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Field Hockey Player of the Week: Olivia Kempf

Ask Pioneer’s coach Jana Landahl what she thinks of junior Olivia Kempf and two words immediately come to mind:

“Pure joy”

It doesn’t take long to realize what she means after you watch the Lady Panthers take the field.

The moment she stepped on the turf last night, a wide smile broke across her face.

All par for the course for a player who will fly down the field in practice and, along with best friend Morgan McAfee, randomly decide to bust out a few handsprings and back walk-overs just to lighten the mood.

That light-hearted personality, coupled with tenacious competitiveness, have bode well not only for Olivia, but her team as a whole.

This entire season, Pioneer has somewhat flown under the radar. As Landahl put it, they’ve been “sneaky good.”

They’ve never topped the rankings and for most of the season sat in 4th place in Class B, but they’ve been slowly putting together a series of quality wins, and respectable losses, as the season progressed.

With one week to go, the team put together a 3-game winning streak to shoot all the way up to 2nd place in Class B. Last night’s victory proved they deserved that standing.

“Olivia spent the first couple years of her field hockey life watching and learning from Pioneer’s prolific goal scorer Brittany Baker,” said Landahl. “It was no surprise Olivia broke out last season and is on a tear in 2018, just 5 goals shy of breaking Brittany’s single season record of 28. She is tenacious in her pursuit of the ball on defense, annoying opponent midfielders who try to begin a counterattack. Once she receives the ball, a quick pull, a little tap and the ball is headed to an open space around the goalie. Her synergistic tie with Morgan serve to create a one-two punch that delivers the ball into the circle. And if you ask Olivia, the credit goes to her teammates.”

Just as Baker had continually come through for the Lady Panthers, Kempf did the same last night, scoring both goals in Pioneer’s 2-1 victory over Williamsville South in the Class B Semifinals.

Kempf played one of her best games of the season to help her team advance to the Section VI Class B Finals game where they’ll square off with #1-ranked Iroquois next Thursday.

On behalf of the entire team at WNY Athletics, I’d like to congratulate Olivia Kempf on being selected as our Field Hockey Player of the Week!

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