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Horner ends college career

It all came to an end just over a month ago. At least for her collegiate playing days, that is.

Lauren Horner, a 2012 graduate of Northwestern High School, capped her four-year field hockey career at Monmouth University in early November in the Hawks’ MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Tournament semifinal loss to Fairfield. That November 6 defeat was Horner’s final start on the Hawks’ defensive front.

Horner started 56 of the 72 games she played in the past four years. This year, she played in 16 of Monmouth’s 19 games with seven starts, leading a defensive unit that was second in the MAAC in goals allowed.

She also played a key role in helping Monmouth (8-11 overall, 5-1 in the MAAC) earn the conference regular season championship for the second straight season. Unfortunately, there wouldn’t be a repeat conference tournament championship in store like the one the Hawks captured in 2014.

“We were really looking forward to becoming the host, which was a big goal of ours, and we accomplished that by being the regular season champs,” Horner said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted in the final tournament, but I still think we played a great game. I don’t have any regrets from the season because I think we gave all that we had to give.”

The defense, anchored by Christen Piersanti in net, allowed 2.32 goals per game and held opponents to one goal or less nine different times.

“We had a good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen on defense,” Horner said. “I think we were successful because we take a lot of pride in what that unit does. We put in the extra time together to get ourselves to the next level.”

A year before that gut-wrenching loss to Fairfield, Monmouth was on the winning side of a 6-1 decision over Rider in the MAAC championship game. That advanced the Hawks to their first NCAA Tournament appearance as well.

“That was probably my favorite moment in the years that I’ve been here because it was showing all of the hard work that we put in during the spring and summer, and of course during the fall it paid off,” Horner said.

The defense was just as pivotal as anything in that banner season in 2014. The Hawks (13-8) allowed just 1.84 goals per game, good for second in the MAAC. And headlining that group of Hawks was Horner, who started every game in the Hawks’ 21-game season.

That stretch in 2014, as well as playing much in her freshman and sophomore seasons, prepared her for her final go-around as a senior.

“I felt a lot more confident this year because I had those past years of experience,” Horner said. “I knew what it was like being out on the field. We had a good amount of returners, but it’s still new every year when you have new freshmen coming in, and we also had a transfer.”

Horner, an All-MAAC Academic Team selection in 2014, hopes to help out the team into the spring at practices and tournaments. Other than that, she’s not sure what lies ahead for her field hockey future.

One thing for sure is that Horner capped a stellar collegiate career after posting a remarkable four years at Northwestern.

PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY ATHLETICSSenior Lauren Horner helped Monmouth earn the MAAC tournament championship in 2014.