Field hockey announces Spring Captains in 2021
MUNCIE, Ind. – Third year head coach Stephanie Bernthal announced on Friday that her 2020-2021 captains were Redshirt senior striker Sierra Jefferson (Bethlehem, Penn./Freedom) and Redshirt senior defender Rachel Pereira (Howick, South Africa / St. Annes Diocean College) together with Audrey Tabor (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Hearth Academy).
“We are fortunate to have a spectacular group of veterans in this year’s roster,” said Bernthal. “Instead of our typical co-captain model, the team was matched with three talented and selfless young women as captains of three. Sierra, Rachel and Audrey went their own way to lead our team through an unprecedented time. They are fearless, strong, tirelessly and, above all, lead with great love for this team and Ball State University. “
Last season Jefferson was appointed to the All-Mid-American Conference of the second team and at the same time received the MAC Offensive Player of the Week (October 29, 2019). It also received All-MAC academic awards for the third straight season. Jefferson, a 2019 Zag / National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) academic award winner, started in all 18 games for the Cardinals last season. Her first goal last year was a win over Davidson (09/01/19). Then she found the back of the net twice – against UC Davis (9/15/19) and Saint Louis (9/16/19). Jefferson finished third on the team in shots (15) and shots on goal (12). For her career, Jefferson has started a total of 50 games for the BSU, scored nine goals and scored a total of 16 points for the Cardinals.
Bernthal via Jefferson:
“Sierra is a woman in a few words, but her game speaks volumes. She has come out in amazing ways as a gamer because of her tireless work ethic. You can regularly see her creating opportunities for us to attack – a role she’s more embraced in the past two years. One of her greatest gifts to the team is her ability to keep things easy and fun. She has a great sense of humor that is needed in such an intense and motivated team. Sierra brings the best in everyone and is the perfect team player. “
Pereira was very successful on and off the field, receiving the Academic All-Mid-American Conference award for three seasons in a row. He was also awarded the Zag / National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) academic award in 2019. Last year two of their three goals scored were against Big Ten opponents – Indiana (9/8/19) and Michigan State (9/22/19). She chipped the winner of the overtime game against league opponent Longwood (25.10.19). Pereira led the Cardinals with 27 shots last season while averaging 1.50 shots per game. Pereira ended the season with three defensive saves. In 2018, Pereira received the second All-MAC award. For her career, Pereira has started for the Cardinals in 49 competitions and has scored 7 goals with the top four of his career in 2018.
Bernthal on Pereira:
Rachel is a wise and experienced defender. She has held several important positions on the field throughout her career. Few players can do this as seamlessly as Rachel. She is fearless and LOVES field hockey and that Ball State team helped keep our group focused on one goal of winning a MAC Championship through all the uncertain times this year and will always do what the team needs including a willingness to always give a helping hand from the field as a result of struggling their teammates work tirelessly for them. “
Tabor started in all 18 games for the Cardinals last season. She received the 2019 Academic All-Mid-American Conference Team and National Academic Roster of the Zag / Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I of 2019. Tabor received her first post-season All-MAC award after finishing in the All-MAC Second Team had been appointed. Last season Tabor led the team and finished third in the league with four saves. She scored her first defensive save of the season at Big Ten Foe Northwestern (9/16/19). Tabor recorded saves against Central Michigan (9/28/19), Michigan (10/13/19) and Appalachian State (11/1/19). In 2018, the defensive veteran scored a defensive save in the MAC game against Miami (9/15/18) and a goal-line save in an overtime game against the University of California Davis (9/24/18). For her career, she started in 36 career games for the Cardinals.
Bernthal via Tabor:
“Audrey is one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever trained.
This is a girl whose motto is “I’d rather die than lose!” She has demonstrated this by destroying her fitness every year and gradually raising records. She is also the person opponents are likely to hate the most. Her work ethic in the field is second to none: she is physical, gritty, and tireless. The toughest days bring out the best in Audrey. Our entire team has watched her mature as a leader over the years and become a strong voice for accountability and encouragement on our team. ”
The highly anticipated 2020-21 season of the Ball State Field Hockey team, postponed this fall due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, begins the week of March 1 with home games against Miami, OH and the University of Louisville. Louisville finished its fall 2020 season as champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and finished second in the conference tournament. Ball State’s official MAC schedule begins the following weekend (March 12-23) with games in the Appalachian State.
You can follow the Cardinals on their search for a Mid-American Conference title on social media at @BallStateSports, @CoachBERNbsu, and @BallStateFH on Instagram or Twitter.