethic, and her love of the game.”
The truly great players lack a sense of satisfaction. No matter their successes, improving and getting better are the only things on their minds.
Hoover is no exception.
“This year, I’m trying to focus on the little things (to improve), making every skill as best as I can, not rushing things, taking the time to get the perfect skill down,” she said.
Her head coach echoed those statements.
“We’re challenging her on both sides of the field and nit-picking her game a little bit,” Fink added. “We’ve asked her to work on things defensively and to push herself past where she thought she could be pushed.”
Although there is a lot of talk about her own personal records and how to improve her game, Hoover was quick to point out that one of her top goals this year is her team’s success.
“First and foremost, we want to win an Ivy League Championship,” she remarked. “We also want an NCAA tournament berth because we really believe that we can make the tournament and do well.”
When asked about how she wants to be remembered, Hoover responded how any truly great athlete would.
“I want people to remember how intense I was when I played,” she said. “People always tell me ‘you play in practice the same as you play in the game,’ and that is what I want to be remembered for.”
Records are meant to be broken. Maybe someone will eventually come along and eclipse all of Hoover’s staggering records (highly unlikely).
I recommend you go down to Ellen Vagelos field and watch Hoover play this season. I know I will. Because once she’s gone, you’ll never get to see her greatness, or anything close to it, again.
Because she is the greatest.