RICHMOND, Va. – It’s hard to imagine Kelsey Scherrer stopping goals, considering how natural she looks when she’s scoring them. But it almost worked out that way.
Scherrer, a senior forward for the VCU Field Hockey team, grew up as a softball catcher. When she picked up field hockey in the seventh grade, she eyed the logical transition to goalkeeper. But the team didn’t have pads small enough for Scherrer, who now stands 5-foot-1.
“So they stuck a stick in my hand, and they were like, you’re fast, go and do your thing,” Scherrer said Sunday. “The rest is history.”
On Sunday, she secured her place in VCU history.
With a go-ahead goal – the 39th of her career – in the 66th minute of the Rams’ 2-1 win over Columbia at Cary Street Field, Scherrer became the leading scorer in program history, eclipsing Alycia Yoder.
Although the gravity of the moment wasn’t lost on her, Scherrer exchanged hugs with teammates and says she’ll keep the record-setting ball, she was quick to stress that the most important benefit of the goal was VCU’s victory and the team’s 2-0 start. Besides, she says, you can’t score all those goals by yourself.
“It’s huge, it’s awesome. It’s a record that the whole team can celebrate together. I have the easy job,” Scherrer said. “My team, they’re the ones that set me up. Everyone that I’ve played with in the past, all the people that have graduated like Marle van Dessel, they set me up beautifully and I just finish it. I do the easy part.”
Maybe she’s just good at making it look easy. Despite her diminutive stature, Scherrer has a rare blend of speed and quickness on the field hockey turf. On Sunday, her skills were on full display. She continually created scoring opportunities in the second half by streaking past slower defenders or using nifty stick work to find open space, hallmarks of her career.
VCU Head Coach Shannon Karl, then an assistant, recruited Scherrer four years ago out of Cape Henry High School. At the time, the Karl was trying to rebuild a long-dormant VCU program. Scherrer was one of the first difference-makers Karl and then-Head Coach Kelly McQuade were able to sign. Their faith in the lightning-fast forward paid off. In her second season, Scherrer scored 15 goals and VCU posted its first winning season in 17 years.
“Kelsey’s got a lot of fight in her,” Karl said. “She’s a true competitor. You can tell she loves the sport of field hockey every time she plays. She’s a very, very intense competitor. That’s what she’s done for our team for the past four years, and that’s what she’ll continue to do this fall in her senior campaign.”
Against Columbia, Scherrer had five shots on goal in the second half before she was able to finally find the back of the net, but her ability to shrug off those misses is what will continue to make her dangerous.
“[There was some] frustration because I’m very hard on myself. I foam at the mouth when I get in the circle with the ball. When I know that I’ve done something and I end on a mediocre shot to goal it’s a little bit frustrating. But I’ve learned in my senior year that’s just something you’ve got to let fuel you. Now it frustrates me in a positive way. I get more goal hungry.”
That’s a scary proposition for VCU opponents.