By Jason Bryden
Coordinator of Athletics Statistics & Media Services
It is a pretty special accomplishment when you are one of the top players on one team, but to achieve this on two teams is a more remarkable accomplishment. Incorporating your talents in both sports into the team concept and making everyone around you better however, is the ultimate accomplishment. Senior Emily Hubley has done just that for the Washington College women's lacrosse and women's basketball teams.
"I feel really lucky to be on two WC teams and to be able to play two sports," states Hubley. "I'm also really lucky to have been able to be a contributor on both teams, but I believe everyone is an important cog on a team."
A perfect example of Hubley's belief of everybody being a key contributor came on April 19, 2014 in a Centennial Conference women's lacrosse game against reigning two-time conference champion Gettysburg. The Shorewomen were tied in double overtime 11-11 with the fifth-ranked Bullets and seeking to end a 17-game losing streak against their conference rival in a situation where the next goal would win the contest.
With 3:27 left in the second overtime, the Shorewomen won the ball on a turnover and were a man-up due to a yellow card by Gettysburg. The Bullets committed a foul shortly after the restart and Hubley was awarded a free position opportunity. Hubley had her options on the play as she was to the middle left of the goal. To her right she had Katherine Vincent on the top of the crease, to her left she had Alli Dudley. She also had the option to run up and take the shot herself. Hubley chose the second option to Dudley. Dudley cutting from the left got to the right side of the crease and scored the golden goal to give Washington the 12-11 victory with 3:18 remaining in the second extra session for the team's first win in the series since 1999.
Hubley describes her decision-making process on the winning score.
"I thought passing the ball to Alli was by far the best option. The good thing was it was a free position shot and the game was temporarily stopped as that was set up. That gave me a chance to assess things. I saw Alli was wide open and right next to the goal and I knew she would finish the play."
Heidi Yetman, the head women's lacrosse coach said two weeks prior to the Gettysburg game the team had talked about making the best decision on the free position attempt.
"It's interesting that that scenario presented itself in the game winning situation against Gettysburg. It's been my goal as a coach to really make our team become a group of lacrosse players with a high lacrosse IQ. In many cases with our players, they give 100% all the time, but they don't always make the smartest decisions as players in terms of defensive sets, or setting up teammates for goals, or even how to position yourself off ball in order to be the most helpful for your teammate. So, two weeks before that play, we had talked in practice and in film about checking your options on 8-meters and seeing who has the best shot at all times. And, Alli Dudley who has one of the best shots on the team was perfectly placed with her right hand up, coming across the mouth of the cage with no defender to be found. It goes to show how unselfish Emily is as a player and the confidence she has in her teammates. She made the exact right decision and never hesitated and it gives me pride knowing my team is always willing to learn and have confidence in trusting my coaching style and is willing to put in the time in film sessions and individuals outside of practice to really nail down all aspects of their play."
You might have expected that Hubley would have been the team's leading scorer in the game. You would have been wrong. She had a pair of assists in the game, assisting on the team's first and last goals of the game. That allowed others to step up and deliver and that's exactly what happened as the Shorewomen came away with the gigantic win. As for Hubley, she was just fine with tallying just two points if it meant the victory. She also called this the best moment she has ever experienced on the lacrosse field and something her and her teammates "will be talking about probably forever."
Hubley's humility is not lost on her lacrosse mentor.
"Emily's personality, passion for playing, and general athleticism are what make her a great team player," says Yetman, who prior to becoming head coach in the summer of 2013 served as the team's senior assistant from 2011-13 and has been a coach of Hubley's since her arrival. "As good as she is, she would never admit it or speak of any of her successes which is what makes coaching this team such a joy. If your leader is the most humble, the general attitude of the group becomes one where working harder and constantly trying to be better is commonplace. Emily is an irreplaceable teammate and has effortlessly created a great team atmosphere. She is also a soft spoken leader who leads by example. When her teammates watch her give 100%, they can't help but react to that. She's also the first to congratulate her teammates on an offensive set that turns into a goal or a defensive set that leads to a good transition. She always wants to see her teammates succeed."
Hubley did not start her career as a two-sport athlete at Washington College, but not because she didn't want to coming out of Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
"I was being recruited to play lacrosse and had made up my mind to do that," says the senior. "But, after my senior year of high school basketball, I realized I wasn't ready to give that up. I couldn't get it worked out to play my freshman year, but I liked the girls on the team, was playing a lot of pick-up with them and they and (then) Coach (Megan) Duran welcomed me to join the team as a sophomore."
When Hubley approached then head women's lacrosse coach Julika Blankenship in the fall of 2012 about playing basketball, Blankenship said "I knew this day was coming." Yet according to Hubley she was totally supportive and told her to talk to Duran about joining the basketball team.
Like Blankenship, the senior states Yetman has been nothing but supportive and attended many of the home basketball games.
Yetman added that, "I was very much on board when Emily decided to play two sports. I knew that she had been tossing around the idea of playing but things didn't work out for her to play her freshman year. However, when the opportunity to play came about again, I talked in depth with her about it and knew if she didn't at least try she would always wonder and regret it. I am a coach that believes in, "no regrets." If you have a passion and you waste time wondering, thinking and analyzing, the opportunity may be lost. I'm so glad she plays both sports. She is an inspiration to other athletes who question whether it's possible to be an outstanding athlete, play two sports, and still have a life outside of academics and athletics and she's proof that it's all possible. I'm so proud of her."
Hubley, who stated that both women's basketball coach Alisha Mosley and Yetman have been very accommodating to allow Emily to play both sports, believes that playing both sports has only helped her on both the basketball court and the lacrosse field. She also mentioned how she believes the games are in a lot of ways similar.
"The games are more similar than a lot of people realize and doing both also helps keep me in pretty good shape," says the senior. "I haven't found the transition to be too difficult. I guess the biggest thing is the transition to the much larger field and the different surfaces (turf vs. hardwood)."
Mosley praised Hubley for her dedication to both sports.
"Emily manages her time well; she never missed a (basketball) game," says the second-year women's basketball mentor. "She misses the first weeks of lacrosse practice because we are still in season but hasn't missed a lacrosse game either. In the past she, has been ready to jump right in and hasn't missed a beat on the lacrosse field. I have been fortunate that Coach Yetman and I have been able to work things out by talking in advance about start dates and end dates to make sure Em is able to do both without sacrificing one."
Mosley also echoed Hubley's sentiment on how playing two sports can be beneficial for each other and believes that if student-athletes want to play two sports, they should be able to.
"The multi-sport athlete tends to use one sport to condition them for the other sport. For both sports you need speed and eye-hand coordination. Therefore, both sports complement each other and keep her mentally and physically fit. We make it work if it is the dream for a student athlete to be a muli-sport athlete; the coaches here at WAC work together to make their schedules work. It adds strength to each program and a connection."
Yetman believes that a situation from one sport can help you in the other and it would be wrong to stifle a student-athlete's dream of playing two sports.
"It's a challenge during practice and in preseason, at times, because we are down in numbers," mentions Yetman. "But, I want our players to get the most out of their college careers and I feel that being part of two teams can only lead one to gain more athletic experience, be more prideful in their college, and develop many lasting relationships. Experience creates confidence so the more athletic situations they are put in, the better situated and more confident they will be as they move through their college careers. So, we just work with what we have and have to constantly be ready for whatever is thrown at us and make adjustments on the fly!"
An example of the seamless transition came on February 18, 2013 as the Shorewomen Lacrosse team opened up the campaign against St. Joseph's (Long Island). In a 14-7 win by the Shorewomen, Hubley tallied then career-bests of five goals, also a game-high, and six points after having just one day of lacrosse practice under her belt. Four of her five goals came in the game's decisive 6-0 run in the second half that pushed Washington's lead from 7-6 to 13-6. This came only two days after the Shorewomen Basketball team finished its 2012-13 campaign with an 86-50 win at Bryn Mawr.
For Mosley and Yetman, having two-sport athletes on their squads is nothing new. In addition to Hubley, women's basketball has three other two-sport athletes, senior Jackie O'Connell (field hockey), junior Carley Kendall (women's lacrosse) and sophomore Daniela Falcone (women's lacrosse). For Yetman in addition to Falcone, Hubley and Kendall, she also has sophomore Dudley (field hockey) who plays a pair of sports for the Shorewomen.
Hubley is really happy to have teammates that are two-sport athletes and believes the teams and school are helped by it.
"It is great having teammates who play two sports," says the senior. "And, it's great for the school to have two sport athletes. Dan (Daniela Falcone) and Carley (Kendall) are two of my best friends and having them on the basketball and lacrosse teams is a lot of fun. We get along great and have a lot of fun together."
Hubley knows that while playing two sports as a full-time student is a major challenge, it is majorly rewarding and beneficial too.
"It is definitely challenging," mentions Hubley. "I kind of feel like I'm busy all the time. But, to be honest, I think it forces me to be disciplined and to budget my time really well – which I believe is a skill that I'll take with me and will really help me in the long run."
The senior has been a captain for both teams as she was a captain for the basketball team this past season and will be serving as a captain for the second straight year for the lacrosse team. She is the second Washington College student-athlete in as many years to captain two different teams. In 2013-14, Kathleen Maleski served as a captain for the women's soccer and women's lacrosse squads.
"It is definitely an honor to be the captain of both the lacrosse and basketball teams," says the senior. "It gets a little harder when the seasons begin to overlap in February, as I want to be at everything for both sports, but it has been a great experience and I have been able to develop a lot of friendships with a lot of different people."
Mosley said that "of course she is a senior and that plays an important role in it (in terms of being picked captain). But most important is that she leads by doing. Most players aspire to be as good."
Yetman mentioned that there was never a question that Hubley was going to be a two-time captain for Shorewomen Lacrosse.
"She's by far the most athletic player on the field, but more importantly she is the most respected. You will not find a more humble athlete or more supportive teammate. She's a pleasure to coach and is a leader without effort and is always finding a reason to laugh or smile when the time is right. She's definitely one of the funniest people I have ever met, but you have to really listen to hear what she says or you'll miss it!! It's going to be hard to see her go."
On the basketball court, Hubley had a solid senior season for the Shorewomen as she averaged a team best 12.5 points per game, shot a team-high 80.2% from the foul line and was tops on the team in steals with 51 en route to earning All-Centennial Conference honors for the first time, garnering honorable mention status. She led the team in all three categories for two consecutive seasons and this season made 41.4% of her three-point tries, making 24 from beyond the arc in 58 attempts. As of the end of the Centennial Conference Tournament, she was tops in the conference in steals per game at 2.04 per game, third in the Centennial Conference in free throw percentage and steals, fifth in minutes (818), sixth in minutes per game (32.7), points (313) and points per game and seventh in field goals made (112). She also averaged 4.9 rebounds per contest. Her 79.5% clip from the foul line in her career places third all-time at Washington.
On the basketball court, Hubley is known for ability to pick off passes and has led to many easy transition baskets for the Shorewomen over the past three years. She believes that playing two sports has helped her become so proficient in pilfering the basketball.
"I think the training I've had in both basketball and lacrosse has really helped me," says the 2013-14 Team Most Valuable Player. "I work hard to be in position and to give myself opportunities to make plays."
As good as she has been on the basketball court, it is on the lacrosse field where Hubley has really shined the most.
In three seasons and 50 career games with the Shorewomen, she has 179 all-time points on 143 goals and 36 assists along with a program record 169 draw controls. Entering her senior campaign, she is sixth in career scores, eighth all-time in points and tied for eighth all-time caused turnovers (72). With 21 more points, she will become the sixth Shorewoman to tally 200 career points and would be the first WC player to achieve the mark in 10 years since Lindsey Eichner did it in 2005.
She is a three-time All-Centennial Conference pick (first team in 2013 and 2014 and second team in 2012) and a two-time All-Region selection. In 2014, she earned First Team All-American honors, the first Washington player in 22 years to do so. She had team bests of 51 goals, 60 points and 68 draw controls. She was sixth in the Centennial in goals and seventh in draws, but she brought her best for conference games. She was second in goals (31) and fourth in points (36) in those games. As a sophomore in 2013, she had 87 points on 64 goals and 23 helpers. Her 87 points are the second most points ever for a Washington player in a season, only Janet Studdiford with 95 points in 2003 had more, and her 64 scores were fourth most in a single season by a Shorewoman.
Yetman knew early on that Emily had the potential to be one of the all-time best at Washington.
"The first time I saw Emily play, I knew she had the ability to be one of the best players at WAC," quotes Yetman. "She's undoubtedly the most athletic female athlete to ever come through the program and to be able to coach her for the past four years has been an honor. It's been a pleasure to watch her excel and be rewarded for her abilities. She deserves all the accolades she has received and I hope this year, being her last, is the most incredible season yet."
Hubley, who was a member of the 2012 team that reached the Centennial Conference Tournament Championship game, is hopeful to cap her career with an NCAA Tournament bid as she said "I can't think of a better way to end my lacrosse career."
So what are her best qualities in each sport? Mosely said that it is "her ability to drive, steal, rebound and score…not necessarily in that order." Yetman mentioned it is her heart because "when she competes, she does so fiercely and with every ounce of her being." She added that the other things that make her a standout player are being "incredibly explosive and fast, has a fast hard shot and never, ever, ever gives up."
With the final chapter of her collegiate athletic career about to be written, what is she going to miss the most? The relationships and the contests.
"I will miss all my friends and also miss being part of a team where we are all working toward a common goal. I also really love to compete and I know I will miss the games themselves very much." She added that the best part of being a member of both teams the lifelong friendships she has developed not only on her own teams, but with the men's basketball and men's lacrosse teams as well.
Lastly, what has made her thrive in both sports?
"I really love to play and to compete," says the biology major. "And I've had so many great coaches in both sports, starting when I was very young. I try to play hard and play the right way and I think that gives me a good chance to be successful."
Fans of Washington College can definitely all agree on the fact that it has been a treat to watch Hubley play for four years at Washington College and that she has done so within the framework of the team.