Junior goalkeeper Nicole Bream had not started many games prior to the 2016 season for Slippery Rock field hockey. However, she has shown that she is a leader and is not afraid to step in front of the cage.
A native of Dallastown, Pa., Bream comes off a successful high school career, setting a record for career shutouts with 56. When she came to Slippery Rock, she had to wait until her number was called to find playing time.
Bream spent the last two years as the backup goalkeeper to the former Rock standout, Carlee DuMars. Even though she was not playing, she excelled in the classroom as a member of the 2014 and 2015 NFHCA National Academic Squad, a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Scholar Athlete and a Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement award recipient.
After not appearing in a game in 2014, she played in five contests the following year and recorded 10 total saves. So far in 2016, Bream has played every minute in goal for The Rock.
It has been exciting for the junior goalkeeper, and now with the season in full swing, Bream says the nerves have dissipated.
“I think it’s been really exciting. I was nervous at first, but now the nerves have gone away,” Bream said.
Head coach Julie Swiney agrees that she has handled the change well and says, “She had some good experience last year, and I think that’s what prepared her for her starting role this year.”
Since Bream is now the starting goalkeeper, she has also had to take charge and has become one of the leaders on the team.
“Being in the goal back there, I can see everything. I really try to talk a lot and help the team see what they can’t see,” Bream said.
Not only has Bream been a leader, but she has also been a mentor to her freshman backup, Madison Peck.
“We push each other a lot and we are also there for each other and pick each other up,” Bream said.
Although Peck has not seen any action, she has seen Bream play three games where she has recorded double-digit saves.
Throughout the season, Bream has shown her resilience. Despite the team record falling to 3-7 overall and 0-3 in the conference, she has played a total of 700 minutes and has a 2.1 goals against average. Bream has also faced 137 shots this season and has registered 61 saves. She has recorded two shutouts through the first 10 games of the year.
With the tough stretch of Slippery Rock’s schedule over having played six top-ten ranked opponents in the last seven games, Bream and company will look to bounce back against Mansfield on Tuesday.
Bream has shown she is ready for the challenge and will look to be a leader for the rest of the season.