When it comes to making an impact on Northeastern field hockey, Lauren Rowe has wasted no time.
The freshman from Norwich, England, is the leading scorer for the Huskies, netting 14 goals and helping out on 10 others for a total of 38 points on the season, slotting her at fifth in the country in points on the season. Her 15 goals in CAA play are the most ever by a Northeastern freshman.
A two-time CAA Rookie of the Week and the first-ever Northeastern rookie to earn conference Player of the Week honors, Rowe ranks fourth in the country in points per game (2.53), eighth in goals per game (.93) and 11th in assists (.67).
“Obviously, my freshman year, I didn’t really know what to expect, how much I’d play, or how well we’d do,” Rowe said. “I was always looking big picture, for over the course of five years. I thought we’d do well throughout that, but we’ve already had a successful season.”
Her inaugural year in the red and black has surpassed what the 19-year-old thought she might be capable of in her first year of college, 3,300 miles from home, as well as the expectations set by first-year head coach Shelly Morris, who originally recruited the Norwich School product to be a defender.
“When we kind of saw her ability to distribute the ball and the way she sees the field, and how she contributes on penalty corners, we moved her up the field a little bit,” Morris said. “She’s generating our attack. She’s brought so much more to the program than we really expected.”
Rowe, who is 5-foot-3, was the captain of the Norwich School girls team in her fourth year and played year-round for the Harleston Magpies in the National League, where she led her U16 and U18 indoor teams to the National Finals every year.
Through it all, Rowe was looking big picture still. She always knew she wanted to come and play collegiately in the United States, where she could thrive in a culture that valued sport, compared to collegiate programs in the United Kingdom, which are similar to club sports in the States.
Northeastern became an ideal home – the education (she intends to major in health science), the location, and the opportunity to contribute immediately to a perennially contending program checked all of the boxes when it came to deciding where to continue her career.
“It’s just because of the professionalism on the sport here,” Rowe said. “I wanted to experience that. There are differences. The drills are different, but it also depends on the coach.”
That professionalism led to a unique transition for Rowe, who, according to Morris, wasn’t all that used to being in the spotlight and having players target her. Film sessions at the NCAA level don’t quite compare to becoming familiar with your opponent through play, like Rowe was used to at home.
“Having every game filmed and for everyone to access makes it a lot easier or people to identify strong players,” Rowe added. “We scout every team we play against.”
There was a transition to be had off the pitch, too – a natural one that comes with moving across the ocean from your parents and older brother.
“Obviously, it’s a step from high school to college,” she said. “Whereas for me, it all changed to a different way of teaching, how the whole system works. I’m just talking to everyone, getting to understand it, and experiencing it I think is what gets you familiar with it.”
What helped, too, is the success Rowe and her Northeastern field hockey teammates experienced on the field.
“We’re doing really well, and I think we can still get better,” Rowe said. “We’re starting to compete with some of the top teams. We always go in as underdogs, but I think we have more confidence. It’s helping to get some good, close competition.”
photo by Sarah Schlesinger